Quality Records - How long do you keep inspection records and why?

B

Bob_M

#1
How long do you keep inspection records and why?

Just out of curiousity (and I hate filing stuff), how long do you keep your inspection records (in-coming, in-process, final, etc.) and why that long?
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Per our procedures, our standard inspection record retention is 1 year, with optional disposal (basically if/when someone gets around to it).

I don't know WHY we keep them for 1 year, but I'd have to guess that's rather standard for most people, and it will cover you arse :ca: for at least one year.

As far as we know, we don't have any customer requirements that force us to keep them an specific amount of time.
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We have boxes with some in-process inspections that are over 6 years old (mostly torque readings for one of our "major" assemblies for one of customers.
We have in-coming material inspections that may be just as old.
We pretty much keep calibration records for ever, but I don't have a problem with that (yet).
Most of our modern (since '99 and '00) in-process inspections are still onfile, and will be until I take the time to dispose of them.
(Did I mention I hate filing?! ;))
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I'm pondering scanning the records in the future, but then it swaps the time it takes to physically file something with the time it take to scan it and possibly convert to a PDF. I love computers, but I'm not a clerk and we don't have one anymore.
Then how long do you keep the electronic version?
 
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Randy

Super Moderator
#2
Bob, in these days living in a litigious society we need to ask the question "What if?". What could be the outcome of not retaining records? Many times this type of issue really needs to be tossed into the lap of an attorney. I know this doesn't really answer your question, but it does offer up something that many folks seem to not identify.
 
B

Bob_M

#3
Randy said:
Bob, in these days living in a litigious society we need to ask the question "What if?". What could be the outcome of not retaining records? Many times this type of issue really needs to be tossed into the lap of an attorney. I know this doesn't really answer your question, but it does offer up something that many folks seem to not identify.
I agree!

Our in-process inspections which record "torque" have been around longer than most any other type of in-process inspection. I have no problem storing them long term. (They go on semi-trailer axles). I also don't mind keeping material certs and inspections long term.

But I have no desire to keep basic dimensional inspections (which most of ours are) for more than a year. This is our system is setup, I just don't have the desire to throw them away yet.

Other than legal/what if reasons, how do OTHERS determine how long to keep inspection records?
 

CarolX

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#4
We keep our records for 1 year minimum. Why....I dunno...always been that way. And yes, there are many records that have just never been tossed out...LOL.

One area that people do miss are HR records, IF this is where you file your training and competency records. Our procedure requires to maintain those files for 1 year AFTER termination of employment.

CarolX
 
R

Randy Stewart

#5
Ours are Life of active part + 1 year, Model year + 1 year, and some are until authorized melt of the die.
We are required to build parts for service so the active part + 1year, some parts won't be service parts so the model year + 1 year, and some will never be production parts but may be looked at during the next similar prototype so the authorized melt of the die.
 
C

C Emmons

#6
Depends on the type of inspections:

Our equipment (tractors/trailers) we keep on file for as long as the equipment is in our system.

Why? If a driver is involved in an accident, we need to be able to prove it was not due to faulty equipment and required inspections were conducted.

Our delivery receipts also service as inspection documents and those are kept on file for two years.
Why?
Statute of limitations on filing a claim is 9 months, but we keep them for two years as a courtesy to our customers.
 
R

Randy Stewart

#7
This isn't an Inspection Record, but pertains to the same question about retention.
We had a customer lose a fixture that we shipped them 3+ years ago, of course they wanted proof that we had shipped it. Our retention policy is that we maintain records (shippers) for the life of active part + 1 year. The part being checked has been in production for 3 year, the fixture was shipped to the customer after Job One so about 1 year ago the records were purged. Now the problem.

We located the shipper at another plant that does work for our customer, no big deal, however they are blasting us for not retaining the records longer. We were told that it is mandatory for us to keep shipping documents for 11 years for legal purposes! Even accounting is only 7.

Has anyone run into this problem? And are we required to retain these records for 11 years for legal purposes?
 
B

Bob_M

#8
Randy Stewart said:
This isn't an Inspection Record, but pertains to the same question about retention.
We had a customer lose a fixture that we shipped them 3+ years ago, of course they wanted proof that we had shipped it. Our retention policy is that we maintain records (shippers) for the life of active part + 1 year. The part being checked has been in production for 3 year, the fixture was shipped to the customer after Job One so about 1 year ago the records were purged. Now the problem.

We located the shipper at another plant that does work for our customer, no big deal, however they are blasting us for not retaining the records longer. We were told that it is mandatory for us to keep shipping documents for 11 years for legal purposes! Even accounting is only 7.

Has anyone run into this problem? And are we required to retain these records for 11 years for legal purposes?
Where it WRITTEN that you HAVE to keep records for 11 years? Sounds like your customer may keep their records for 11 years, and they are just lashing out. Who want's to keep SHIPPING records for 11 years? That would probably fill an entire warehouse for some companies! Sounds like customer is trying to run YOUR company. You might want/need the big wigs to step in as needed.
 
R

Randy Stewart

#9
I agree Bob, just wanted to make sure before I answer their e-mail in my sweet and polite manner that I reserve for telemarketers!
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#10
"Oficially" we keep inspection records for 3 years, but in reality we have kept them since the company started 9 years ago. But, I don't want to have to go rooting thru really old stuff for an auditor just to prove something as an exercise, so we only say 3 years. Three years is a bit longer than any customer has ever asked us to go back, and 1 year customers balked on, so we settled on 3. But I've had internal guys ask me to go back 3 years or more to find stuff for research purposes, which is a pain. Our records are not too bulky and we have lots of storage, plus it is inlikely we would be involved in any safety type issues. I can see where some companies might want to keep them a long, long time as a CYA thing.
 
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