Importance of Product Inspection Before Shipment

Let’s accept it; no one likes to wait days for an order only to see sub-standard quality marks. Well, it becomes worst if you are a retailer or a wholesaler.

As product quality is one of the most important drivers of an organization's success, it is crucial for every business that the quality is up to the mark when your customer receives the end product. Prone to human errors, employees make mistakes, resulting in machinery and equipment failure throughout the production procedure; that is okay for every production line. However, the problem arises when the defective pieces arrive at your customer and fire back a sub-standard image. 

The product inspection enhances the manufacturing process, pointing out things that do not meet the standards and specifications. Testing verifies that the products delivered to the customer fulfill the quality criteria. We decided to go with something utterly important yet unspoken for our first post: the importance of inspection before shipment or the pre-shipment inspection.

What is a pre-shipment inspection?

A Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI) is an integral part of the quality control process. A quality control department or an outside quality control service/agent usually carries out this process. This practice guarantees that manufacturing meets the buyer's specifications and the terms of a purchase order or letter of credit.

Traders, agencies, purchasers, and other trade operators perform pre-shipment inspections. They inspect newly made products to ensure the quality and quantity of the merchandise and any laws before shipping to ensure compliance with consumer regulations.

Like all other SCM processes, the pre-shipment inspection consists of some stages, which are inspecting incoming materials, in-process material testing, semi-finished product inspection, and finished product inspection. Before shipment, pre-shipment product inspection takes place in these stages.

Why do I need a pre-shipment inspection?

Arranging a pre-shipment inspection sometimes seems to be an unnecessary cost. You may say: I am already working with the best supplier, why should I still arrange an inspection? Well, even the best manufacturers do mistakes, there is always a human error in the process, and it cannot be 100% eliminated but can be controlled. So going the extra mile and arranging an inspection is essential for the success of your product and business. 

A pre-inspection includes examining all documents ensuring conformity with industry standards and quality control methods. Apart from various stages, there are some critical elements of Pre-shipment inspection.

The Crucial Elements of a Pre-Shipment Inspection

Quality control and pre-shipment inspection are critical components of a company's overall quality control plan. Using a trustworthy third-party inspection service, helps you ensure that the goods produced are of acceptable quality before they reach the client. 

Customer Satisfaction and Product Quality

It may appear almost self-evident that a pre-shipment inspection can improve product quality. However, most firms are unaware of the impact that the quality may have on their bottom line. A high-quality product makes an indelible impact on your customer. Clients will remember a poor product just as much as they retain a high-quality product. Building a solid reputation with your customers is critical for every business, and quality standards are the catalyst. The ISO 2859-1 Acceptable Quality Limit assures that your defect rate is below a specific threshold, increasing your product’s brand image.

Product Packaging

Packaging ensures that your product stays intact during the shipping process. Proper packing can avoid spoilage, complex handling, and unlawful entry. Businesses that go for optimum containers can save money for their consumer. Overall, inspectors guarantee the packaging satisfies the standards and expectations of the consumer.

It is critical to check the durability and safety of the shipped objects. When packaging personal protection equipment (PPE), sterilized items, and dental uses. Products sterilizing pouches, for example, are used to bundle dental tools for safe storage and transportation. The consumer and commercial sectors are incredibly rigorous when receiving parcels, especially during pandemics.


Properly labeling products during shipping is a critical step in the delivery process. This fact may appear obvious, but it is so basic that it is frequently forgotten or ignored. Ideally, a label should include both the sender's and recipient's name and address, the content description, delivery service, tracking number, and scannable UPC barcodes. Missing regulatory labels will undoubtedly result in product recalls or fines, while incorrect or unreadable bar codes can result in enormous customer losses.

Product inspections before shipment may appear to be an unnecessary and costly extra step. However, it could mean a difference between a satisfied customer and a dissatisfied customer. The latter is more likely to be a repeat consumer. In addition, ensuring product quality, packaging, and regulatory labeling reduces the risk of defects and increases trust.

That is all for the elements of product inspection before shipment. Further, we will continue with the best practices for inspecting products before shipment.

Best Practices for Pre-shipment Inspection

Several methods are available for efficiently checking the product's quality before dispatching. Let's take a look at some of the most frequent options available to you and see which one works best and their pros and cons.

  1. Allow a Third-Party Inspection team.

This is perhaps the most prevalent method used by importers worldwide. An inspector or a team of inspectors visits the factory to do a quality assurance inspection on a randomly selected sample of items. The sample must be drawn randomly from the entire shipment to eliminate bias.

This sample is then evaluated and concludes the overall product quality of the shipment. It also tells whether or not the product meets the requirements and other criteria a company requires.

It is customary for an importer to hire a third-party quality control team; however, using your own in-house QC employees is less common. Most importers, however, prefer a third-party inspection service over in-house staff because of cheaper expenses and increased efficiency.

This type of inspection usually takes place after the product is finished to analyze the overall quality of the product. The inspection team will prepare and provide you with the product's quality report. You may approve or reject the shipment depending on whether the products successfully match the criteria you set for the supplier.


A final random inspection is the most popular form of quality control worldwide; thus, it is a stage that exporters look forward to.

This type of inspection is relatively simple to set up, independent of the supplier's location or other demographic challenges such as language limitations.

When it comes to external inspection, one of the main issues is supplier non-cooperation. For example, the supplier may obstruct the inspection team by showing them only a portion of the package that it thinks fits.

  1. A final assessment on a platform

This type of inspection is most commonly performed on large shipments, particularly from countries with substantial trade volumes, such as Japan. This strategy entails delivering things to a specific platform.

As an example, consider a forwarder warehouse where space is booked by the company to conduct the inspection. Depending on the importer's need, the team may perform the check on a portion of the entire shipment.


The cost of quality inspectors traveling long distances is removed, and workers can transport the items immediately after being cleared by the inspection team and the importer.

Because the goods are present outside the factory, there is little chance of supplier intervention.


This strategy is naturally unpopular among suppliers since they must pay for transportation back to the manufacturer if product rework is required.

It is only appropriate for larger quantities of goods, not for tiny, irregular orders.

  1. A piece-by-piece examination

If you want to inspect each shipment unit thoroughly, you can plan a particular inspection point on the supplier's behalf. However, it is on-site to review each completed product.


The likelihood of receiving a defective product is low.

As defective products are discovered, the supplier has time to rework them.


It only applies to shipments generated in a single geographical area.

The amount of time and personnel necessary on-site may be prohibitively expensive.

  1. Training and auditing the supplier's internal inspection team

This is likely the least common strategy used by importers and is only appropriate in particular circumstances. You've been a long-time customer of the supplier. You have purchased more than 30% of the factory's output. And you have great faith in their integrity and ethical behavior.

Once you have successfully taught the supplier's internal inspection team, only periodic audits are required to ensure everything is in order.


The inspection is substantially less expensive than all other options.

Because the inspection team is on-site, they can quickly report on manufacturing status.


The possibility of altered reports in favor of the provider is high. It also requires the provider to deliver a high level of cooperation.

What are the Pre-shipment Procedures?

When production is at least 80% complete, inspectors from an independent third-party inspection agency perform pre-shipment inspections at the factory to confirm that your shipment conforms with the applicable standards.

Inspectors should adhere to your company's quality requirements and the norms of your destination market during the pre-shipment inspection.

Inspectors should look for the following things:

  • functionality
  • performance
  • durability
  • overall appearance
  • dimensions of the merchandise

Inspectors can begin to verify both hardlines and soft lines to ensure they adhere to the ethical requirements by incorporating the above steps in a Pre-Shipment Inspection Procedure.

Why choose us?

At TROME, our product inspectors are regularly trained in their areas of expertise, including Softlines (Garments, Footwear, and Textiles), Hardlines (Toys, Electronics & Electrical, Cosmetics, and Jewelry, Eyewear), Food, and other industries.

The extensive test requirements for our inspections involve product function, performance, overall appearance, and factory audit.

We employ the internationally established ANSI / ASQ Z1.4 (ISO 2859-1) statistical sampling approach for all non-food product inspections, guaranteeing that the examined products are a representative sample, not a sample that your supplier wants you to test.

We apply the international Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) standard to establish sample quantity and acceptance criteria.

We also inspect processed and perishable items across the world. Our inspectors are trained for each product family and will conduct inspections in manufacturing areas or at ports (for inspection on arrival).