Quality checks at the source are essential for fresh produce traders to ensure the product they receive meets quality standards and is safe for consumption. A robust produce inspection and testing program that reaches even the most remote parts of the world provides international importers with supply chain visibility, peace of mind and ultimately reduces costs in the long run.
This case study demonstrates how QIMA helped a Spanish seafood importer establish an inspection and testing program to verify the quality of produce and promote greater transparency in their sourcing decisions.
The client is a seafood trader from Madrid, Spain who caters to major European retailers and imports more than 10 million kilos of frozen products every year. The bulk of its sourcing is done in China and Vietnam.
The client faced major issues with the quality of imported seafood from Asian suppliers. Customers in Spain were frequently complaining about the incoming seafood. Persistent issues had put the trading company's credibility at stake and risked losing its major European retail customers.
Normally seafood is coated with layer of ice known as ‘glazing' to keep it fresh. A trick used by some Asian suppliers involves adding more ice than required in order to increase the seafood's gross weight and have relatively less fish substance in the final product. Consequently, the retailers end up charging for the water, and shoppers pay more money for less fish, thus leading to customer dissatisfaction.
The client asked QIMA to guide them in implementing a detailed process of inspecting and monitoring their suppliers in remote regions of China and Vietnam. The objective was to have greater control over supply chain sourcing, remotely from Spain.
With our expertise in seafood inspection and lab testing, we helped the client setup a thorough inspection process at their suppliers' factory in Dalian (China). Within a week, we replicated the process at all of their China and Vietnam suppliers. QIMA, with its large network of inspectors, helped the client reach the remotest corner of Asia within just 48 hours of order booking.
We designed industry standard inspection protocols based on the "NOAASeafood Inspection Program" requirements for fish inspection (that includes seafood sampling plan, boil-in smell tests, temperature checks, workmanship and dimension checks). We further customized the inspection process as per the client's business requirements. Specific focus was placed on our specialized glazing tests to ensure that the weight of the fish before and after glazing is within permissible limits.
"Now that I have increased control over my entire sourcing network, I can track merchandise at every stage of the supply chain using QIMA's customized online system. The reports are transparent and help me make decisions before importing food. The inspection process certainly makes my suppliers more vigilant and has restored my peace of mind. I anticipate continued partnership with QIMA in the future", says the director of the Spanish trading company.
With comprehensive quality check systems in the customer's supply chain, 100% of its seafood merchandise leaving Asia for Europe is safe to consume and adheres to all quality regulations. We ensure this by systematically controlling each container in the factory and testing the contents in QIMA's specialty labs powered by Silliker.
On average, 15% of the importable lots get rejected at the source (factory in Asia), but it allows a safer, smoother and more cost-effective supply chain.
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