Pre-production inspection (“initial production inspection”)
To decrease quality risks, the inputs can be inspected prior to production. Some samples can be taken randomly and checked visually (or sent to a laboratory for tests).
An experienced inspector make sure of two things:
- All technical files are correctly Has the factory understood the technical files?
- Has the development team clearly communicated the requirements to the manufacturing team?
Generally speaking, pre-production inspections are adapted to customized and complex products.
During production inspection (“in-line” or “in-process” inspection)
In case products are defective, the following problems might arise:
- The factory has to rework which mean loss of time during production.
- If the products cannot be repaired, the factory should re-order components, and re-produce which means long delays, and a financial loss for the factory.
- The supplier might refuse to repair or re-produce, particularly if the previously-agreed specifications are ambiguous.
Typically, in an in-line inspection, the first products that got out of the line are inspected for conformity. If issues are raised at this stage, the factory can immediately take some corrective actions and avoid delays.
Also, based on the production start date and the number of products already finished, the vendor can have a fair idea about the shipment schedule.
Final random inspection (a.k.a. “pre-shipment inspection”)
It takes place once all the products are finished and ready for shipment.
The conformity of the products is checked against a list of criteria defined by the buyer customer (quantity, safety, aspect, packing, etc.).
The term generally refers to the activity of checking products, whereas “audit” applies to analyzing manufacturing processes and organizations. The inspector usually follows a pre-established checklist that is based on the product specifications.