Bulk Samples by Apparel Search - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry
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Bulk samples are also referenced as production samples or final production samples. Some companies refer to these as T.O.P Samples (Top Of Production) . In summary, a bulk reference sample is a sample that is used as an example of the actual production. In other words, a true unit of the orders final production.
Items are pulled directly after they have completed the manufacturing process as a way to illustrate exactly what is planned to be shipped for a particular order. A factory would maintain a bulk sample for their internal records, and they are also often required to provide bulk samples to the company that is purchasing the product. If the factory is required to do testing, they would also need to provide bulk samples to the testing laboratories.
If you work for a clothing factory and a buyer has asked you to provide "bulk samples", the buyer is asking for you to show them a sample of one of the items you produced for their order. They want to see the garment that you have produced and are preparing to ship. They do NOT want to see a sample made in your sample room. They are asking to view an exact representation of what you produced for them and plan to deliver.
When production begins, many buyer require the factory to present to them bulk samples / TOP Samples so that the buyers can review them to make certain that the factory is following exact specifications. Although they most likely went thru a pre-production process, they still must evaluate the final production samples (bulk samples). The buyer will typically review all aspects of the items. If the bulk sample is of garments, the buyer will inspect color, fabric construction, fit, packaging details, ticketing, labels, etc.
You may also want to read about In-Process Quality Control
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