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Which quality inspection software should furniture buyers use?

by Renaud Anjoran on 8 May 2017

Do you buy furniture products? Do you need to cut the useless paperwork and have traceability over what your team does in the field? Quality inspection software can help, but how to choose the right solution?

Let’s first look at the specificities of furniture quality control...

A Desire To Use Your Own QC Team

There are a few product categories, such as furniture or stones, where the vast majority of buying offices feel the need to hire their own inspectors. And they have no trust in the judgment of inspectors working for third-party agencies.

Even in the garment industry, most companies hire their own QC team. But they still recognize that some inspection companies know what they are doing. Not so with furniture.

Why? For the simple reason that apparel is a huge market for inspection agencies, and many of them have entire department staffed only with garment specialists. It corresponds to a recognized educational path too (textile engineers). These are not true in furniture.

Another reason is the impracticality of sending samples by express courier. There is no easy way to do a quick check by asking the factory to send a few samples over.

 

A Vast Number Of Potential Defects

furniture defects

Yet another reason is, there are actually two large families of furniture products:

  • Modern furniture, which is rather straightforward to check;
  • Antique furniture, which often incorporates imperfections that are part of the style. Deciding on what is and is not a defect becomes an art!

To make matters even worse, a large number of materials go into the making of furniture, and each material come with its own specific defects:

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Composite materials

 

A Specific Inspection Process

The activity of checking quality is quite different from, say, consumer electronics. There are several reasons for this:

  • Relatively small batch sizes (it doesn’t take make sofas to fill up a container);
  • Large products that take a long time to check;
  • A need for special cooperation from the factory’s side: a lot of space, but also help for assembling and de-assembling inspection samples

 

How to manage quality inspectors eBook

 

The Importance Of The Loading Supervision

One more thing that is worth noting is that supervising the loading of a container is quite common for buyers of furniture. A poor loading is often the cause of serious quality issues.

If the loading is not done correctly, or if the container is humid/leaking, a manager might have to make a decision immediately. Otherwise, the factory just loads the goods and the truck goes… after that it can be really hard to call it back.

Therefore, real-time notification of findings is a must for furniture importers. It has to be possible for someone in the office to see the photos as soon as they are uploaded on to the server by the mobile application.

Here's a visual representation of how the SynControl quality inspection software saves inspectors and quality managers time, and gets reports (including photos) to management before transportation takes place:

syncontrol quality inspection software time savings

Make sure you keep this in mind as you look for a quality inspection software tool.

 

Implications For The Hardware To Be Used By QC Inspectors

quality inspection software in use on tablet

There is no need to hold a product in one hand when taking photos. Accessories and other small parts can be placed on a table and then have photos taken of them.

Therefore a tablet is a good replacement for both the digital camera and the laptop. Furthermore, it is easier to see details of photos from a catalogue of a technical file on a tablet than on a smartphone.

 

What tools have you been using to check furniture products? Have you got experience with a dedicated software solution? How has it helped?
Please share your questions or comments with us below, and don't forget to contact us if you have any questions about how SynControl may be able to help your business.


How to manage quality inspectors

Topics: quality control software

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About the Author

Renaud Anjoran

Renaud has 10 years of experience in the quality and manufacturing fields and is a certified ISO 9001 lead auditor and ASQ certified quality engineer. He was quoted in the New Yorker and the LA Times, and his articles have been published in Quality Progress, Business Insider, and more. His role is to ensure SynControl really solves customer's problems and saves them money.

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