When consumer brands come to us, they typically run QC in one of three ways:
- Full-time internal inspectors
- Contracting third-party inspectors (sometimes combined with internal inspectors)
- Worst of all: Ignoring QC altogether or relying on their manufacturer
Below, we unpack the pros and cons of each strategy to help you determine which approach makes the most sense for your brand. And, if you’ve been putting off your QC process altogether, Factored Quality can help you get started.
3 reasons why brands should never skip quality control
We won’t mince words: There is no upside to overlooking quality control.
According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, the biggest influence on brand loyalty is quality, far exceeding cost or variety.
Without a QC process in place, you leave your entire production cycle to chance. You can’t see issues with your materials or manufacturing until the container has reached its destination, and by then, it’s too late.
Just think about what you invest in each PO: manufacturing costs, shipping costs, import taxes, etc. Those funds are tied up for months before you see a return — and that’s only if the goods themselves are defect-free. If the shipment hasn’t been inspected for quality, that could mean a massive potential loss:
- Wasted cash — A single recall or ruined shipment can mean tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost.
- Unhappy customers — Poor quality ruins your reputation and hurts repeat business.
- Legal risks — If your quality processes are not compliant with global regulations, this limits your brand’s ability to expand and break into new markets.
What if you could ensure those funds won’t go to waste and that customers are thrilled with your products every time? Well, that’s why you need QC. It costs a fraction of what you’ve already invested and ensures the same results each time — giving you full control from start to finish.
Full-time internal inspectors offer greater control but limited scale
Pros: For larger, more established brands with high volume, consistent production, and robust infrastructure, full-time inspectors offer expertise and give you full control of your supply chain.
- Consistent — Your internal QC team will know your products best and be committed to your brand’s success.
- Efficient — By keeping QC in-house, you don’t have to continually search for and vet inspectors.
Cons: Emerging brands may not see the same benefits as larger companies, especially if the business is already operating on a tight budget. Plus, full-time hires make it tough to adjust to market fluctuations and overall growth. This means hiring an internal QC team can be:
- Not scalable — Inspection needs fluctuate as your business grows, or (for seasonal brands) as your production volume ebbs and flows.
- Static — Full-time inspectors are typically tied to one location with little-to-no flexibility.
- Costly — If you want to expand production beyond one location, you’ll likely shoulder the cost of transporting your full-time inspectors from facility to facility.
Third-party inspectors are cost-efficient but operationally demanding
Pros: Third-party vendors offer a viable QC solution for most brands. You also gain the flexibility of a hybrid model, where you hire full-time inspectors and supplement them with outside vendors as needed. Taking the third-party approach is typically:
- Easy to implement — You can deploy a global operation from a single location.
- Cost-effective — You don’t add full salaries and benefits to your operating expenses.
- Flexible — You can build a hybrid QC process with both internal and external inspectors.
- Scalable — You can ramp inspections (and costs) up or down based on the size of your business and current production needs.
Cons: Third-party vendors may not fully understand your industry, so you lose the dedicated brand expertise of a full-time internal QC professional. As a result, the third-party route can be:
- Complicated — You juggle comms and reporting (often manually) across individual inspectors.
- Time-consuming — Identifying, vetting, and onboarding reliable third-party inspectors adds hours to your plate.
- Limited — Your brand cannot scale globally without a network of partners in place.
- Risky — Your inspectors ultimately aren’t fully committed to your brand or product.
Whatever your brand needs for QC, Factored Quality delivers
Modern supply chains are more complex and distributed than ever. As a result, standard approaches to QC that sufficed for centuries no longer do the trick.
That’s why we built Factored Quality.
Factored Quality’s centralized QC platform and managed services connect you to our global network of 2,000+ inspectors for affordable, scalable quality control. You can test, inspect, and audit any product, anywhere in the world, at any time — without the downsides of traditional QC strategies.
- Factored Quality’s services scale with your brand. We support brands ranging from first launches to retail distribution. Whether you’re starting from scratch or need specific expertise, FQ is there for you.
- Factored Quality streamlines and simplifies your QC. Our all-in-one platform lets you book inspectors, receive inspection results, and track and analyze QC data at every stage of manufacturing: raw materials, compliance, shipping, CPK/FAI, and more.
Factored Quality offers white-glove support. Where typical third-party inspectors can be impersonal, the FQ team is hands-on: getting to know your brand and vertical from top to bottom, customizing your QC workflows, and offering 24/7 live comms.
“Our previous inspection providers always tried to convince us they were the perfect choice for us. With Factored Quality, their team was instantly committed to us making the right decision for our brand — whatever that may be. That’s when we knew we had found the perfect fit for Brooklinen.”