Key Points:

  • Pre-shipment inspection is a phase in freight shipping that allows you to address any faults before receiving and paying for the products
  • Another essential thing to pay attention to is country-specific safety labels, especially if you are sending the products to international customers
  • With Easyship, eCommerce merchants offer high-volume discounts and tools built to make your shipping process seamless

As an eCommerce merchant, pre-shipment inspection is essential for supply chain and quality control methods. You need to ensure that your items meet your quality standards before sending them out to your customers.

Sending out a bad shipment can cause so much havoc to your business. You could lose customers and money and even get a bad brand reputation. The inspection process ensures that your products are of the requested quality, quantity, and size before shipping them.

This article will explain what pre-shipment inspection is and the best practices you need for your business.

Table of Contents

What's Pre-Shipment Inspection?

Pre-shipment inspection is a phase in freight shipping that allows you to address any faults before receiving and paying for the products. The inspection companies assess the products before shipping, so you can defer final payment until you receive the report.

Pre-Shipment Inspection

These processes are only performed after 100 percent of the ordered units have been produced, and 80 percent have been packed to avoid examining only the best samples.

Other important tips to note about the pre-shipment inspection are:

  • First, the procedure shouldn't be discriminatory
  • The procedure shouldn't cause delays
  • Also, the procedure should be transparent
  • And finally, all sensitive commercial and business information should be protected during the procedure

Why Are Pre-Shipment Inspection Services Important?

Have you ever ordered an item online, and you got something else? Or did you buy a thing, and it came with incomplete accessories? Do you realize how disappointed you were?

That's what pre-shipment inspections aim to prevent. They ensure your products have no faults and are ready for shipping.

Although the pre-shipment inspection costs could be unnecessary, it saves you the higher costs of dealing with customers' complaints and getting them replacements for their items. Here are a few reasons pre-shipment inspections are crucial:

  • Reducing the risk of receiving counterfeit goods or being frauded
  • Verifying product quality so your customers do not receive defective items
  • Ensuring that the factory produced the goods according to your criteria
  • Keeping your company's brand from being tarnished by faulty product returns
  • Assuring that your products are safe and do not pose any health risks.
  • Reducing the danger of illegal substance smuggling
  • Examining all relevant paperwork for any errors

Related post: How to Handle Lost and Missing Packages

What Are the Steps Involved in the Pre-Shipment Inspection Procedure?

Here are the steps involved in the pre-shipment inspection procedure:

1. Order placement

Customers who want to maintain their items' quality can request a pre-shipment inspection. This is not compulsory for most goods. However, medical equipment must always be inspected.

2. Inspector on site

Product inspections usually take place at the manufacturing site or factory. If any discrepancies are discovered, the item will be taken to an off-site laboratory for further testing.

3. Off-site shipping inspections

This is for items containing prohibited or toxic chemicals regulated by the destination market.

4. Quantity check

The inspector counts the shipping cartons and ensures that the correct number of items and cartons are shipped to the correct address. The packaging is also examined to see if the suitable materials are used and if the items have the correct shipping labels. Afterward, the payment is agreed upon between the buyer and supplier, and the bank initiates payment.

5. Randomized sampling

The inspector chooses product samples at random for evaluation. All accredited pre-shipment inspection services use the internationally known statistical sampling approach, ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 (ISO 2859-1). The number of items they select (the Acceptance Quality Limit, or AQL) is also the maximum number of defects allowed in a batch before it is rejected.

6. Visual inspection

This involves checking the overall appearance of the products for any visible defects or flaws in the production. Any apparent flaws are recognized and assigned to one of three categories: minor, major, or critical, based on the agreed tolerance levels between the manufacturer and supplier.

7. Volumeric verification

Then the agent checks all the sizes and dimensions (height, width, length, weight) and ensures that the production complies with the client's specifications.

8. Functionality verification

Items are tested to check that they are working perfectly. This is usually for garments and footwear.

9. Safety test

The safety test is divided into mechanical and electrical safety testing. For mechanical testing, items with moving parts such as bicycles are checked for sharp edges or faults that could cause accidents or injuries to the user. The safety accessories like hinges and screws are also verified.

Similarly, for electrical testing, electrical or electronic gadgets are tested in the lab before they are certified and ready for use. Tests such as high voltage, ground continuity, and current tests are performed before the items are cleared.

10. Inspection report

Finally, the information gathered is compiled into a comprehensive inspection report after the inspection procedures. This report includes a list of all failed and passed tests, key findings, and the inspector's remarks.

Pre Shipment Inspection Checklist: The Do's and Don'ts

Here are a few tips to note about pre-shipment inspections:

The dos of pre-shipment inspection

  • Do create a pre-shipment inspection checklist: First, you need a comprehensive PSI checklist to provide to your inspector. This will assist them in spotting any flaws or faults and ensure that the items are produced to your exact requirements
  • Do check product quantity: Also, check for the number of items to ensure that you meet your customer's specifications
  • To perform visual inspections for pre-shipment inspections: Assess any external damage and look for faults when inspecting your products. If the defective items fall under the Acceptable Quality Limit, you are ready to ship
  • Do compliance checks during pre-shipment inspection: You should also check yourself to see if the products meet the customer's specifications. Ensure that they are functioning well and if they have the correct tags and labels
  • Do complete safety checks for pre-shipment inspection: This ensures that the items do not cause harm or injuries to the users

The don'ts of pre-shipment inspection

  • Don't ignore inspecting labels during pre-shipment inspection: Ensure that you provide suitable labels for your products. Specify if they are perishable, fragile, or hazardous items to inform the customers
  • Don't ignore visible defects: Also, you must pay attention to cracks, scratches, dents, or other signs of damage on the items
  • Don't neglect country-specific safety labels: Another essential thing to pay attention to is country-specific safety labels, especially if you are sending the products to international customers. Although some countries do not require product inspections, other countries may require pre-shipment inspections. This ruling is because they want to verify the type and value of products about to enter their country

The Fastest and Cheapest Method for Pre-Shipment Inspection with Easyship

As an eCommerce merchant, the importance of pre-shipment inspections cannot be overemphasized. Sending out terrible products to your customers can affect your business and make you lose customers. So, you should ensure that all your products go through pre-shipment inspection before sending them out.

With Easyship, eCommerce merchants offer high-volume discounts and tools built to make your shipping process seamless. For instance, you'll gain instant access to tools and benefits such as the following:

  • Free Shipping Rates Calculator: Access high-volume discounts from major couriers. Plus, get instant access to delivery lead times from premium shipping couriers
  • Global Fulfillment: Easyship has warehouse partners on four continents to reach your customers worldwide. Plus, Easyship helps scale up fulfillment capabilities without increasing overhead costs
  • Shipping Policy Generator: Our shipping policy generator helps merchants and crowdfunding campaigns generate their shipping policy by providing tracking and insurance options, plus other vital information for your shipping process

Ready to ship? Sign up for a FREE Easyship account and get instant access to high-volume discounts of up to 91% off for international shipments

Pre-Shipment Inspection FAQ

What does pre-shipment inspection mean?

Pre-shipment indicates that your package has left the warehouse and is awaiting examination by the postal service before going to its export country.

How long can an item be in pre-shipment inspection?

This varies with the type of courier service, but it should be about 24 hours (weekdays) for domestic packages. However, updating your parcel's tracking information might take eight working days.

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