To understand our quality assurance program and apply it to our daily work processes so that there are no more than four nonconformances in a 12 month period.
- End Item Visual Examination Form
- Drip Torch
- 8" Dial Caliper
- Tape Measure / Ruler
What is a quality program?
Our quality assurance program provides us with how to do things at KCR, or the policies and processes we perform, in order to meet our quality standards and to exceed our customer's expectations.
Why is a quality program important?
A quality assurance program is important because we need to ensure that we are making products that meet our customer's standards. A customer who is satisfied with a quality product is more likely to continue buying products from us in the future. Quality products are safe products — any defective product that we make could result in unintended consequences and loss of life.
Following a quality assurance program reduces the number of defects, which costs time and money for both KCR and our customers. For example, an outlet screen missing from a single drip torch check valve could result in the entire lot being rejected, which could cost upwards of $60,000. An expense this great would result in the loss of jobs and future sales for the company.
CHECKPOINT: How might employees integrate quality into their everyday tasks? Locate the Quality Assurance Manual and Quality Management Team Meeting Records.
Quality Assurance Process
Everyone is responsible for quality at KCR, from the receipt of materials to the delivery of finished products. Quality should be integrated into everything we do.
It is important to ensure that we are using proper quality materials for our customers and that we have all documentation required to substantiate such; we require this of our suppliers just as our customers require this of us. We also need to make sure that the materials we are using are relatively traceable to our finished products through proper documentation.
Materials used in production are purchased from suppliers through the use of a purchase order. Each purchase order is uniquely numbered with the supplier's name, the materials being purchased, and any other material requirements (material type, dimensions, certificate of conformance, etc.). Purchase orders are most often issued by management.
The first step in receiving an item is to print the purchase order for reference and a receiving report, which documents the receipt and inspection of goods.
Materials are then inspected against the supplier's packing slip for identification, count, and damage.
- Did we receive the actual material we ordered?
- Did we receive the right quantity or number of lengths of material?
- Is any of the material damaged?
- Do we have all necessary paperwork as required on the purchase order?
- Do the material certifications match the material received?
You then staple your paperwork together (in order of top to bottom: supplier packing slip, material certifications and other documentation, receiving report, purchase order) and turn it into the office for verification and entry for billing.
|Receiving Report Template||Purchase Order Sample|
|Sample Material Tag||Sample Packing Slip|
Sometimes you will find items that are damaged or do not meet the requirements of our purchase order. Nonconforming items are tagged and/or placed in the disposition area to prevent inadvertent use or further processing. You'll learn more about the disposition of nonconforming items later in this training module.
CHECKPOINT: With the help of your mentor, use the purchase order, material tag, packing slip, and receiving report above to receive the 3/4" aluminum pipe.
All items must be inspected for identification, damage, and in accordance with any customer requirements or technical specifications. This is done throughout the manufacturing process, and often a single component may be checked several times before it is actually shipped to the customer. Even the packaging used to ship an item must be inspected to ensure that adequate protection is provided to the item to prevent damage during delivery.
Many items are inspected in-process, or before they are in their completed state. This is done to inspect quality characteristics that are difficult, if not impossible, to measure by end product inspection. This is also done to prevent any nonconforming components from progressing through the manufacturing process and wasting additional resources. Again, this saves us time, materials, and money and ensures that the customer is receiving a quality product.
A sampling plan is used to determine how many parts should be inspected from a given batch or during a given time frame. Technical specifications may require specific sampling methods, inspection levels, and acceptable quality levels (AQLs). The inspection level determines the sampling group or subgroup, or the number of inspected parts. The AQL determines how many nonconformances are permitted before the entire lot is rejected.
Once you have a sampling plan that tells you how many and/or how often parts should be inspected, you then use an inspection plan to determine which critical dimensions to inspect and what measuring tools and processes to use during inspection. Sampling plans and inspection plans will be provided to you for each inspection point.
CHECKPOINT: Using the End Item Visual Examination Form, determine the number of Drip Torches that must be inspected for a government shipment assuming a lot size of 250. How many samples may be nonconforming before the entire lot is rejected? What about if the lot size was only 150?
Precision Measuring Equipment
Measuring and test equipment should be used whenever possible to inspect items. This increases the accuracy and validity of your inspection.
Certain measuring equipment requires regular calibration to return the devices back to known standards. This status is often marked directly on the device, or you can cross-reference the model or serial number to the master calibration log. It is important to check all devices prior to use for any wear, damage, or outdated calibration status. Report these things to a supervisor and do not use the device until repaired or calibrated back to usable condition.
Precision measuring equipment should be handled with care and stored when not in use to prevent inadvertent damage. Equipment should be placed in a protective case whenever possible.
CHECKPOINT: Using the same End Item Visual Examination Form, determine whether it would be most appropriate to use a tape measure or calipers to measure dimensions A, B, C, D, and L based on the tolerances of the measurements and the equipment. Now inspect those measurements using the selected equipment.
Items which are inspected and identified as being nonconforming to company or customer standards are tagged and/or placed in a designated area to await disposition. These items are dispositioned by the Quality Management Team in one of four ways:
Return to Supplier: If we received material that is not what we ordered or does not meet the requirements specified in our purchase order, we will often send the material back to the supplier to be replaced or refunded. This ensures that we are only using quality materials that meet specifications, but may result in lost time and productivity, which may extend work beyond customer deadlines and reduce the likelihood that they will order from us in the future.
Re-Work to Specification: If the item is salvageable and can be reworked or repaired to meet specifications, then we are still ensuring that we are producing quality products without loss of materials. This may require some additional time, but it is worth it so long as it is more efficient and effective than the return process.
Use As Is: Some items may not be replaceable and cannot be re-worked to meet specifications, but the nature of the nonconformity may be minor and still within acceptable standards. In this case, the item may be set aside as "second quality" and be sold to customers who accept the specific nonconformities. In this scenario, no time or materials are lost, but the quality of our end product may be diminished.
Scrap: The last disposition option is to completely scrap the nonconforming part, which may or may not be recyclable for a fraction of the value. The cost of scrap is significant because it causes lost time, efficiency, and money. One scrapped component actually amounts to three times the value of the completed finished part: the full value of the finished item that can no longer be sold, the cost of replacing the finished item with a new conforming part, and the lost opportunity to produce another item in the time it took to replace that conforming item.
When nonconforming conditions are identified, the corrective action process is followed to document nonconformities, corrective action plans, implementation of plans, and verification that actions corrected the identified nonconformities. Everyone is typically involved in the corrective action process to varying degrees.
- Define the problem. Identify the nonconformity and related requirement.
- Define the scope. Identify if the nonconformity affects a single product or service, or if it affects larger processes or products and services already delivered to customers.
- Containment actions. Identify immediate actions that can be taken to stop the nonconformity from escalating while the corrective action process is followed.
- Find the root cause. Identify the underlying issues that caused the nonconformity.
- Plan a corrective action. Identify what steps are needed to eliminate the root cause.
- Implement the corrective action. Follow through with the correction action plan.
- Follow up to make sure the plan worked. Ensure the nonconformity and root cause has been adequately addressed.
CHECKPOINT: Examine a nonconforming part and identify the problem. Discuss disposition options and the costs of each. Identify possible ways to prevent similar nonconformities in the future.