China Quality Inspection: The Mystery of "Man-days" and how they influence the costs of quality control

China quality inspection
We all know that in China, quality inspection is critical. Quality Control is an absolute when sourcing/importing from China, it is essential for buyers to know how to calculate their cost when using 3rd party QC companies to inspect their goods. These costs are usually determined by a measurement unit of called a “man-day.”
What is a "Man-Day"
The “man-day” is the China quality control Industry’s standard measurement unit used to calculate the workload an inspector can complete in one day. This measurement is called a “man-day” and allows buyers and those in the QC industry to calculate the labor and costs it takes for an inspection .agent to conduct an inspection of your goods in your supplier’s factory.
What consists of a Man-Day?
A man-day can consist of the following:
  • One man-day is one day of work for 1 Quality Control staff
  • Two man-days can include:
    • two days work for 1 Quality Control staff,
    • or one day of work with two Quality Control staff members.
Time needed to complete an inspection will vary on how the staff is allocated. Some options include sending one inspector for several days or several inspectors for 1 day.
How many units can be inspected in a man-day?
You may be asking yourself “how many man-days do I need to inspect X samples.”
3rd party China quality inspection companies determine the number of units to check per man-day, through the use of the AQL.
The ‘AQL’ stands for ‘Acceptance Quality Limit’ and is the international quality standard for product inspections. The AQL helps inspectors determine the inspection sampling size of a production lot for inspection. Inspectors use the AQL to outline their workday based on the sample size selected for inspection.
Below are the suggested maximum numbers of samples to be inspected in one man-day:
Basic consumer hardline goods: 200 and 315 units a day.
Basic consumer electronics: 125 and 200 pieces in a day.
Garment 80 to 125 pieces per day.
Other things that can influence cost of a man-day
Despite sounding fairly straight forward, calculating a man-day can be complex at times as calculations will vary on other factors depending on different China quality inspection companies. This can include the complexity of the product, number of units inspected, accessibility of the factory, travel time, report writing, photography etc.
  • Keep in mind, Man-day calculations may also be influenced by the following factors:
  • Complexity of the product
  • Hours spent in the factory (these are usually counted as full man-days)
  • May also be influenced by the number of things to check for
  • Some QC companies may count man-days separately for each inspector
  • Hours spent traveling to and from the factory (sometimes counted as half-days)
When arranging quality control, make sure to address what exactly will account for the costs. Some 3rd party inspection agencies can be flexible and speed up your inspection but these will usually include 2 QC inspectors, but for an additional man-day cost.

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