Chris Walker works with quality control inspectors in vietnam
Apparel Quality Control in Vietnam
What quality control standard will you accept?
Ultimately, garment quality control in Vietnam comes down to the attitude of the sewing factory owner. If the owner values quality, then you will see many QC systems in place and followed. If the owner does not genuinely care about quality control, you will quickly find out during production. What are some QC systems a factory can employ? Some factory owners create their own internal methods of QC and other factories employ industry-standard methods like AQL standards and Third Party Inspectors.
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QC is critical in Viet Nam

Will you hire a Third Party QC Company?


My advice is: have a basic understanding of AQL standards and when you meet a factory, ask if they can follow AQL standards. If they have never heard of AQL standards then you know their level of experience.

What are AQL Standards


The Acceptable Quality Level, commonly referred to as AQL, is a method widely used to measure quality control. It was developed by ISO (International Organization for Standardization.) The official standard number is ISO 2859-1:1999. An AQL inspection checks finished garments, raw materials, operations, supplies in storage, maintenance operations, and administrative procedures. So, how does AQL work in real life?
Is it practical to do a 100% inspection of, say, all 5,000 pieces you are making? Answer is no. When using AQL, the factory only inspects a percentage of the total. When a factory uses an AQL standard, the customer, you, chooses a sample size. Let’s say you are producing 5,000 pieces for one style. You tell the factory that you will randomly choose 200 pieces and inspect them all. Your sample size is 200/5000. Then you need to choose between AQL 1.5 or AQL 2.0. If you choose a strict AQL standard of 1.5 then only 7 garments can be defective. If more than 7 garments are defective then you have the right to reject the whole shipment and get your deposit back. If you choose a less strict AQL standard of 2.5 then only 10 garments can be defective. This is basically how AQL standards work. Refer to this website for a more detailed explanation. Usually you hire a third party inspection company to perform the AQL inspection. Actually checking 200 garments and knowing what to check requires experience that you don’t have. This is where 3rd party inspectors come in to the story. Garment quality control in Vietnam typically involves third party inspection companies.
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Third Party Inspectors


It is a good idea to hire a third party to do final inspections IF your order is big. If your order is small, less than 1,000 pieces, then hiring a third party is not cost effective.

In Vietnam there are two reputable third party inspectors: SGS and Intertek. Both companies offer package services where they coordinate with the factory, conduct the inspection and send you a report. They do a lot more than just QC the final garments. They can test fabric for defects like pilling, colorfastness or UV resistance. They can audit a factory before you place your first order. Hiring a third party inspection company is not cheap and usually only makes sense when placing large quantity orders like 10,000 pieces or more.

In Conclusion:

1. Choose your factory carefully. Get to know the owner well and check closely what internal QC measures he or she employs.

2. Clarify in writing what AQL standard you expect the factory to follow.

3. Do your own QC inspection at the beginning of production.

4. Do your own final QC at the end of production before shipment.
Garment quality control is like raising children; you've got to be on-duty 24/7. Or you hire a baby-sitter that you trust.

At the end of the day you are depending on the accountability and constitution of the factory owner.

The ultimate quality control will happen when your customers put on your garments. If there are problems, they will complain to your hotline or via social media. Your brand value is on the line. Do whatever it takes to ensure quality control is maintained well.

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Vietnam Garment Insider
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