How to Conduct Effective Quality Inspections on a Budget

Let’s say you want your inspector to perform a thorough functional test on 200 samples. This will take a third-party QC company at least one man-day to complete.

Detecting and correcting quality issues in production costs 10x less than finding them after they reach your customers. It is therefore critical that you inspect every shipment on a consistent basis.

Conduct a Pre-Inspection

A pre-inspection of incoming materials is a crucial first step in ensuring that the quality of your products is consistent. Whether it’s an automotive manufacturer inspecting the parts that are going into their vehicles or a factory examining a shipment of materials that will be used by another company in the supply chain, material inspections are a great way to catch quality issues before they get out of hand. According to the Jesse Garant Metrology Center, aerospace manufacturers alone save $1,000 for every $1 they invest in their inspection protocols.

A thorough pre-inspection will help you avoid the costly mistake of relying on walkthrough inspections and other less reliable methods to assess quality. For instance, a quick walkthrough of a home can be an important first step in preparing for a buyer’s inspection, but it’s no substitute for a professional evaluation of the property conducted by a licensed and insured inspector.

Pre-inspections can also serve as a critical reminder to you and your employees that the quality of your product is your number one priority. It’s easy for a quality-focused company to slip into the trap of focusing too much on quantity over quality, especially in low-cost countries where labor costs are cheaper. The result is that the quality of your products starts to deteriorate without you noticing until it manifests itself in a rash of customer complaints or even a recall.

If you’re planning to sell your house, a pre-inspection can uncover issues that might derail the process or make buyers feel misled. In the worst-case scenario, you might discover a major problem that could cause the sale to fall through entirely. Alternatively, you might find minor flaws that allow you to negotiate with a buyer or figure the repairs into the listing price.

When you’re performing a pre-inspection, be sure to provide access for the inspector and remove clutter in areas where it’s needed. You should also prepare the area by making sure all the utilities are turned on and that the inspector can easily reach all the necessary areas.

Conduct a Post-Inspection

Keeping a consistent product quality is vital for any business that manufactures products. Effective inspections are one of the best ways to ensure that customers receive the highest quality product that is a reflection of your brand. Inspections can be conducted at various stages throughout the production process including: first article inspections to check the quality of raw materials; in-process inspections during production to spot issues before approving mass production; and post-production inspections to verify that the final products meet your standards.

During an inspection, it is important to communicate and provide feedback to your inspectors so they know how well they are doing their job and can improve their performance. It also helps to set clear communication guidelines that are followed consistently, which can be easily accomplished by using Construction Quality Management software that allows your inspectors to share inspection details with you in real-time from the field. This gives you immediate information, so there are never any surprises at the end of a project and ensures that you have control over the process.

If you are unsure how often you should be conducting inspections, consider looking at the average number of findings discovered during past inspections (this is available in ASSESSMENTrak dashboards for Perillon users). If issues tend to turn up frequently, you may want to increase your inspection frequency. Similarly, if inspections are rarely finding any issues, you can decrease your frequency.

Effective inspections are not only a way to maintain the quality of your products, but they can also help you reduce costs by decreasing waste from defective goods or recalls and by improving efficiency with suppliers. It is also essential to have a good supply chain to ensure you can deliver on your promises to customers.

With a thorough inspection schedule and proper checklists, it is possible to conduct effective inspections on a tight budget. You should make sure to work with the appropriate stakeholders to ensure that all of your expectations are met and that all parties understand and follow your guidelines. A solid inspection plan, clear communication, and consistent feedback will help you run effective quality inspections that are cost-efficient and productive.

Perform a Random Inspection

A good product quality inspections company like ATI in China should offer a variety of services, including pre-production inspections, in-production inspections, and random inspections. These services are essential to ensuring that your products meet the necessary standards for your particular business. Some companies will charge extra for these additional services, which can put a strain on your budget. Be sure to choose a company that offers these essential services at a reasonable price.

One way to reduce your costs for quality inspections is to reduce the number of inspections performed at a given time. However, it’s important to remember that any reduction in inspection frequency should be carefully calculated and based on historical data. Otherwise, you risk allowing a quality problem to linger without being addressed.

For example, let’s say you inspect a shipment of raw materials at the supplier factory and discover that they are below your required AQL limit. By catching this issue before the material gets to your warehouse, you can save yourself from costly returns and other supply chain issues. This also avoids the time and expense of processing bad incoming materials into your finished goods.

As a result, it is advisable to perform random inspections at least once every few months. These inspections should include a full set of tests that are relevant to the type of material you’re ordering. This includes tests that evaluate device accuracy, electrical performance, and more. During these inspections, you should review your test results and determine if the supplier needs to improve its quality processes.

While it may be tempting to cut costs by reducing your quality inspection frequency, the risk of losing control of your product’s quality can be high. This is because you risk allowing your quality control to deteriorate over time, leading to poor customer satisfaction and even product recalls.

To prevent this from happening, you should establish and communicate clear quality standards to all employees to keep up the desired level of quality. In addition to this, you should provide training to help your employees develop the skills needed for consistent and accurate inspections.

Perform a PPI

A PPI is a standard sampling inspection of a production batch or work-in-process to check for quality issues before the batch is packaged and shipped out to customers. This inspection ensures mass-produced products meet quality requirements before they leave the facility and avoids costly product recalls or damages to brand reputation due to shipping defective goods.

Developing an effective inspection plan is the key to performing successful PPIs. Look at your project construction schedule to find the best time to inspect each phase of the job and create a sensible inspection plan that accounts for pay points for subcontractors, intermediate milestones, or areas where you know you need to verify work vs. specifications (e.g., forming and reinforcing pad, concrete pour, setting boiler).

Once you’ve determined when to conduct an inspection, develop a checklist that covers all the essentials for each type of inspection. This will help your inspectors know exactly what they’re looking for during an inspection, which helps eliminate errors and inconsistencies.

It’s also important to provide your inspectors with a simple, mobile-friendly way to record and submit inspection findings. Web-based inspection software allows you to upload photos, video and audio directly from an inspector’s mobile device for simplified analysis and reporting. This eliminates the need for paper forms that can be easily crumpled, lost or forgotten. It also gives inspectors the freedom to capture information on-site and immediately report observations, without having to wait for the office to open.

Another way to improve inspection outcomes is by ensuring that follow-through on corrective actions is carried out. If an issue is identified during an inspection, it’s vital that the appropriate personnel are notified to resolve it before production continues. This helps minimize production delays and keeps the project on schedule.

Achieving effective quality inspections on a tight budget is possible, but it requires a strong partnership between management and quality teams. By partnering with a reputable inspection service provider and investing in the right technology, your company can deliver the quality your customers expect. And a successful quality inspection system will lead to increased productivity and profitability.