100% Inspection

In an operational process, 100% inspection is a check with verification of every single physical piece of work whose form is changed. In a functional process, it’s a check with verification on every single element of information manipulated. In its fullest implementation, the inspection is typically performed by separate quality inspectors, in addition to or instead of those performing the work. The goal with 100% inspection is to not violate customer expectations by (hopefully) eliminating the possibility of delivering non specification-compliant products or services. 100% inspections are often driven by select situations and rationale, such as:

  • Regulatory demands
  • Agency contracts requiring it
  • Life-safety drivers accepting no substitute
  • Elite product specifications attainable through no other route
  • Repeated quality problems that have left few options but “containment” in order impose expense thereby gaining management’s attention in implementing sustainable countermeasures

If it seems that 100% inspection could be expensive and ineffective, it is. For one, 100% inspections are rarely 100% effective. Why? Because the people performing the inspections can become distracted, bored or complacent, assume others have caught defects and turn down their vigilance, or simply miss things. Effective alternatives include (as a bare minimum) workers inspecting their own work 100% (no quality inspectors need apply), or better yet, a statistically grounded sampling plan where select inspections reflect the acceptable quality level; this is generally found to be more practical and economical.

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