Missing Hardware in Accessory Kits


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We put together installation and accessory kits in house which are then shipped out to the end customer with a main unit. The kits are made of multiple items and once in a while, we get feedback form the customers, that items are missing from kits when then results in the installation not proceeding (frustrating to both us and the end customer as you can imagine !)

The current process is that we have an A4 sheet which lists all part numbers of the hardware, the quantity as well as a picture of the items for the kits. Once picked, the technician will then sign the sheet which is then inspected and countersigned by a second technician.

This works to some degree but is not fool proof as, due to time and resource constraints, the technician will sign and countersign the sheet ( I know he shouldn't !) and even if he did not, I don't believe its best use of someone elses time to check and countersign what should already be right.

Any suggestions or feedback on how to improve this process would be very much appreciated with the primary aim being not shipping any kits to the end customer with missing parts.


Forum Moderator
This is a common problem. The best solution is to mistake-proof the entire part selection process using an approach that verifies that each individual part has been selected. See this example. Note: I am not affiliated with the manufacturer in any way.

A less effective approach is to verify that the total weight is correct. This last approach is less effective because you could miss one component and not detect it because you have an extra component that makes up the weight. This would require two different errors on the same cycle, so it would be less frequent than the missing part scenario.


First of all, I share your sympathies. We do intermittent/erratic package assembly in a job shop environment. No one likes to settle on this but the number one most important factor I've found is the makeup of the people doing it. We have a guy who is immaculate without any type of complicated system. Is he a speed demon? No, but he will do things correctly each and every time. We have also used the checklists but they are pretty much worthless on their own. Recently, we found a stash of pre-completed checklists someone had squirreled away. This was after some dust up about our customer not getting completed units.

One suggestion, if you have the means, is a shadow board. We have a sheet metal laser we can use but one could stencil the parts needed onto a board. The assembly would first fill this board up and then package. Once again, you can see that it can be bypassed without serious use. It might need some supervision. And once again, we are back to the type of person doing this. I've even had long talks with people who didn't follow protocol and it has little effect unless you have the 'right' mentality. Maybe born not made?
Weighing items will not catch small blunders and here we go, so what does the non-meticulous do then? You're back to the same thing as checklists.
The link to the laser system looks good but that looks suitable for only permanent operations.


Super Moderator
This works to some degree but is not fool proof as, due to time and resource constraints...

(emphasis added)

Might there be a deeper problem? If sufficient time and/or resources were available, might that help? (Not knowing your business, I don't know if that's feasible but your statement did catch my eye.)

Have you asked the folks packing if they have any possible solutions?


Involved In Discussions
Thanks for the feedback and suggestion to date all of which are valid. Just wondering how effective some Kanban foam would be ////with apertures cut out to reflect the geometry of the part. The bottom layer of the foam in a bright colour so it would stand out if the aperture wasn't filled with a part ?


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[Miner] is correct, this is a common problem. I've worked that post before - shipping are the only people who get less advance notice to do their jobs than the final inspection people. Usually stuff is getting boxed as the truck is pulling in.

Yes, get the packing personnel input. I'm going to assume that the kit varies between shipments and you cannot pre-package this stuff - it needs to be customized to the order. If you could pre-package that would simplify things.

How expensive are the kit items? Can you prepackage a set of everything and provide instructions to the customer regarding which to use, and which to discard? This just shifts the burden to somebody else, I know ...

This doesn't sound like your case, but I've seen where the common items reported missing were consumables the customer would like to have more of. Such negative thinking, I know.

If the large items that ship require specific hardware packages, why not attach the hardware package to the large item in stock? Then it's just pull and ship the large items.
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