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Essential elements of selection of a third party testing lab in apparel export

A definitive guide on selecting a third party laboratory for garment companies

Apparel testing is essential before shipment to foreign countries like the US and EU. Selection of a suitable testing lab is required to get the right result. In order to achieve this, the lab has to equip themselves with equipment, calibration, proficiency testing, training etc. Such aspects have been critically reviewed in this paper.

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Specialized Services

One may only need basic testing, but it never hurts to know if a lab has a particular focus or offers unusual services.

General Testing Labs

Many labs can perform a wide variety of textile testing. In fact, some labs do a great deal more than textile testing. Textiles are often grouped with other “consumer products” such as toys or furniture.

This can be a benefit if one requires testing normally associated with these areas.

It can also mean that the lab has little or no dedicated space or personnel for textile testing. One can make sure that the testing he needs is not an afterthought in a lab primarily focused on unrelated testing. Aside from consumer products, textile testing can overlap a variety of other areas.

If one needs chemical analysis, electronics testing,  or other work outside the scope of traditional textile testing methods, he must be sure that the lab can address these needs.

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Subcontracted Labs

In some cases, a lab that doesn’t have the facilities or expertise to perform a specific test can subcontract the work to another lab. This can be more convenient than sending samples to multiple labs oneself, but it is helpful to know which tests will be subcontracted. Those tests may take longer or cost more than tests performed at the primary testing lab. Results may be reported in an unfamiliar format and staff at the primary lab may not be able to answer all relevant questions about a subcontracted test.

Speciality Labs

Certain labs purposely limit their scope to a narrow range of tests. This allows them to focus their time, equipment, staff, and training resources. If one needs very unusual testing, a speciality lab may be the only choice. One may also choose to work with a specialty lab for particularly critical testing or when in-depth analysis is necessary.

Services

Sometimes one needs more than a test report. If one needs video documentation of a test, expert witness testimony, or other specific services, be sure that the lab can meet the required needs. Many requests can be fulfilled with advance notice.

Choosing a textile testing lab is very important. One wants to be sure that the lab is well trained in the areas that matter to him. One wants to have clear and open lines of communication. And one wants to know that the instruments are up to date and in working order.

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