If you have found the right supplier, you decide whether the golden sample they sent you is good enough. This should be the example for the rest of the production. However, an approved golden sample is not good enough. To prevent problems and misunderstandings you make a list for the supplier wit hall the specifications of your product: a spec sheet. Not only can you use these specifications for the factory, but also as a reference for quality control. Inspectors can compare the state of the products with you specifications. That is why the information of a spec sheet is one of the most important things for an independent Quality Control company. It is the best way for the inspector to know which requirements he has to check, on top of the usual inspection.
Specifications need to cover the following aspects:
- Expected delivery
- Boxes and packaging
- Shape and cosmetics of the packaging
- Size and weight
- Labels, logos, tags and barcodes
- Finishing, color and other visuals
- Assembly and workmanship
- Raw materials and parts
What we often see is that Western companies deliver their specifications to suppliers exactly the way they do to Western suppliers. That is where things go wrong. The important thing is the formulation of detailed specifications, so there is no room for interpretation. Be as specific as you can be, because the Chinese factory cannot just know your thoughts. Your methods for measuring and testing of those details should be mentioned as well.
Here are some more tips for a good spec sheet:
- A list of definitions at the beginning of the spec sheet prevents misunderstandings of the specifications.
- Always mention the standards you use: country-specific standards, Pantone colors (PMS), metric or imperial system, ISO standards, etcetera.
- Specify the shipment conditions, so the supplier can take humidity and temperature into account.
- Which deviations of your specifications are acceptable? And what will be the consequence if the supplier crosses that limit? Specify every defect.
- Describe the Quality Control tests you want the factory to perform in detail.
- Use clear language and avoid ambiguous references.