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 that moves through processes.
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 eliminate the delivery of 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 and safety drivers
- 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
Human Error and Autonomation
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. This is why automated (digital, automated, electronic, robotic) checking is used when and where possible.
But, it’s not always possible so effective alternatives include:
- Workers inspecting their own work 100%. This should always happen anyway. 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. And finally;
- Autonomation – which is the integration of human and automated evaluation of process effectiveness. Also known as Jidoka.
Besides preventing defects from escaping the other objective of any quality process is to prevent defects from occurring in the first place.
Blog post about Jidoka: Relearning Jidoka from a Robot Vacuum Cleaner
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