Inspecting Items at Delivery

Whenever items are delivered, if it is a large shipment or just a small one, we must verify that the items delivered are the right items and in good condition before we officially Receive them.

With small, ordinary deliveries, this will just mean making sure that the Requester of the items is there to verify that the items are what he or she ordered.  In other cases (for example with large shipments, complex products, or technical equipment), inspecting the items will require specialized testing and/or sampling techniques.

Here we list some tips that might help you:

  1. Inspection requirements and methods depend on the items being inspected. Check with the requesting department (before the delivery) to find out what you should look for and what industry or government standards (if any) are applicable to each item.
  2. For large deliveries to distant locations, inspect items BEFORE they leave the Supplier’s warehouse, if you can.

    You don’t want to have a vendor send trucks full of tarps to a field location only to find, after a 3-day trip, that they are the wrong size.

    So, in situations when you are sending large amounts of material, or sending items over long distances, consider having CRS staff do inspections at the Supplier’s facility as items are being put in the truck.

    Even if the vendor is located in a different city from your office, it might still be a good idea to send staff to be there as the items are being produced or the trucks are being loaded.  The trip could save a lot of time, money, and hassle later on – and the beneficiaries will be served faster. (Note that when you do this you must still inspect the items when they arrive at their final destination, to make sure nothing was lost or damaged on the way.)

  3. If you are receiving a very large delivery, you do not have to test every item or open every box.  But you must inspect the delivery at many different points.  For example, make sure to check:
    1. Items from the front, middle, and back of each truck, selected randomly.
    2. Items from the top, middle, and bottom of each stack.
    3. The items at the bottoms of bags or boxes in addition to just the items on top.

    Keep a careful record of the bags or boxes you check and the result of each inspection.

    Then, if you find some items that are not of the proper type or quality, expand your inspection to include more points so you can get a better idea of the total amount of the shipment that is not acceptable.

  4. For special items (such as bulk shipments of food) you might need to hire the services of a professional cargo surveyor.  To find a surveyor, speak with other aid organizations, importers, and most importantly, consult with the local chamber of commerce. Generally, surveyors are registered and accredited with the Chamber of Commerce.

    There is detailed information about the role of a surveyor in the FACMM.  Click here to see the part of that document that deals with surveying.  (The document mentions surveyors in many other sections too.  You can find the whole document by clicking here.)

    In other cases, you might need to use sophisticated analyses and will need to contract with a certified laboratory.  Work with the Requester of the items to find out what tests are appropriate.

    However you test, in these cases we will not release the responsibility of the Supplier or the Delivery Person until you have survey or test results, and those results are consistent with the required quality.

    Generally, for goods that require complex quality testing, the purchase and/or delivery contract allows for the goods to be received and accepted ‘subject to testing results’. That is, you will sign the waybill and indicate in the comments that the goods are being tested and that full receipt and acceptance is conditional to the quality testing results. Once the results are received, any goods that do not match the required quality of specifications must be rejected. Follow this link for information on how to deal with quality discrepancies.