5 types of inspection in quality control play an important role in ensuring the highest level of product quality for any organization. Organizations use different approaches to inspect and test the quality of their products and services.
Becasue they always want to ensure that their customer doesn’t receive damaged products or services. That’s why as a quality manager or engineer you need to learn more about the inspection procedures.
Quality control is like a backbone for the manufacturing or service process, and with the help of different types of inspection, it keeps the process flowing smoothly without defects or bottlenecks.
In this article, initially, I am going to discuss the fundamental concepts of quality control and quality inspection. After that, I will discuss in detail the 5 types of inspection techniques that form the backbone of quality control practices.
So, are you ready to master these inspection techniques in quality control? Then let’s get started…
What is Quality Control?
Inspection is one of the parts of the quality control system used in any organization. So, before understanding the 5 types of inspection in quality control, first understand what quality control is Right. Okay, let’s say you are baking cookies.
Quality control means you are making sure that each cookie you bake is not just good in taste but also in a better shape, texture, and quality that you are aiming for. QC is all about making sure that the end results you are producing meet high standards.
In the context of business, quality control is a set of procedures and techniques used in manufacturing as well as in service industries to ensure that end products or services meet the quality standards and customer expectations.
Its primary goal is to identify and correct defects in the products or services before these products and services are delivered to the customers. It also reduces the deviations in the product or service from the established quality criteria.
You know whether it is manufacturing, service, or healthcare industry, QC is essential in all types of industries where product or service quality directly impacts customer satisfaction, safety, and compliance regulations.
key aspect of Quality control:
Quality control is directly connected to customer satisfaction, meeting or exceeding customer expectations is the ultimate purpose of why organizations execute quality control practices.
Because when any organization satisfies customers with high-quality products/services they build trust and loyalty with their customers. (Check out – EALSS Academy operational excellence training platform)
Implementing effective quality control practices can help reduce the costs associated with defects or errors. QC helps in identifying the issues/defects early on in the production or service process. This helps organizations avoid expensive rework, repair, or customer return complaints.
For product or service quality checks, QC uses different inspection and testing methods depending on the nature of products or services. This helps in identifying any defects, inconsistencies, or variations from the established quality standards.
During Quality control when defects or errors are found in the products or services, the people involved in the QC execution (like QC inspector) take immediate action to figure out the root causes of the issues. They use different tools for the root causes analysis.
Once the root causes of defects or errors in the products/services are identified, necessary corrective actions are taken to address the defects/error-related problems. Identifying issues and taking action to eliminate them is one of the important steps of QC.
Another important aspect of QC is the documentation for future reference. Documentation means maintaining detailed records of quality inspection, quality check test results, and corrective actions taken. These records are useful for future references or quality improvement initiatives.
Quality control is an ongoing process in any organization so whatever data or insights are gathered from different quality control activities, an organization uses that to make continuous improvements in the products, services, and complex processes.
Why Quality Inspection is Important?
Quality inspection is a crucial element of Quality control and quality assurance processes in all types of industries. It is all about examining and assessing products or services to check whether they meet specified criteria or standards.
Inspection is performed at different stages of production or service process to identify any defects or issues in the final output. Its main purpose is to sort out defective items or services and prevent them from reaching out to customers.
It actually helps in testing and understanding how customers interact with products or services and this understanding helps organizations in addressing quality concerns effectively.
The quality inspection process simply compares the product or service specifications to the end results of the inspection performed. This helps the organization deliver consistent quality to the end customers.
Organizations use the data collected during different inspections to identify product or service defects and take corrective actions to eliminate those defects and make continuous improvements in the product or service.
- In all industries like healthcare, food, automotive, manufacturing, and service, quality inspection plays an important role in ensuring that products or services are safe for the customers and protect customers from any harm.
- All world-class industries are subject to regulations and standards that require specific quality levels. QI helps ensure compliance with these regulations and standards. It helps in reducing the risk of legal issues and penalties.
- QI helps organizations deliver high-quality products or services to customers. Because when the customer gets quality products or services they feel satisfied and become a loyal customer to the organization. That QI increases customer satisfaction.
- Different types of quality inspection provide valuable feedback on the product or service delivery process. This feedback can be used to drive improvement in the products or service delivery processes by identifying and addressing the root causes of problems.
- Quality inspection is also done in the initial stages of the products or service delivery process, this early detection of defects or issues in the process helps reduce the costs associated with rework, repair, scrap, and warranty costs.
5 Types of Inspection in Quality Control
Now you understand the basic concept of quality control and the importance of quality inspection in any organization to maintain a high level of product or service quality. It’s time to get into the depth of QC i.e. the inspection types.
Quality inspection is performed at different stages of the product or service delivery process so let’s understand the 5 important types of inspection in quality control one by one. (Check out – Master 5 Core Tools of Quality)
1. Pre-Production Inspection (PPI):
This is one of the most common types of quality inspection, it is like taking a complete health checkup before going out for a challenging journey you simply want to ensure everything is okay in your body.
Similarly, PPI is a warm-up before the big production game starts because it occurs before mass production or the actual manufacturing process begins.
Its primary purpose is to identify and address potential issues, defects, or discrepancies in the production setup by thoroughly examining raw materials, components, and the initial production stages or processes.
- Inspect the quality and quantity of raw materials and components, also verify that they meet the specified standards and are free from defects.
- Check the supplier’s credentials, reputation, and past performance also verify that the supplier has required certifications and licenses.
- Check the condition and maintenance of production machinery, also check that all the essential components are calibrated and properly functioning.
- Check for the availability of safety equipment for workers and all the safety protocols are in place and followed by everyone.
- Verify that all the necessary documents like product specifications, set quality standards, and production plans are available and up to date.
- By conducting PPI, you identify problems like faulty material or components, and process inefficiencies before they negatively affect the final product.
- PPI helps you foresee bottlenecks, resource shortages, or any compliance issues that could affect the production timeline or result in costly rework.
- It ensures that the standards and specifications set for your product are understood and met by everyone involved in the production or manufacturing process.
- PPI helps in identifying and rectifying issues before production begins and that automatically reduces the likelihood of costly repair, scrap, and product recalls. This saves a lot of money in the long run.
- PPI can also help in developing a better relationship with suppliers. It helps suppliers understand the organization’s expectations clearly and then well-informed suppliers deliver high-quality materials and components as per contract.
- PPI helps ensure that the organization’s processes align with set regulatory and compliance standards. This saves organizations from legal issues and ensures that the product or service they are providing must be safe and marketable.
2. First Article Inspection (FAI):
Let’s say you are building a new house and before you start construction, you want to make sure that the house layout is flawless. Similarly, FAI does the same for the production process. It is like an initial check-up before a product goes into full-scale production.
It ensures that the first article (initial product sample) of a new product or modified one meets all the specified requirements, regulations, and standards. This includes checking design drawings, blueprints, specifications, and any relevant regulations or standards.
FAI makes sure that everything is in order before the actual production starts. This is one of the key types of inspection that needs to be conducted before the final production starts.
This measure, test, and examine the first unit or a representative sample of the product line to ensure it matches the design specification.
- Verify that the engineering drawings and specifications provided are the latest and accurate.
- Check that the material used for the product matches the specified material requirements.
- Verify the critical dimensions, tolerances, and geometric features of the product match the engineering drawing design documents.
- Verify that the suppliers properly follow the requested process and material specifications.
- Note down the technical information about the final manufactured products in the initial stage.
- By inspecting the first article, organizations can easily identify and address potential issues in the process like defective material, design errors, tools or equipment problems, etc. This identification reduces the risk of rework/repair in the future.
- FAI ensures that the initial production run of new or modified products meets all specified design requirements. By doing this organization detects and corrects any errors in the products and reduces the chance of producing defective products.
- FAI also validates the production process by verifying the production methods and equipment used in the process are capable of consistently producing parts or products that meet the specified requirements.
- It saves a lot of organizations time and money by identifying and rectifying issues at the initial stage of production becasue this is much more cost effective than addressing such issues later in the process or during customer complaints.
- During FAI organizations collect a lot of valuable data and insights about the respective production process. By analyzing that data organizations can identify common patterns or issues and areas for improvement in the product design, and production process.
3. During Production Inspection (DPI):
The 3rd one of the most important types of inspection is DPI. It takes place when production is ongoing and products are in the midst of their transformation from raw material to the final product, typically at the predetermined checkpoints or stages in the process.
This inspection is conducted to monitor and assess the quality of products at various stages of the production process to ensure that products meet predefined quality standards and specifications and to detect defects or issues early on in the production cycle.
During this QC inspector visually examines products for defects or irregularities. Precision instruments are also used to measure critical dimensions of products to ensure they meet specified requirements.
For this significant sample of products (from the set of some finished products) is inspected to represent the entire production batch. On that sample of products, performance or functional testing is also done in case required.
- Verify that the production process is following approved procedures.
- Verify that the correct raw materials and components are being used.
- Check for proper storage and handling of materials also inspect materials for defects or damage.
- Verify that the production equipment and machinery are in good working condition.
- Inspect semi-finished products for scratches, dents, or irregularities.
- Check for correct packaging and labeling including product information and safety warning.
- Inspect by conducting safety and reliability tests.
- DPI identifies and addresses defects during the production process completed 20 to 25% and this is more cost-effective than dealing with the defects after the production process is completed. It simply prevents rework, scrap issues, and repair work.
- It detects defects early which means there will be fewer interruptions and delays in the production process. This can lead to shorter lead times and faster delivery to customers.
- DPI monitors the production process closely to ensure that products meet quality standards and specifications. This automatically results in high-quality product delivery to the customer and the customer gets satisfied with your products.
- DPI allows for early detection of defects and non-conformities during the production process and this early detection prevents the accumulation of defects and reduces the chance of producing a large batch of defective products.
4. Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSI):
Pre-shipment inspection is like the final exam before your products graduate to the global/domestic Market. It is one of the important types of inspection that takes place just before the products are packed and ready for shipment.
This is also called a final random inspection becasue this is conducted on finished products when at least 80% of the order has been packed.
Most of the organization prefers the random sampling method here for inspection in which random samples are taken from the order. Those random samples of products provide you with an accurate view of the complete product samples.
And then these random samples of products are inspected for defects against the relevant standards and criteria. It is simply like giving products a final random check-up before they are ready for shipment.
- Test the functionality of manufactured products and ensure that they meet performance standards.
- Verify the quality of finished products by examining their appearance and checking for any visible defects, damage, or irregularities.
- Inspect the packaging for proper labeling and marking, and also check for proper packing material to prevent any damage during transportation.
- Check for counts of the number of units or products produced to verify that it match the quantity specified in the purchase order contract.
- PSI reduces the risk of receiving defective or non-compliant products. This ultimately reduces the chance of product recalls, customer complaints, and potential legal issues, which can damage an organization’s reputation.
- It ensures that high-quality products are delivered to the customer. When the customer gets what they expect, they feel satisfied and become loyal to the organization, which results in repeat business in the long run.
- Like other types of inspection, PSI ensures that the products meet the required quality standards, specifications, and regulatory compliance before shipment. This helps in preventing defective products from reaching the market/customers.
- PSI ensures proper packaging of products, verifies adherence to function and safety, and completes documentation of package details.
- Conducting PSI provides peace of mind to both customers and organizations. Customers can be confident about the product they are receiving and organizations can be assured that they are meeting their customer’s requirements.
5. Container Loading Inspection (CLI):
This is the final type of inspection in which the QC inspector supervises the loading and unloading of the products to deliver them safely to the final destination without any potential damage.
QC Inspector checks containers, evaluates the conditions of the container, and verifies all the product information, their quantities, and final packaging. The purpose of this inspection is that your products are loaded and unloaded correctly.
Even if you failed to identify any defective products during the above 4 types of insection, this CLI is your final chance to stop any defective products from being shipped and sold.
CLI simply saves the organization’s reputation and helps in building loyalty amongst the customers by providing them with high-quality products safely and within time.
- Verify the proper sealing of the container to prevent unauthorized access and make sure that the container is securely locked.
- Ensure that the loading of final products follows the approved loading plan and check for proper placement of items in the container as per weight and size guidelines.
- Supervise the loading process to ensure it follows safety and handling procedures and check loading is done efficiently without overloading issues.
- Check the packaging for any signs of damage or improper sealing and ensure appropriate labeling and marking on packages.
- CLI ensures that the final products are loaded into the containers properly by following the prescribed methods and standards and also reduces the risk of damage and makes sure that products reach the destination in the proper condition.
- It reduces the risk of cross-contamination between different products by making sure that loading containers are clean and properly sealed.
- It holds suppliers accountable for the quality of their products and loading processes. This automatically encourages suppliers to maintain high-quality standards during the shipment process.
- CLI ensures that efficient loading processes are followed so that containers are fully utilized and this helps organization in cost saving by minimizing the number of loading containers needed for shipment.
- It helps identify potential risks (like improper packaging, and labeling) early in the shipping process, allowing organizations to take corrective actions or make informed decisions regarding the shipment.
- It saves a significant amount of organization money in the long run by preventing product damage, rejections, and expensive returns. Also prevents defective products from being shipped to the customer.
The 5 types of inspection we discussed are paramount to achieving excellence in product and process quality. Each of these inspection types has its own purpose and application but ultimately all help the organization foster a culture of continuous quality improvement.
So, incorporate these 5 types of inspection in quality control at your organization and you can easily enhance your product quality, reduce defects, cut costs, and in the end boost customer satisfaction.
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