How to handle this Inspection conflict? Second Shift Inspector?

cubix rube

Involved In Discussions
#1
Our plant is just now beginning a 2nd shift, of very limited production. We expect it to grow over the next several months, but for now, there will be just a supervisor, and 2 or 3 team members, all performing manufacturing jobs. There is likely only 30 minutes or less of required Quality inspection, so rather than place a FT QC inspector there, we will be training one fo the existing team members as a backup, to perform inspection "as needed" on that shift. Our upper mgmt wants this backup person to be the shift supervisor, as opposed to one of the operators. In my mind, it's a bit of a conflict having anybody other than an independent inspector performing QC, but is there anything about having the supervisor perform the checks that makes this arrangement more objectionable than having one of his direct supports do inspection? I'm just curious. Thanks.
 
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PaulJSmith

#2
Re: Backup QC conflict??

Not only is this not a conflict, in some industries (such as aerospace) it's a common practice. Operators inspect their own work and record the findings, then quality comes behind and makes sure the work is done and within spec. There is a sense of pride in operators who are responsible for their own work that you will not find in other arrangements.

Honestly, if you think that having Operations personnel (or supervisors) inspecting their own work is a problem, you probably have a much bigger cultural issue to address than who is inspecting.
 

cubix rube

Involved In Discussions
#3
Re: Backup QC conflict??

That's how I've managed things in much larger companies in the past. QC simply audited and verified the inspection results documented by the operators, but we had both mfg. and QC personnel available at all times, on all shifts. For some reason, in smaller companies, I've always had this issue of "conflict" come up when talking about mfg. personnel performing inspection. I guess the risk is that a job can get set-up, run and completed, including final inspection, ALL on the off shift, without any audit and/or verification by QC, which seems, to me at least, to be a risk.
 

JLyt207

Involved In Discussions
#4
Re: Backup QC conflict??

I understand your concerns. It sounds like your culture developed with the two functions as separate. But I have seen it work with operators being responsible for their own inspection when the culture is right. However, you said one person would be used, "As needed." Are we talking once a shift, once a week or once a month? Training is key. Not just the physical aspects but making sure they grasp the seriousness of OK'ing a job to run. As you make the switch I would trust but verify. You need to feel confident the system is working. Then you can relax a bit. Also, I would make sure that internal audits include the night shift. After all, we often like to say that a goal of the well run QMS is getting rid of the need for a inspection department at all.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Re: How to handle this Inpsection conflict ?

cubix rube,

In such a small team all operators and their supervisor should know the criteria for the acceptability of the processes and their products.

They should all know the quality plan including what verifications are required, how to measure key characteristics, when they are required and what records to keep.

You also need to figure out countermeasures and who to authorize to disposition nonconforming product and to initiate corrective action to stop recurrence of costly nonconformity.

It goes without saying that this team needs to be supported by a process-based management system and leadership that helps them to prevent nonconformity.

John
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#6
Re: How to handle this Inpsection conflict ?

As the others have correctly stated, it is common in some companies to have the operator be the Inspector ? and sometimes the ONLY Inspector who inspects the parts.

If you have the right culture and leadership and the right person/people doing the work and inspection it can work marvelously. If you don?t, it can be a disaster.
 

drgnrider

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
Re: How to handle this Inpsection conflict ?

We have a second shift and no QC on that shift. Our Quality Manual lists specific persons who are allowed to release product for shipment. Each area has their own process on how product is approved and released.

Machine Shop - the operator and shift supervisor verify their work, but a first shift QC person spot checks and sign's off the release of product. Some products require records of dimensions, these records are completed by QC.

Pre-fab - if the parts are within the facility (going to weld or machine shop) the material handler spot-checks and sends to the appropriate staging area.
*For direct ship - a QC person spot-checks and sign's off the release of product.

Welding - at least 80% of these assemblies are some sort of code work, (ASME, Boiler, etc.), requiring weld maps, heat number tracking of all parts, etc., so specific persons in QC are assigned to sign-off.
*For the other non-code items, if floor-space is needed, the supervisor relocates it to the appropriate departments holding area otherwise it sets until first shift arrives.

We do have "HOLD" and "REJECT" tags that are utilized as necessary.
 

thenson

Starting to get Involved
#8
Re: Backup QC conflict??

I understand your concerns. It sounds like your culture developed with the two functions as separate. But I have seen it work with operators being responsible for their own inspection when the culture is right. However, you said one person would be used, "As needed." Are we talking once a shift, once a week or once a month? Training is key. Not just the physical aspects but making sure they grasp the seriousness of OK'ing a job to run. As you make the switch I would trust but verify. You need to feel confident the system is working. Then you can relax a bit. Also, I would make sure that internal audits include the night shift. After all, we often like to say that a goal of the well run QMS is getting rid of the need for a inspection department at all.
As already state, much of what will work depends on your organizational culture. Surely you can't violate your own internal procedures and as things grow and change, these may need updated.

If the upper management want someone other than the operators to do this inspection, and management holds the supervisor responsible, then as long as it is allowed by your procedures and they have been properly trained, then there is no reason this would not work.

If you do implement this, I would make sure you have a mechanism to track the effectiveness of this 2nd shift inspection function. If you start to see rejections, failures or complaints on product that should have been detected by this shift, then you will be able to demonstrate to management that this approach has failed.

Remember the objective of inspection... "to detect and prevent nonconforming product from being shipped or used by subsequent operations"...

If there are reasons such as culture, training or time that does not give you the confidence in this inspection function you desire, then why not just hold all product ran on that shift until release by your normal first shift inspection function. If the product ran on that shift has to be shipped asap, then you could have 2nd shift do the inspection, document the results but also have them retain the samples they pulled and checked. Then you could have your first shift inspection function either audit the documentation or even inspect some of these parts. You may not need to check all of the samples pulled, but just do a random sample from what they already checked. If you are taking actual measurements or readings, I would collect that data on a data sheet or better yet a chart and when you perform your secondary inspection audit, you should see that the re-inspection results match what they were on 2nd shift.

Then, if you see differences in the measurements, you can either address it as a training issue or a measurement systems issue...

Don't over think this and re-state your objectives. If you can meet these objectives and have a method to track the effectiveness of this 2nd shift inspection function, then you should be able to comply with your own internal procedures but also meet your customers requirements.

You may even want to re-think your internal procedures if they are creating non-value added restrictions. I find that many times our procedures or work instructions are several years old or maybe even a decade old and if you re-state what your goal or objective is for this procedure... you may find that your world has changed. Maybe your current customers really don't care about the systems you developed under QS9000 or the systems forced on you by customer X, that is not your biggest customer any more, but consider asking yourself what is my real objective. What is the value of this procedure or what is the value of this inspection or even, "What is the failure modes and the potential effects if I don't do this inspection?"...

Good Luck...
thenson (email me at "[email protected]" if I can help...
 

R. Webb

Involved In Discussions
#9
We have a second shift and in theory they are not to do any set-ups and just run production on jobs that have had 1st piece inspection on the first shift. Of course that never happens - otherwise they would run one job and be done for the night. What we have done is have the Supervisor sign off the router in red ink so that there is a clear recognition that the operation was done on the second shift. When those jobs come into inspection on downstream operations and final the inspectors know to inspect the operations in red with closer scrutiny. This seems to work for us.
 
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