Quality Inspector Corruption: It’s Not All About The Money

Quality inspector corruption is a huge risk in China, in Bangladesh, in Mexico, etc. Inspectors are trusted to go out on their own without supervision, and what they report can have a serious financial impact on a factory. There is obviously a lot of temptation to misreport reality. But what causes this corruption more often? Money, social pressure, or both?

When a quality control inspector goes out to conduct an inspection, there are many things you can do to

ensure they have everything they need to do it correctly, but there is one factor where you are relying entirely on their character, namely honesty.

An inspector can go equipped with all of the training, information and equipment they require to conduct a quality inspection, but if they are susceptible to bribery and social pressure from the factory managers and workers themselves, it can invalidate the whole inspection.


Is corruption all about the money?

While you might have visions of corrupt factory owners physically intimidating inspectors, or handing them large envelopes of cash, which happens in some cases, to be sure; that is not the whole story.

Social pressure from the factory people also plays a large role. Think of your inspectors being made to feel obliged for the treatment they have received, whether in terms of hotel upgrades or lavish meals laid on for them. 

This sense of obligation can lead to inspection reports that are 

dishonest or downright corrupt.

Sometimes it can be all too easy to accept what seems like a small gift – to avoid seeming rude – and end up on a downward spiral towards feeling indebted towards the people you are meant to be objectively inspecting.



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How can quality inspector corruption be prevented?

There is no 100% certain way of preventing human beings from giving in to temptation but there are things you can do to try and keep your inspectors from failing to do their jobs properly:

  • Pay them good wages – financial pressure is always harder to resist when you need the money to top up your salary.
  • Ensure they are happy in their jobs – if they feel engaged and loyal, they won’t want to let the company down.
  • Make sure their expenses cover anything the factory owners could offer – you don’t need to pay for five star treatment, but ensure they can be comfortable when they go to visit factories.
  • Utilize quality inspection software that makes it much more difficult for them to cheat the system by tracking and recording everything they do along the way during the inspection.
  • Rotate the inspectors as much as possible among your supplier base, to avoid them getting too close to a specific factory.


What do you think? Which is responsible for more instances of misreporting, money changing hands or social pressure causing a feeling of indebtedness?

Have you personally encountered this issue? What did you do to overcome it?

Please let us know your experiences, thoughts, and questions, and we will be pleased to respond.


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