Processes and Control

It’s with a nod to Hans Zeyer in Bavaria that I follow recent programs regarding ISO 9001 with an examination of processes and controls. A loyal listener, Hans commented at the website that he was interested in the subject. So, in the interest of customer satisfaction, and after a great week of process-based auditing this Podcast turns out to be not only relevant, but timely as well!

Thanks Hans! To listen to the program, just click on the title below:

Processes and Controls

As always, if you have a subject or special concern you would like me to address, leave a comment here at the site, or E-mail me directly at Northern Pipe Products: paulp@northernpipe.com

2 thoughts on “Processes and Control

  1. Paul,  when specific controls are in place, and end of process inspection has been reduced in response to the controls, are there any special techniques to determine if the proportion of controls to inspection is optimal?  We recently stopped end of line inspection on anything unless it is specifically required.  The goal is to integrate quality further into the processes.  I don’t know if we know what the realistic,optimal process outputs are (I’m it not management),  but there must be a quantifiable way to know how to balance controls with inspection.

  2. There’s always sample testing. Taking a representative sample from time to time is the most obvious way to quantify process controls are working.

    How about FMEA? Did you subject the process to such analysis prior to eliminating your final inspection? Are you using Control Plans? I would hope that whatever you’re manufacturing, the operators are fully engaged in final quality commitment and awareness. They are your “last defense.” We do this at Northern Pipe Products, for example. Our operators are trained, tested (both written tests and performance appraised), and certified as “Quality Specialists.” Their work includes constant appraisal of product quality.

    How do you know that the least amount of inspection is working in everyone’s favor? Ultimately, the answer lies in the customer’s response. Obviously, the lack of customer complaints weighs heavily on continuance, and, especially in the near term, your ears need to be finely tuned to their responses. Are you getting solid customer satisfaction data affirming that reduced inspection has created no negative effects?

    This may sound radical, but did you include your customers in the decision? Perhaps they might welcome this as an indicator that you are doing all you can to keep costs to a minimum. It also might be necessary that they know of this change for any number of reasons, not least of which might be reapproval of your process with the recent omission of unnecessary inspection.

    I hope this helped somewhat! Other than testing, (both verification and validation), I can only offer that time will certainly validate your decision to maximize output through reduced inspection.

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