How to Ensure your Product Quality during this Pandemic by choosing a right inspection approach?

If you are experiencing frequent Product returns / recalls, Customer dissatisfaction, Low ratings & bad reviews please read the article where we have shared some solutions to mitigate these risks.

The COVID-19 crisis caused significant demand and supply disturbances all over the world, which has questioned the supply chain processes and productivity. In order to succeed in the future, transformation is more critical for any business.

During this pandemic, customers are facing credibility issues due to the poor quality of their products and brand reputation. This leads to Product returns / recalls, Customer dissatisfaction, Low ratings, bad reviews, etc.

Some of the other challenges caused due to pandemics are

  • Delivery delays – caused due to the ban for the imports & exports of the few goods, Scarcity in Raw materials.
  • Travel Restrictions – Importers, Retailers, E-com & those who are sourcing from Asia could not visit the factory to analyze their performance & inspect the quality of their goods.
  • Sourcing challenges – sourcing a product itself is not easy as before it involves lots of time, money and risk especially when dealing with international vendors who are located abroad.

To reduce risks & stay legally complied with international standards, it is vital to ensure that your product is at the best quality level. In this regard to support & guide you, The Quality of the Product can be verified for its needed level by below different Inspection approach as per your convenience & requirements:

  1. Virtual / Remote Video Inspections
  2. Self-Inspection by supplier
  3. Hire a Freelancer
  4. Hire an inspection agency

1. Virtual / Remote Video Inspections

Virtual / Remote Video Inspections are conducted through a live video conference with onsite staff from Supplier, who will assist in conducting the Quality Inspections of Products in live mode or doing a recorded mode. You may instruct the onsite staff on what areas of the Product to be checked thoroughly & to focus on the Important checkpoints during their quality Check. Also, it is important that the onsite staff chosen for this Virtual / Remote Video Inspections is Competent & Capable to Perform.

You can also take support from a third-party inspector for performing this virtual / Remote video inspection.

Websites like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet might help you to conduct virtually the inspection without physically being present during this period of Pandemic

At the completion of this Inspection, the onsite staff must share the professional Inspection report, live/recorded video for your reference to make decisions & necessary actions to enhance or meet the required quality level.

TIP – Check for the Competency of the Onsite Staff, who is going to perform the Inspection at the Supplier site for more effectiveness of these Virtual / Remote Video Inspections.


  • Easy & real-time access
  • You need not rely on any third person for inspecting your goods.
  • You can ensure the continuity of project schedules even though physical inspection is impossible
  • Virtual software can even go beyond health and safety.
  • Video can then be saved in the inspection for future reference and review.
  • The inspector can ask for the camera to be pointed / focused on relevant areas of the site and records what they see.

Drawbacks –

  • The person who involved from the supplier’s premises must be transparent & trustworthy during, throughout the inspection.
  • Less experienced & competent staff may miss critical areas due to their lack of knowledge.
  • Wi-Fi or cellular—can cause issues during virtual inspections for video streaming clarity & continuity

2. Self – Inspection by Supplier

Inspection carried out by supplier’s own quality control team that contributes to the production of better quality products. It is conducted from the beginning of the production to the end of the process (or) shipment and the result is recorded on the Inspection reports.

TIP – It is good to demand a self-inspection conducted by Suppliers & share the reports along with required pictures from them.


  • Empowers the supplier & builds trust with them.
  • Create a quality system in the factory & supports to enhance the quality in longer term.
  • Recommended when there is limited control on your Production or the products quality.
  • Budget Friendly than other methods.
  • Adding to the quality check, the production status can also be measured.

Drawbacks –

  • Lack of Transparency.
  • Incompetent team allocated to perform the Quality Inspections.
  • Not much Clarity on the Inspection Reports & Findings.

3. Hiring a Freelancer

Freelancers are independent workers not attached to any company or agency for their work. Instead of traveling, hire a freelancer who has the knowledge of your product & quality standards.

TIP – Sign a contract with them so they are liable for work & responsible

Advantages –

  • Cheaper in cost compared to own travelling to suppliers.
  • Easy to Hire, when needed.
  • Highly Flexible

Drawbacks –

  • Unreliable – Few Freelancers may not respond back to your required enquiries or not travelled on the day of Inspection to Suppliers
  • May not maintain confidentiality & lack of commitments
  • Quality of work, as well as their working hours spent for the inspections are not guaranteed.

4. Hiring an inspection agency

A third-party inspection agency professionally trained inspector visits the factory, chooses samples randomly (based on the International Standards & AQL tables), and conducts the Inspection effectively following the required systems & procedures. Further, they provide a detailed report & clear findings along with required photos that will help to make the quality decision about the whole batch of Products easily & effectively

TIP – Choose a NABCB accredited Inspection body to conduct the Inspection with a Professional team & effectively.

Advantages –

  • More reliable & take good responsibilities for their Projects assigned.
  • Outsourcing larger projects to agencies is a better choice as they have more resources and workforce.
  • There are supervisors to manage the workflow at each stages & ensure for its effectiveness.
  • There is less chance of your work progress being delayed, due to the involvement of trained professionals and their high level of commitments.

Drawbacks –

  • Takes 2-5 Working days to organize, prepare & plan for inspections. Not easy for them to accommodate to perform Inspections immediately with quicker turn around time.
  • Few Inspection agencies, has long Onboarding process is involved for new clients.
  • Less Flexible compared to freelancers – As they have certain Systems & Procedures to follow as per ISO Guidelines.

If you would like to view or download a sample inspection report done by a 3rd party Inspection company, please do visit

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Sruthi Srinivasan
Sruthi Srinivasan

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