Third Party Instruction

A third-party inspection company is a business organization complying with the ISO 17020 standard. Third-party inspection or "Category A" is the most stringent of the 3 categories of inspection organization that the standard specifies. Such organizations are third party inspection agencies that must not be involved in any activities other than inspection and testing. Based on this requirement the third party inspection agency must not be involved in design, procurement, fabrication, construction and installation. All companies and parties such as buyers, sellers, engineering companies, plant owners must have access to these agencies and use their services. The confidentiality, independence, impartiality and integrity are important conditions for being a Third Party Inspection Company.

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Four types of quality inspection

A pre-production inspection tells the buyer which kind of raw materials (or components) will be used. Factories are often suspected of lowering their costs by purchasing substandard materials, and this can be disastrous for the buyer (e.g. the wrong kind of chip in an electronic device).

A during production inspection (often called “DUPRO” in the industry) allows the buyer to have an idea of average product quality, early in the production cycle. It is the most useful and the most under-rated tool at the disposal of importers, who often only rely on final inspections.

The final random inspection (also called “pre-shipment inspection”) is by far the most common type of QC check. It takes place once 100% of shipment quantity is finished and at least 80% is packed, so it can be a real random inspection (this is not exactly the case if quality is checked earlier) and suppliers cannot play games.

The container loading inspection, like the pre-production inspection, it is seldom used. But it can be a worthwhile option in some specific cases. 


An independent test organization is an organization, person, or company that tests products, materials, software, etc. according to agreed requirements. The test organization can be affiliated with the government or universities or can be an independent testing laboratory. They are independent because they are not affiliated with the producer nor the user of the item being tested: no commercial bias is present. These "contract testing" facilities are sometimes called "third party" testing or evaluation facilities.


Independent testing might have a variety of purposes, such as:

  • Determine if, or verify that, the requirements of a specification, regulation, or contract are met.
  • Decide if a new product development program is on track: Demonstrate proof of concept.
  • Provide standard data for other scientific, engineering, and quality assurance functions.
  • Validate suitability for end-use
  • Provide a basis for technical communication
  • Provide a technical means of comparison of several options
  • Provide evidence in legal proceedings: forensics, product liability, patents, product claims, etc.
  • Help solve problems with current products or services
  • Help identify potential cost savings in products or services

Industry Standards

There are various technical standards available which organizations can use to evaluate products and services. Test methods are published by regulators or can be included in specifications or contracts. International standards organizations also publish test methods:

  • International Organization for Standardization, ISO
  • ASTM International
  • European Committee for Standardization. CEN
  • Military Standards
  • etc.