We live in a world of instant gratification and all the technology around us is designed to make our lives more efficient, allowing us to hopefully work smarter rather than harder. So why should your business be any different? More specifically, the manufacturing and production arenas are my focus for this discussion.
With the increasing popularity and necessity of having to meet standards for ISO, 5s and Six Sigma, your inspection plan or lack of one should be a focus.

Let’s see if this sounds familiar.

Company A has an employee doing quality control that’s been there a long time and “knows” everything about the vendors and parts being received. They’ve been dealing with the same vendors for years and just accept the fact that a certain number of defective products will be received. There may be some basic inspection in the form of a visual check or accepting the vendors’ quality reports as a receiving quality check. This, in turn, can provide issues with your final product. Having a true inspection plan in place that accounts for the checking of all parts, components, and assemblies is done through several means. You have a production type inspection, a first article inspection, and spot checks. One (or all three of these) in conjunction with your Quality Plan allows for fewer defective parts, less scrap, and improved production and shipping times.

A typical inspection plan might call for first article inspections on all new parts before they are accepted. From that point, a sample of 10-20% of the parts would be inspected and accompanied by reports to document the results. The plan is not limited to just the type of inspection but also includes the types of tools being used to perform the inspections. Manual calculations and hand tools allow for these types of checks but can limit your overall efficiency. Stationary CMM’s allow for improved efficiency but still have limits with regards to who can operate them, as well as what and where items can be inspected. A portable CMM often provides the most flexibility to the company and the inspection plan allows more to be done faster.
Bottom line is that if you do not have an inspection plan in place, it is very hard to control the quality of the parts and products you build or receive. How else do you plan to hold your vendors’ accountable? Implementing a plan enables you to meet the quality standards set internally and those of your customers also. Even if you have a plan, you can work on improving the process. Think of being able to check 100% of parts that are received or made-as opposed to 20%. How much do you think that would decrease your errors in manufacturing, time in rework, and even money from scrap?

Implementing a plan takes some time on the front end, but the time and money that it saves on the back-end is well worth it. With so many solutions available to provide more accurate and efficient checks of parts and components, it only makes sense to implement or revamp your inspection process and receive that instant gratification that your product is the best it can be.

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