Receiving Agency Inspection Guidelines

Revised September 2009

These guidelines are designed to assist a state agency in fulfilling its responsibilities regarding inspection of commodities and services. Proper internal controls require the inspection and/or evaluation of all purchased commodities and services upon receipt or in accordance with the acceptance clause contained in the contract from which the purchase is made. Prompt corrective action must be taken when deficiencies are noted.


Whether an agency is purchasing a commodity or service through its own efforts or through a contract established by the Office of General Services Procurement Services Group (OGS PSG), the receiving agency has the primary responsibility to ensure the vendor’s full compliance with contract requirements and specifications.


If an agency needs to communicate with OGS PSG regarding a particular contract, please contact the Purchasing Officer listed on the contract award.



Commodities must be inspected immediately upon receipt. Generally, there are two separate steps to the inspection procedure: (1) a receipt inspection to verify that the agency received what it ordered; and (2) a technical or functional inspection to verify that what was received meets the technical specifications or requirements specified in the contract. Adequate information including, copies of the contract award and specification, must be supplied to receiving personnel so that a receipt inspection is performed in accordance with contract requirements. Although many of the inspection responsibilities are undertaken by the receiving personnel, the technical or functional inspection should be promptly undertaken by either storeroom personnel or the end user.

The receipt inspection should include the following:

  • Review of the contract and purchase order documents in order to verify that delivery and receipt are in accordance with the terms and conditions, such as tailgate or inside delivery.
  • Visual inspection of the delivery for possible shipping damage.
  • Review of labeling and packaging for contract compliance.
  • Verification that quantities received match the quantity ordered on the purchase order and reported on the shipping documents.
  • Verification of weight of commodity where weight is specified on contract, especially for large quantities of small items such as nuts and bolts, plastic bags or paper towels when a physical count would not be practical.
  • Verification that the manufacturer and model number of the commodity delivered agree with the contract and the purchase order.
  • Delivery of items to the storeroom or the end user as quickly as possible to facilitate the next step of the inspection process.

Agency personnel should make every effort to determine if there are any equipment defects as soon as possible, since some items, such as computer equipment, may have only a 90 day warranty. It is imperative that defects be discovered and reported to the contractor before the warranty expires.



The following specific procedures will assist a receiving agency in performing a thorough inspection of certain specified commodities.

CLOTHING - Count the items, note the sizes and check both against the purchase order. Check the garment labels for size, fabric and care instructions. Note the fabric, quality of workmanship and uniformity of the items.

ELECTRICAL ITEMS - Compare to the specifications to verify the information on the data plate, the make, model, voltage, amperage and motor horsepower agrees with the requirements. Also determine that the material, required parts, workmanship, finish, and color are as specified. Where installation is required by the contractor, no agency personnel or equipment are to be used for such installation.

MECHANICAL ITEMS - Read the data plate to ensure that the make and model are correct and the size and/or capacities are specified in the contract. Take physical measurements (where possible) to assure the size is correct, and verify the material, finish, and color of the delivered item. Assure that all parts for the assembly are provided and any optional items ordered are supplied.



On occasion, an agency must obtain product samples for laboratory testing and analysis. The following guidelines will help an agency determine which type of sampling method to use and outline specific sampling procedures for paint, fuel oil and road salt. A. General Random Sampling: This procedure applies to all inspections of mechanical equipment, carloads of packaged material or tons of bulk material. This procedure entails selecting a specific number of units to be sampled at random from the entire shipment as follows. The sampling plan will be that described in MIL-STD-105D Table II-A "Single Sampling Plan for Normal Inspection.” Unless otherwise specified, the AQL (Acceptable Quality Level) to be used shall be 0.65. The number of units to be selected for inspection is prescribed below (see data from MIL-STD 105D Table I "Sample Size Code Letters" General Inspection Level II).

#Units Delivered # Units Delivered Sample Size
2 8 2
9 15 3
16 25 5
26 50 8
51 90 13
91 150 20
151 280 32
281 500 50
501 1200 80
1201 3200 125
3201 10000 200
10001 35000 315
35001 150000 500
150001 500000 800
500001 Over 1250


Random/Random Sampling: This procedure is used to sample multiple packaged material (e.g. boxes of product then packaged into cases) and yield a representative sample of an entire delivery. Use the sampling plan above to sample at the "case" level. Then, once the appropriate number of samples is obtained at this level, determine the total number of "boxes" in the sampled cases and again apply the sampling plan to determine the proper number of "boxes" to be selected. Accept or reject product using the total number of "BOXES" as the # Unit delivered.


B. Procedures for Specific Commodities

1. Paint Sampling – An agency may be requested to obtain samples according to the following procedures. It is customary for paint samples to be sent to testing facilities in one-gallon containers. When the paint is delivered to the agency in one or five-gallon containers, take a random sample of one container of each batch number. To obtain a one-gallon sample from a five-gallon container, mix the unopened five-gallon container by mechanical means for 30 minutes. (Mixing by hand will require a mixing time of one hour or until no pigment is noted, whichever is longer.) After the mixing is complete, open the container, remove the one-gallon sample and place it in a new, unused one-gallon paint can. In cases where the paint is delivered in 55-gallon drums, thoroughly mix the paint by a mechanical agitator until no settled pigment is noted, or for 30 minutes, whichever is longer. After taking the sample, record the batch number and the date of manufacture on each sample.

2. Fuel Oil - It is essential that fuel oil is tested on a regular basis in accordance with ASTM D4057-06 [IP #MPMS (Chapter 8.1)]. To be valid for testing, the sample should be taken at the time of delivery from the tank truck. The procedure used is to take three one-quart cans of oil from the tank - one from the top, one from the middle, and one from the bottom - to make a composite sampling of the product contained in the tank. Note the date, time and truck number, as well as the information contained on the delivery ticket. Take samples from the storage tank using the same procedure. If a sampler is not available, an incremental sample may be collected as the transport is unloaded, taking samples from the delivery as it is being pumped off the truck at various points during the delivery. A sample can be taken at the beginning, at the midpoint and at the end of the delivery. 

In accordance with Circular Letter 710, an agency should forward fuel oil samples to an appropriate, qualified, independent laboratory for testing. 

3. Road Salt Sampling and Testing — Sampling shall be done in accordance with current recommendations by the American Society for Testing and Materials, as set forth in ASTM-D632. The receiving agency and others reserve the right to take samples from the contractor’s stockpile or transfer point or from shipments at the point of destination.

It is recommended that an agency sample and test their delivered road salt periodically throughout the contract for laboratory analysis.

Sampling should be done as follows:

Sampling: Not less than three sample increments shall be selected at random from the lot. Each increment should be obtained by moving aside at least the top 1" of material and then taking an approximately 1 pound sample to a depth of at least 6" using any method that will assure a uniform cross-section of the material being sampled. The sample increments shall be thoroughly mixed to produce a composite sample representative of the lot. The sample shall be placed in a clean, dry, moisture-proof container for transport to the laboratory.

A certified laboratory should be used to perform testing. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) maintains a searchable list of laboratories. An agency should make sure it provides the lab with a properly collected, labeled and documented sample as well as a copy of the relevant section of the detailed specification.


The following actions are recommended in response to general problems:

Damaged Goods
  • Refuse delivery, if degree of damage dictates
  • Note the extent of damage on freight receipts
  • Notify contractor, carrier and OGS PSG
Concealed Damage
  • Notify contractor, carrier and OGS PSG
  • Note shortage on freight receipts
  • Notify contractor and OGS PSG
Type of Delivery (Tailgate or Inside Delivery)
  • Make payment only for services rendered
  • Notify contractor and OGS PSG
Defective or Non-Complying Products, Poor Quality, etc.
  • Notify contractor and OGS PSG
Other Problems Discovered Upon Inspection
  • Notify OGS PSG immediately
Late Delivery
  • Contact supplier
  • Notify OGS PSG if satisfactory response is not received (see Section VII)


Note: an agency can withhold payment for products that are damaged or that do not comply with contract requirements until such time that the concerns are resolved.

Note: Claims with carriers require prompt contractor notification. Delays in notification compromise the State's effort to obtain repair or replacement for damaged and/or missing items.

For FOB destination orders, satisfactory delivery is the responsibility of the contractor. Delivery disputes on FOB destination orders should be channeled through the contractor. Check against NIGP procedures.



In selected circumstances, OGS PSG generates and sends a "Notice Of Contract Delivery" (Proc 113) to the receiving agency. This form allows the receiving agency to certify that delivery has been made and provides an opportunity to comment on the quality of the product/service delivered, the performance of the vendor and whether assistance from OGS PSG is required.

In addition, if the receiving agency desires the assistance of OGS PSG to address a contract deviation, the receiving agency should contact the Purchasing Officer administering the contract under which the product/service is being acquired.


Receiving Agency Inspection Guidelines