7 Common Mistakes to Avoid During Quality Inspections

A quality inspection is an assessment of a sample of finished products by an independent 3rd party inspector. These types of inspections are commonly used by buyers in international trade.

It is important for there to be clear communication between those who create products and those who perform quality inspections. This helps prevent mistakes from being made.

1. Not Having an Approval Sample

An approval sample is a good way to ensure that the goods you’re importing meet your specifications. This can help to avoid wasting time and money on low-quality goods. Having an approval sample is especially important when working with overseas manufacturers.

For example, imagine you’re importing promotional t-shirts from China. When you receive your shipment, you notice that the t-shirts don’t meet your quality standards. Since shipping back the t-shirts would be expensive, you’ll need to find another manufacturer to work with.

The other problem is that an inspector might be biased during a quality inspection. This can occur if the inspector is tired or distracted. It can also happen if the inspector has a personal connection to a product or supplier. If this is the case, it’s best to use a third-party inspection company. This way, you’ll have a neutral perspective on the products you’re buying. They’ll also have the experience to know what to look for.

2. Not Having Specific Requirements for the Factory

When you’re working with a third-party inspection service, it’s important to set out the specific requirements that you expect the inspectors to follow. Otherwise, it can be easy for misunderstandings to arise or important test steps to be omitted.

It’s also crucial to clearly communicate the types of defects you want your inspection staff to report. This helps ensure that the inspectors are focusing on the right issues and leads to more reliable inspection reports.

For example, you might want your inspectors to look for minor defects, which are those that don’t affect the quality of the product but do deviate from your specifications or golden sample. You might also want your inspections to include a special test for safety or function.

It’s also important to specify which equipment your inspection team should bring to each factory visit. If the inspectors don’t have the equipment they need, they may miss important issues or make inaccurate measurements.

3. Not Having a Checklist

Quality inspections are a key component of quality control and help to prevent poor-quality products from making it to customers. With the help of ATI, these can also help companies avoid costly repairs, lost production time, marketing efforts to address damaged brand reputation, and health and safety issues for employees and consumers.

In addition, a thorough quality inspection can also help companies improve their design, work processes, documentation, and management systems. This preventive approach saves money, reduces the risk of defective products, and improves customer satisfaction.

Creating a checklist is essential for effective QA inspections. Having a clear list of instructions will eliminate confusion and ensure that all tasks are completed correctly. Checklists should be user-friendly and include action words to encourage people to move forward with their assignments. A good checklist should be reviewed and updated regularly to make sure that it continues to be relevant and helpful.

4. Not Having a Plan of Action

In addition to setting clear quality goals, you must also have a plan for managing problems as they arise. This can include regular reviews of inspection, audit, and lab test reports. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you are catching any issues before they impact your project or customer.

It’s also important to ensure that the inspector has all the equipment they need for the job. Otherwise, they may make mistakes. For example, they might bring the wrong equipment or it may not be properly calibrated. This can lead to inaccurate results.

Inspecting is a tedious job and can cause inspectors to become fatigued. If they are tired, they may make mistakes such as accepting a defect or overlooking a defect. Also, they may start to develop a bias or “flinch” which is an involuntary response that occurs when the brain detects stress. This can lead to incorrect assessments and a lower quality.

5. Not Having the Right Equipment

During quality inspections, inspectors rely on a variety of tools to collect data. Some of the most important ones include a digital weighing scale, a measuring tape, and adhesive tape. These tools must be properly calibrated and stored for the inspection to be accurate.

Moreover, inspectors should also have other necessary equipment such as safety goggles and protective clothing to ensure their safety while conducting the inspection. In addition, it is essential to have a warning sign for potential hazards in the area where an inspector will be working. For example, a warning sign can help prevent an inspector from falling through an opening in a floor or other dangerous location while performing a quality inspection.

Providing your team with the right equipment for their job will help you avoid common mistakes during a quality inspection. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure accurate results and improved product quality. In addition, you can save money on rework and reduce the costs of production.

6. Not Having a Clear Communication Plan

While it’s rare for professional quality inspectors to let major QC issues slip through the net, they can make mistakes. For example, if an inspection has been going on for hours without a break, the inspector might become fatigued and lose concentration. This could result in them missing a critical item or failing to accurately assess the condition of an object.

Other common mistakes include misinterpreting the specifications or checklist. For example, if an inspector is used to checking cheap products and you send him to inspect high-end products that are designed for boutiques, he might miss some of the defects that are important to the buyer.

This is why it’s so important to clearly communicate the specifications and checklist to your inspectors before sending them to the factory. In addition, it’s best to rotate inspection teams and use a cloud-based system for recording work quality issues so that everyone can access the data from anywhere at any time.

7. Not Having a Plan of Action for Reporting Defects

If you don’t have a plan in place for how to handle defects, they can slip through the cracks and have a negative impact on your project. This includes a process for prioritizing defects and determining whether or not they require corrective action.

For example, if you send an inspector who is used to checking products for cheap buyers to monitor a shipment that is going to high-end boutiques, they may miss quality issues because they can’t follow the same quality standards. Or, they might become distracted during the inspection due to a noisy work environment or fatigue.

Also, if you don’t have a process in place for documenting all the details of an inspection, it can be difficult to understand what exactly caused a defect or problem. This makes it harder to address the issue in the future. This is why it’s important to always have clear communication and documentation in place.

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