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The quality of a product depends on many factors: the design of your product, manufacturing capabilities, the robustness of processes, equipment maintenance standards, and adherence to regulations, among others.

But the consistent quality of raw materials is one of the most important. If the raw materials are defective or not as per the requirements, the final outcome will not be as expected.

Defective raw material can lead to losses in the form of:

  • Scrappage and wastage
  • Rework and delays
  • Recalls and rejections

This has far-reaching implications on the overall Cost of Quality (CoQ), brand and reputation, and even sustainability of the business. Therefore, any manufacturing company must put in place a robust set of processes and workflows for inspection management of raw materials.

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Cost of Poor Raw Material Rises Exponentially at Every Stage of Production

Poor quality of raw materials has an impact on the cost of production at every stage.

Stage 1: Before it enters the warehouse
If it is identified before it enters the warehouse, then the manufacturer can save on overheads and labor costs. This also prevents precious resources from being used to produce a defective product.

Stage 2: It enters the warehouse but is not yet used
If the defective materials were to enter the shop floor without being detected at the entry stage, it will lead to nonconformance or deviation in the product. If the nonconformance is caught at this stage and the product is removed, the cost can be up to ten times what it would have been in stage 1.

Stage 3: It is used in production
If the production gets impacted by defective materials, then the cost of quality goes by another factor of 10. CAPA (Corrective and Preventive Action) is initiated at this stage to identify the reason for the defect. The cost also includes expenses incurred from operating machines, labor, and other overheads.

Stage 4: Product is shipped with defective materials
If the defective product escapes detection in stage 3 and finds its way to the customer, the customer will file a complaint. This must be avoided as much as possible. Fix quality issues before it leaves the proverbial four walls of your company!

If the issue is caught at this stage, CoQ goes up exponentially, thanks to efforts involved in root cause analysis, corrective action/preventive measures, manufacturing the product again, etc. This is in addition to the direct costs associated with fixing the problem.

Stage 5: There is a product recall
If there is a recall of the product, then the cost spirals and further causes disrepute to the manufacturer. It may also lead to penalties and litigation. If the safety of the user is affected in any way, then the healthcare and productivity loss for the individual and compensation by the manufacturer will add to the cost. In case of a death, the price is incalculable.

Timely Inspection of Materials to reduce CoQ

Inspection is a regulatory requirement for some industries such as medical devices, life sciences, and manufacturing. But even if it isn’t, having an inspection management system for materials will help manufacturers deliver quality products and improve customer delight. Not only will this reduce the CoQ, but also demonstrate the manufacturer’s commitment to quality. This will help improve brand reputation and provide a competitive advantage.

To avoid nonconformance and deviations, businesses must implement stringent quality control right from the time of receiving the materials. Returning materials that do not meet the quality and quantity requirements will prove more beneficial than letting them flow through the production process.

The key objectives of inspection of materials include:

  • Maintaining the quality of the product
  • Receiving the right quantity of materials
  • Ensuring the suppliers’ efficiency and ability to meet requirements
  • Optimizing resources
  • Ensuring the efficiency of the purchasing team and store staff

The inspection process should encompass the following activities:

  • Materials checking for quality and quantity
  • Classifying them based on SOPs
  • Codification and arranging of materials for easy access

The Process for Material Inspection

Establish clear procedures for inspecting inbound materials to ensure the quality of the raw materials. It should include:

  • Pre-inspection Steps: These should be performed before the actual inspection and include verification and recording of the quantity received including linking it to the purchase order number ensuring whether the material order is complete.
  • Photographs: Capture images and video of the received materials, tag them, and file them with the associated inspection form.
  • Review Project Specifications: The inspectors must familiarize themselves with the specifications of the project to ensure that the materials received comply with it. If not, they must be returned immediately.
  • Inspecting Physical Condition of Material: Random sampling of materials and checking their physical condition is another important step. Establish a set criterion and if any material doesn’t meet it, reject the shipment.
  • Verify Trademark/Certifications: Ensure that the materials are genuine articles by verifying the trademark and appropriate certifications.
  • Store Properly: Once the materials have passed the inspection, assess any special requirements for storage. Appropriately mark or tag them, with the final photo and store them properly.

Automate Inspection Management with ComplianceQuest

Manual management of material inspection can cause delays and introduce human errors. Automating the inspection workflow can speed up the process while improving efficiency.

Some of the key benefits of using ComplianceQuest’s cloud-based Inspection Management System include:

  • Initiating the inspection process in a timely manner
  • Determining the sample size, specifications, and parameters to measure their conformance and the target value
  • Recording the rejection of defective pieces or accepting those that conform

By automating inspection with the CQ Inspection Management Software, manufacturers can:

  • Establish inspection protocol/criteria
  • Create and manage CTQ (Critical To Quality) checklist
  • Manage the inspection queue
  • Facilitate collaboration, change of ownership, uploading pictures from an inspection, and/or uploading a certificate of analysis(CoA)

Any failed inspections will automatically generate the required nonconformance notification, alert the relevant MRB personnel, and will await disposition as necessary.

The CQ Inspection Management Solution also integrates with the enterprise systems such as ERP/MES systems. As a result, in case of any material failing inspection, the relevant team will receive an alert so that it is not used for production.

CQ Inspection Management Software also helps create the supplier sampling plan and parameters for testing the materials and running periodic inspections depending on the risk level of the supplier. It facilitates standardization, uniformity, and quality control based on standards and specs and automates the rejection of materials that do not match the criteria. This leads to initiating CAPA, root cause analysis, and supplier training or replacement in case of too many deviations.

With ComplianceQuest EQMS, the quality leader can automate an end-to-end QMS workflow across supplier, internal, and customer lifecycles based on inspection findings.

To know more about ComplianceQuest’s Inspection Management Software, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/inspection-management-software/

Request for a demo here: https://www.compliancequest.com/online-demo/

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