Subscribe to the Blog

By checking the box below you consent to receive marketing communications from PEL. Your data will be stored securely and not shared with third-parties. If you would like to manage your subscriptions please do so in the email that will follow.

This is How You Can Avoid Lousy Eyewear Manufacturing (2019)

Posted by David Li on 24 January 2018

Competition in the eyewear trade is fierce. Nobody can survive with substandard products. Take a look at the facts, and what  steps you can take to ensure your clients receive top-quality eyewear.

Research shows that poor quality can cost a company between 15-40% of the overall business cost!

Generally speaking, eyewear manufacturing can be broken down into two categories - the cost of achieving sound quality, and the cost of poor quality.


Improving eyewear quality is arguably the best way to gain customer satisfaction, increase productivity, and reduce manufacturing costs. You must take into account the cost associated with achieving quality, as nowadays it’s not enough to meet customer requirements; it must be done at the best possible pricing as well.

It’s widely accepted that quality costs are the costs incurred in the design, operation, implementation and maintenance of quality management systems.

But there’s more

Throw in the cost of resources committed to continually improving system costs, products, service failure prevention, and all the other necessary expenses and non-value added activities required to achieve the manufacturing of quality products.

Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be!

However, the reporting and measuring of these costs should be considered a critical issue for anyone looking to achieve competitiveness in today’s markets.



The Defintion of Quality 

eyewear quality inspection


As we are all aware, the eyewear market has become extremely competitive , and now more than ever companies must produce good quality products to survive. Quality has also become a crucial competitive factor.

That’s why it’s not surprising to see high-quality products or services regularly mentioned as a goal in companies’ mission statements. When it comes to eyewear manufacturing, and subsequently your brand management, the general term “quality” refers to what quality management lingo divides into the two complementary categories - the quality of design and the quality of conformance.


  • The quality of design focuses on how the product design meets the requirements of the consumer.
  • The quality of conformance deals with whether the quality produced and provided to the consumer meets the approved design and standards.


Both quality points work together to determine the quality perceived by the consumer.

Why should this matter to you in the eyewear trade, though?


Let’s take Ray-Ban as an example here, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Ray Ban, in all probability it would likely be:

  • Aviator style sunglasses from the iconic film Top Gun
  • Ray Ban’s famous Wayfarer Sunglasses that everybody seems to own a pair of

You can read about the origin of these styles in the blog Top 10 Iconic Sunglasses - Actors & Movies That Started Fashion Trends.

Eyewear QC

Ray Ban has done exceptionally well to build an iconic brand, but would Ray Ban have made it anywhere today if the temples temple’s “arms” broke off quick, or glasses popped out the second time you put them on, as simple as it may sound? Not likely, and for that reason (and many others) it’s essential that you be conscious of both quality of conformance and qualities of the design.


You can read more about conformance in the free eBook “The Ultimate Eyewear QC Guide.”

And while the quality of design is an integral part of product quality, it has a small impact on the tradeoffs between manufacturing processes and inspection strategies.

All manufacturing processes are imperfect and have an associated non-conformance rate.


Manufacturers (or suppliers) seeking to achieve a higher quality of conformance have a wide range of options to choose from. These can be divided into two categories;

  1. Improving produced quality of conformance through defect prevention methods  

  2. Improving the quality of conformance via third-party inspection. In an ideal scenario, you would make use of eyewear quality inspection services from a reputable QC company


Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure

eyewear quality inspection


As the old saying suggests, if you can prevent it rather than fix it you will be better off.

Depending on how proactive you want to be, and how much you are willing to pay to secure the quality of your eyewear there is a range of options available to you. For the sake of this blog and general enlightenment we will look at the 4 points, you need to know when assessing the overall struggle between cost and quality in eyewear manufacturing.

1. Preventative Costs

Preventative costs are costs you incur to make sure your eyewear is produced according to spec, and you receive exactly what you planned on the other end of the production line. In other words, you avoid quality problems with a proactive approach rather than reactive.

These costs are associated with the implementation, design, and maintenance of the quality management systems. These are planned and actioned before operation starts, and they could include:

  • Quality planning — drawing up plans for quality, operations, reliability, production, and inspection of eyewear

  • Product or service requirements — establishment of specifications for incoming materials (raw materials), finished products and processes.

  • Quality assurance — creation and maintenance of eyewear manufacturing quality system

  • Training — development, preparation, and maintenance of programs

Examples of Preventative Cost:

  • Market Surveys
  • Pilot Scale Projects
  • Procedure Writing
  • Vendor Evaluation & Testing
  • Training and Education
  • Quality Improvement
  • Customer Surveys
  • Design Review

2. Appraisal costs

Appraisal costs deal with monitoring and measuring activities related to quality. These costs are associated with the customers’ and suppliers’ evaluation of processes, purchased materials, products, and services to make sure they conform to specifications. These could include:

  • Quality audits — a confirmation that the quality systems are functioning in good order

  • Verification — inspection of incoming materials, process setup, and products against  previously agreed specifications (golden samples)

  • Supplier rating—assessment and approval of suppliers of products and services

Examples of Appraisal Costs

  • Incoming Material Inspection
  • Laboratory Testing
  • Calibration Cost
  • Internal Audits
  • In-line Material Inspection
  • Automated Testing Tools
  • Final Product Inspection
  • Equipment Calibration
  • Procedure Evaluation
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Audit

3. Internal failure costs

Internal failure costs are incurred in response to defects discovered before the product is delivered to the customer, to remedy the issue also known as a reactive approach to problems.

These costs are incurred as a result of failure to reach design quality standards and are detected before they are sent to the customer. They could include:

  • Scrap (Rhymes with?) — Defective products or materials that can’t be repaired, used or sold, i.e. bent arms, scratched lenses or size proportion issues of eyewear.

  • Failure analysis — an investigation to establish the causes of internal product failure.

  • Rework or rectification — correction of defective eyewear, material or errors

  • Waste — unnecessary work or holding of stock as a result of errors, poor organization, or inadequate communication.

Examples of Internal Failure Costs:

  • Rework
  • Overtime
  • Scrap
  • Downtime
  • Excess Inventory
  • Redesign
  • Downgrading
  • 100% Sorting Inspection
  • Retesting
  • Excess Material Handling

Nothing good!

4. External failure costs (I want my money back)  

These are costs incurred by a business due to the failure of products or service at the customer’s end.

External failure costs are incurred to fix eyewear defects discovered by customers; this can be anything from loose screws, chipped paint on the arms of your sunglasses, lenses popping out! These costs occur when products or services fail to reach design quality standards. These qc issues are not detected until after the product has been transferred to the customer.

A final inspection of eyewear is crucial to avoid this from happening. Make sure you have a pre-approved and sealed sample to verify the designs and Pantone’s; working from your quality control checklist would be an excellent way to go about it. External failure costs include:

  • Warranty Claims — failed products that need to be replaced under a guarantee

  • Repairs and Servicing — of both returned products and those in the field

  • Complaints — all the costs associated with handling and servicing customers’ complaints

  • Returns — handling and investigation of recalled or rejected products, including transport costs

Examples of External Failure Costs:

  • Customer Dissatisfaction
  • Loss of Market Share
  • Warranty Costs
  • Price Concession
  • Premium Freight
  • Time Spent to Resolve Customer Complaints
  • Restocking Costs

Regardless if you’re looking to manufacture or purchase from an overseas supplier, you need to take the necessary precautions available to you. Good quality eyewear is within your grasp, you just have to make sure it reaches the end-user, and not break the bank doing so.

Quality and price, in short, walk hand in hand and you’ll do well to remember that if you approach quality correctly from the start, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of hassle down the line.

Familiarise yourself with the quality control measures your factory is using. Are they factoring in everything mentioned in this blog, are they knowledgeable on the subject?

Knowledge is key, simply knowing what questions to ask current or potential manufacturers can help you achieve quality in eyewear manufacturing. In the famous words of Hunter S. Thompson “Anything worth doing is worth doing right”.

What are your experiences or cautionary tales about quality control procedures in the eyewear trade?

Why not contact one of our consultants to hear more about how you can make sure you get the best possible quality from China?

Feel free to leave a comment below and one of our experts will get back to you as soon as possible


New Call-to-action

Topics: Eyewear Manufacturing

Share To Your Network

Mr. David Li, Manager, with over 16 years of experience in eyewear testing industry. Technical accessor of China National Accreditation Service. Trainer on Eyewear International Standards to Eyewear manufacturers.

More Articles by David Li

Recent Blogs