Over the years, we have provided feedback to many clients on their product specification sheets and their inspection checklists.
Rather than a step-by-step guideline, the most useful is usually to provide them with a few real examples for different types of products.
3 examples of inspection checklists
Last year, when personal protective equipment was severely lacking in many countries, we released some of our templates on our commercial website.
I believe they are good starting points to understand what typically goes into one of these documents, how they are structured, and what level of detail is necessary.
- Example for soft goods (3-ply face masks)
- Example for hard goods (protective goggles)
- Example for electronic products (thermal camera)
How to organize a QC inspection checklist
First, you have to think of the best way to guide an inspector through the job. For consumer goods, it generally involves:
- Picking cartons and checking those export boxes (as well as pallets etc.)
- Checking inner packing (be it carton boxes, polybags…), if any
- Checking the products and their unit packing
Then, at each stage, you need to think, what to check?
- Were specific requirements given to the supplier? Go through those requirements that are really important.
- Any safety or regulatory considerations? Definitely cover them.
- Are aesthetics important? Define what to look at and what common issues are to be counted as defects.
- Any function test, endurance tests, or any similar?
Once you know what needs to be checked, the most important questions are:
- How to check this criterion, and what will consider a pass or a fail?
- How many samples should I check for this point? (Some checkpoints take a long time and/or destroy samples, so smaller sampling sizes may make sense.)
- What measuring/testing equipment will be necessary? Will the inspector bring it, or will the factory have to provide it?
A good checklist is central to managing quality
Managing quality is a bit like coaching a professional sports team. A big part of the job is about repeating the same thing over and over, to get the basics right.
If you buy a product from a supplier located thousands of miles away and rooted in a different culture, you really need to focus on the basics:
- Document your requirements
- Make your requirements s specific and testable, so that they are ready to be used as an inspection checklist
- Ensure your supplier, and especially the people who really count (their purchaser, their manufacturing staff, their quality staff), is aware of your requirements and commits to hitting them
- Inspect products based on your checklist, and request rework/reproduction if needed
More reading on this topic
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