How to boost morale of Inspection Department



In a world of do more with less, I'm confronted with the tasking of keeping my inspectors morale up. After sitting down as a team, their big complaint is they don't feel like they ever make progress as the list continues to grow and people insist their parts should take priority. So they are left with inspecting things out of order and never making a dent in whats needed. I know that we work hard, I know that we churn out parts.

How do you show/share your departments wins? What metrics are you using to measure your inspection department by?

I have a few metrics I track, however, it doesn't seem to boost confidence to our customers or my people.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

Your phrase "In a world of do more with less" highlighted the problem.

I am not sure how you can make people feel better about being overextended. But that is just a symptom. I have questions:

Can any of these inspections be given over to production, saving your team for critical inspections?
Can additional internal persons be trained for the simpler tasks?
Are there any non-technical/administrative tasks that could be given over to another person?
Is this a temporary bottleneck or is production outpacing your team's ability to fulfill their tasks in an ongoing basis?

I am not sure what a metric will do for you, besides highlight for top management how behind you are. But that could be a start, as the standards all expect management to adequately resource their organization and its activities. This is why, I have found that even the otherwise ridiculous-looking metric "Number of ___ accurately performed over number of ___ scheduled" can actually be a worthwhile metric, as it is speaking to resources, or perhaps planning of schedules or cross training.


Involved In Discussions
Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

Do you have any ability to change the methods that you inspect/accept parts/products. For example, are you able perform variable sampling rather than attribute sampling. This may enable you to inspect less parts but also provide more rich and insightful data and analysis about the parts you are inspecting. Can you add value on the capability and distribution of the products? If you can give good insight on the quality of the products, you can also potentially better influence the appropriate level of inspections being performed to better allocate and focus your limited quality resources on the greatest risks.



Quality Manager
Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

I'll follow up on their questions as well. Are you all running into hiccups with in process inspections, inspections at the end of the run, and/or both? Are they feeling bogged down by daily/shift First Part Inspections? Are you all using an AQL sample level? Do you ever let production do any of the higher volume checks or do you have Designated Inspectors that aren't in QA? Knowing some of this could help learn where you're coming from and make it easier to troubleshoot.


Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

My opinion - many "requests" just aren't necessary. We get asked for data and measurements far too often to check a box. And it is a bit of a trap - usually the request SOUNDS like a reasonable thing to do. The data would be nice to have.

But then, you carefully gather the data and it isn't used to make a decision. That is the waste of over processing.

Many times, someone on the floor is root causing and instead of thinking, they just say "measure everything, and we will sift the data looking for an answer." And they don't have to do the measuring ...

It sounds like you have measurements you HAVE to do - part of your processes. And then there are fires - people bringing you the emergencies. Without hesitation, I would say only 20% of those fires are REALLY adding value.

If it were me, I would very specifically allot time to the fires. Let's say your staff is going to spend 60% of the time on the regularly scheduled things they are responsible for and 40% of the time on the fires. (You'd need to do a study to find out YOUR percentages). Well, do your 60% of the work and the 40% fire fighting means some of the "emergencies" are going to sit, or even get turned away.

If you are tracking your time carefully and can justify the 60%, you are (should be) covered. You HAVE to do that stuff by procedure. If management doesn't like it, then they need to change the procedure. The "misses" of the 40% that don't get done ... that's a staffing problem.

But morale? You step in the line of fire and shield your staff and you'll get a morale boost. They'll do anything for you if they see you doing this. That's what a leader does ....

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
According to your profile, you work in an organization that produces household chemical products. Is the inspection activities you are referring to, tests of such chemicals?

Big Jim

Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

May I suggest that you obtain a copy of "The Goal" by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and learn about production bottlenecks and how to manage them. Read it, then pass it on to those above you.

There is risk here, as it can be difficult to manage up, but if they catch on they will learn how your bottleneck is hurting their bottom line.

Even if your the only one that benefits from reading it, you will be better off for doing so.


Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

Simple Awards:
Sometimes the simplest awards can have the most meaning. For example, at AT&T Universal Card Services, they have a pad of paper shaped like a globe with "Thank You" written all over it. Anyone in the company can use the pad to send a thank you to anyone else.

Fun Days:
Keep employees fit and boost morale by organizing an inter-office softball league and giving employees time off to cheer on their team. Some companies, such as Texas-based Whataburger, even have their own company Olympics with events related to work activities.

Peer-Initiated Recognition:
Start a program to encourage employees to reward each other. According to Bob Nelson, author of "1001 Ways to Reward Employees," recognition from one's peers has a special significance because the employee knows it is sincere and well-earned.

Anything a bit out of the ordinary can help raise morale by giving employees something different to do. Celebrate events such as Chinese New Year with chopstick competitions and dumpling-making classes. Have employees decorate their area for holidays, such as Halloween, and offer prizes for the best decorations etc


Re: How to boost morale of Inspection Department?

As you stated, we as a company are forced to "do more with less" is a reality. As Jen mentioned above, we have to highlight the benefits to adding another member to our inspection team. In the business case you will have to focus on the Cost of Poor Quality and the affects it has on the customer.

On the flip side, we have two programs to help ease the work load of our inspectors:
1) Supplier Delegation or Dock to Stock (DTS) - This is where you qualify suppliers based on performance (quality) of part supplied and have the supplier do the inspection rather than your team.
2) Certified Operator Program - this is where you certify technicians to inspect and sign off others work. Every machine shop should have a similar program.
***Watch out b/c these programs could improve efficiency so much that you may be forced do a ROF.

What about keeping inspectors focused throughout a normal 8 hour day shift? What has worked for you?
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Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
If you hire well, most people come with good morale and attitudes, and your primary job as a manager, etc. is to not squash or destroy it. If you only do that, you will be ahead of most places. If you provide an environment for it to grow, you will be truly top 5% or higher.

Unfortunately, far too many organizations still adhere to an autocratic, top-down, my-way-or-the-highway, adversarial boss-employee relationship paradigm and seem to be set-up perfectly to systematically destroy rather than support good employee morale and attitudes.

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