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Final Dock Audit - Dock Audit (inspection) on every part number?


Bryon Simmons

Final Dock Audit

I need some direction in this new requirement. We are a QS-9000 certifed company; we are also a job shop, we produce as many as 75-100 orders a day of different product. Does this requirement mean that we have to do an audit (glorified inspection, IMHO) on every part number, or can we do a random sampling of orders to audit? Even at a self-prescribed frequency of annually, the sheer volume of part numbers would require me to hire an :inspector:, which ios something I have been diligently working to get away from. I do not understand how the B3 can tell us to emphasize defect "prevention: in our systems, (which makessense, obviously), and then require us todoadditional inspection. My process control systems were developed with prevention in mind.....This new requirement is a step backwards, IMHO.

Please enlighten me.




Captain Nice
Staff member
I'll take a stab at this if you'll cite the QS paragraph(s) which you believe requires dock audits. I left my manuals in the class room after I finished today but I'll look it over tomorrow and get back with you with my take on it.


Captain Nice
Staff member
I haven't been thru this section in an actual audit (being new this shouldn't surprise you) nor have I heard any interpretation. Sorry.

My take on this paragraph is they are, in fact, requiring dock audits. But, as with everything else with QS, application is going to be confusing, as in your case. QS is basically (besides being extremely poorly written) written to address high volume producers of things like steering wheels. How many of your products do you ship to the b3?

Part of the NOTE is interesting "Where ... PPM requirements are met, the frequency may be reduced." Reduced from what? What is an 'appropriate' frequency to begin with?

I would not be shy in calling your registrar and asking them their take. You pay them enough that they should have no problem explaining how they interpret this paragraph. I would LOVE to know their answer.

But - then again, don't despair. There will soon be pages upon pages of interpretation very soon, I suspect.....

Sorry I can't help beyond that. It could be a long winter!

Chad Nunnery

I have recently designed (and am currently implementing) a quality system based on the Third Edition. I had an interesting experience concerning this topic with my Registrar because of my company's position on this issue.

We make a compound (bulk molding compound, or BMC) that our customers mold into headlamps for the Big Three. This compound contains styrene which will evaporate quickly if not sealed properly (and thus ruin the product). If a dock audit requires us to open our packaged product before shipping to perform repeat tests, then it will also introduce these deterioration and contamination concerns. We explained these concerns to our registrar and explained that since this requirement really was not intended for our type of product that we needed some flexibility. In fact, this requirement makes absolutely bad business sense for our product.
The registrar attempted to help by stressing the word APPROPRIATE in the requirement. I told him that our experts have determined that the appropriate frequency is "zero." (At least he was good humored)
He finally stated that we could do something that did not involve actually opening the container. He indicated that maybe just checking QC test records, again, before shipping would be adequate. I, personally, believe this requirement is nonsense and a waste of time in our specific application. If you have any other ideas about how we could be compliant and still not open our boxes to check the product I would be very interested.


Captain Nice
Staff member
The problem is that a lot of this stuff is nonsense. They took a general spec (ISO) and tried to mimic it. QS9000 is nothing more than a poorly drafted customer requirement.

OK - the dock audit requirement - Chad hit on it - provide something. It doesn't have to be product inspection, obviously (then again, maybe I should say not so obviously or obviously?

Brian - you're already registered. If you talk with your registrar about this and get an answer from them, please do let us know what the response is. Thanks!


In our case, our operator are doing product controls (4.10.3) and we have final inspections (parts, pakaging and labelling)done by quality techniciens (4.10.4).

After discussion with our Registrar, unfortunately, even if we think it is enough (our PPM demonstrate that), we must also do Final Product Audit (Dock Audit -

Following the discussion, 2 options may be interesting if you have a good control of your products (low PPM and few complaints).

1.You may do Dock Audits inside your Internal Audit program

2. You may do Dock Audits focussed only on your problematic parts or productions (eg. following a complaint) until you get pretty confident. Your Control Plan should be updated in consequence.

Hope this can help.

For what it's worth, I've now consulted with 5 companies who have updated to QS Rev 3. On all occassions we had an interesting response, however our common approach related to a belief that, "A registrar cannot give you an NC unless they find objective evidence". Therefore I think ??? most quality people will agree with me that a final product audit is just an admission of defeat!!! So in all cases our frequnecy for conducting the final product audit was annually. This was documented in the Control Plan and the mechanism for change was when we had any customer returns, then the frequency was increased and then returned to annually after a period of time that was defined by product in the Control Plan.

Having said this all registrars wanted to give us an NC, we simply asked where was there objective evidence, they had none and that was the end of that!!

QS Rev 3 was in part released to integrate some of the requirements from European vehicle manufacturers, which unfortunately involves a lot around inspection.


Dock Audit:
My AIAG control plan states check 3 pcs for control plan requirements. Stamp with dock audit stamp OK ready for Shipping.- Seal.
Most of our product goes in Cardboard boxes & we stamp the inside with our stamp.
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