Quality Control does not get near enough attention as it should with smaller companies and inventors as it does with larger companies.
Larger companies make it their primary concern to ensure that quality control is in place while, on the other hand, smaller companies focus more on sales, marketing and distribution. Smaller companies are typically more concerned about making money, which leads to ignoring the importance of quality control over their product. When the focus is placed on sales rather than quality, customers may receive defective parts, which results in loss of money and even reputation.
As usual, it comes down to cost. Larger companies can readily afford to spend the money on added quality control efforts; however, extensive expenditures on quality control does not have to be the case. When you select the correct supplier, discuss your understanding, plans, and requirements of quality control before you place your orders. This conversation will then allow you to have a better bargaining power to throw in some quality control processes for free. Your supplier may even manufacture the jigs used to check parts at their cost.
Before you select your supplier, be sure to look at and consider your product. Pinpoint and document any areas of concern so that you can then discuss these areas with your potential supplier. Together with the supplier, you will have a better understanding of quality control to prevent defects from slipping through the system.
I have a part that has four holes, all of which mate to another part. Four bolts are inserted into the two parts and are then fastened together with nuts. I know that the key to a successful product is to ensure that the customer can actually mate the two parts together, which includes making sure that the bolts can be inserted into both pieces. To check this, I need to make certain that the holes are in the correct position. I ask the manufacturer to make a checking jig that has four pins the same size of the bolts, positioned in the correct dimensions. Once the manufactured part is placed on the jib, the pins are inserted into the four holes and the part passes the check. If the part does not allow the pins to be inserted as designed, the part is considered a reject.
The best way to monitor and keep track of the parts you have checked is through the management side of the quality control process. Design and implement a control document with scheduled checks conducted by the operator. Be sure that the batch number, time, date and signature of the operator are documented as these are all crucial bits of information to note. Obviously, you will also want to make note if the part passed or failed.
All parts that are checked need to be kept to one side with a tag that relates to the recorded data information on the document. From this information, you can then determine the percentage of rejects to better evaluate and decide if the manufacturing process needs to be improved.
This is an in-depth example of how a part can be checked and how the information obtained from the check is vital to document. It is your job to request and highlight these checks but it is your supplier’s job to implement and perform these checks to ensure quality.