You may have come across these two terms if you are interested in quality inspection. Comprehending the differences between factory audits and factory inspections is essential for your quality control management process in your business. 

Knowing the distinct difference between the two will help you decide when and why to use one or the other. Knowing what tools you have in your inspection toolbox will enable you to produce exceptionally high-quality goods 

The difference between a factory audit and a factory inspection is Factory Audit focuses on how the manufacturer carries out its processes in general, while an inspection focuses on whether the factory will meet your specific production processes.

Below are the significant differences between a product inspection and a factory audit:

Factory AuditProduct Inspection
Factory Audit, skilled auditors develop a more ‘free style’ approach based on beliefs alone.Inspectors need to follow a specific product their checklist strictly.
Auditors need better social abilities to extract data tactfully from the factory workers. Inspectors often work in difficult conditions. There are often conflicts with the factory staff. 
A single declined audit might be enough to stop or avoid a business relationship.It usually takes a succession of failed inspection reports for you to sever ties with the factory. 
Factory auditors have no idea about the procedures at play in the organisations they visit (and in some cases, that’s a problem).Inspectors need to be aware of the product getting checked.
Factory Audits are usually done before the product is actually producedProduct inspections are usually done during or after the product has been produced. 
A factory audit costs around $250-$350
A product inspection normally costs $160

Here are a few photos of a factory audit report 

Similarities between factory audits and inspection:

  • Both are accomplished on-site at the production facility. 
  • Both require the inspector to know exactly what to check.
  • They both are presented in final report form 
  • The reports are made from information gathered at the factory 
  • Reports emphasise negative findings. It is a little less detailed for auditors, however, they also seek to draw attention to irregularities. 
  • Business conclusions are made based on audit and inspection reports.

The importance of factory audits and inspection

Product inspection is an essential aspect of producing flawless products.

Product inspection will ensure the following: 

  • It will help you deliver defect-less merchandise.
  • It will help you figure out faults during the initial production processes and provide a quality end product.
  • It will significantly reduce the number of complaints. 
  • Helps you achieve customer satisfaction 

The purpose of product inspection is:

  • To distinguish good lots from bad lots.
  • To distinguish good pieces from bad pieces.
  • To determine if the process is changing.
  • To determine if the process is approaching the specification limits.
  • To rate the quality of the product.
  • To warrant the accuracy of inspectors.
  • To measure the precision of the measuring instrument.
  • To secure products-design information.

Factory audit aims to ensure that you have chosen a factory with enough capacity to produce your product 

  • It can help you establish if you want to do business in the first place
  • The workforce has a thorough education to design and establish a product.
  • The raw material has adequate quality, and the expense is according to market rates. 

All this is to ensure that the supplier can deliver the proper order in a timely fashion. 

Types of factory inspection

There are three common types of quality inspections: pre-production, during production, and final. Certain aspects of your product must get inspected and approved during each stage to anticipate and improve quality problems:

  1. Pre-production inspection 

A pre-production inspection happens either before production starts (usually to test inputs) or at the beginning of the final assembly.

  1. During production inspection

It is an inspection obtained while production is underway. It checks if the production is on schedule and your goods are being made with the correct materials. 

  1. Pre-shipment inspection 

A pre-shipment inspection brings in an inspector with no connection to your supplier to verify that your products are made correctly and to your specifications.

This is the most important and most common inspection as it weeds out defective products before they are shipped out. 

Types of factory audits 

While not as popular a factory audit is extremely important. More and more companies acknowledge the benefits of a factory audit to make their business and manufacturing procedure more effective and improve quality. It helps establish if you are dealing with a factory that meets your standards and can produce your goods. 

Below are the types of factory audits:

  1. Social Compliance Auditing Services

This type of factory auditing is sometimes called an ethical or social accountability audit.

 It verifies a supplier’s factory working conditions. A social compliance audit will normally assess the following 

  • Fire exits
  • Protective gear for workers
  • Workers’ insurance
  • Storage of dangerous materials
  • Workers wages 
  • Other related labour practices 

This can be beneficial for an Amazon seller to make sure that your factory is using fair labour practices. It could do a lot of damage to your brand if it is found that your factory pays their workers “slave wages”

  1. Quality System Audit

Quality System Audits the second most common kind of factory audit service. It is a type of factory audit used to discern if the supplier is producing quality goods to ensure on-time delivery and quality.

Mainly, quality system auditing services will be performed at a particular time interval and includes analysing management procedures, quality systems, machinery supervision, and several factors. 

A facility that can pass this auditing service should have precise internal system monitoring techniques to ensure reasonable and reliable actions. 

This is important for your Amazon business to make sure that your factory can produce your goods and you can be guaranteed long term supply. 

  1. Security Audit

It is the least common type of factory audit among these three kinds that a retailer might perform. Certain brands and retailers require this audit to remain in compliance with Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) restrictions in the United States.

This auditing service’s emphasis is to learn if the manufacturing site is safe enough. The dangers of terrorism associated with the facility U.S. Customs and Border Protection set C-TPAT, which concentrates on identifying safety gaps, protecting the supply chain, and enforcing specific security measures and best practices related to avoiding terrorism.


Remember that factory audits are concentrated on the bigger picture and generally conducted before deciding on a new factory relationship. Inspections are about the fine print and are usually used to help manage existing connections.

Audits assist you in making good long-term decisions. They also help you determine which suppliers to operate with to get the best outcomes over time. 

Having a decent mix of audits and inspections in your quality control program is crucial. So, be sure to deem both to help ensure the accomplishment of your projects.

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