Is 100% Inspection A realistic Aim?

For anyone producing anything that will then be sold to someone else, customer satisfaction has to be an important part of their business plan. A zero defects policy for everything that is shipped out would guarantee that no customer could be dissatisfied with the quality of your product. However, you are only likely to achieve this goal if you use 100% inspection and check every aspect of every single product before you ship it out.

Human Resources

In less technological times, product would be inspected by human inspectors. They would use tools to measure some attributes of the product but much of their work relied on them using their eyes, training and experience.

If you were a heavy engineering firm only shipping out one large fabrication every month or so, it might be possible to use human inspectors to operate a 100% inspection policy. For those making smaller products in reasonably high quantities, it became apparent that an army of inspectors would be required if everything were to undergo 100% inspection and this would be too expensive and too time consuming. Because of this, batch inspection became the norm and standards were even drawn up to quantify the statistical analysis of given production items. However, is there any cast iron guarantee that if a specified percentage of a batch is free of defects, then the rest of that batch will also have no defects? That is a negative and you are resorting to letting your customers find any defects when they put your product to use.

Technology To The Rescue

One of the many advantages of computers is that they can do many things faster than humans and they never get bored so their attention spans never waiver. This aspect can be put to use in an inspection scenario.

For example a company who specializes in high speed, volume printing might accept contracts from pharmaceutical companies to print the packaging for medical drugs. The FDA has mandated that certain important information must appear on the packaging and there can be severe penalties for deviations. Therefore, it is essential that the printing is totally defect free.

Since there are any number of things that could go wrong in a high volume print run, 100% inspection would seem to be an essential requirement. This can be achieved without an army of super alert human inspectors. Cameras can be set up both to monitor the printing process and alert operators to any problems and cameras can also view each and every item printed. The cameras all send their signals to computers which have been programmed to take certain actions on every shot they receive. For 100% inspection of output, the computer will compare each new printing with the master, origination document or graphics file and has the ability to immediately flag any item that is not totally accurate.

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