Inspection and Testing


This is the text of an article published by Peter Griffin


Does it comply with the specification ?


Checking that the goods/ services received are those ordered, and that the delivery has occurred in the correct timescale. A "reject" will always be produced if the raw material is incorrect, and it cannot be produced at all if the raw material has not arrived.

The extent of receiving inspection would normally differ, depending on the criticality of the supplied material. The amount of inspection should be compatible with the risk or inconvenience if the item is later found to be faulty. A consumable item may be checked only for correct identity, correct quantity and any signs of damage. It would be unwise to perform detailed inspection on an item which, if found to be faulty, could be replaced within 1 hour. Conversely, detailed inspection is always performed on major components, as, if they are faulty, the rectification could be expensive and time-consuming.

A petrol car will not perform on diesel. We visually check the pump label
before we fill the tank.
If we purchase a car, we would normally spend time in checking it thoroughly, and test driving it, to ensure that it was fully serviceable.

It should also be appreciated that the worst possible time to identify an item as a reject is when it is handed over to the final customer. If the product (or its components) can be checked at earlier stages, it is time well spent.

Receiving inspection should be documented to confirm that it has taken place and that the material is deemed fit for use in the next stage of the process. This may often be by a completing goods received note, or marking the supplier's delivery note. The delivery should also be checked against the purchase order to ensure that it is complete.

If 100 items are delivered, they may appear correct if the Delivery Note also
states 100. Only by checking the Purchase Order can we identify that 1000 were expected.

Should the inspection identify the delivery as reject, the items should be segregated, labelled or identified to avoid them being used in error.


As items are produced within the company's process they generally pass through various stages. At these stages, or during a stage, items may be checked to ensure that they remain acceptable. If items travel through all stages, and are only subject to inspection at the end, we may add considerable value to a product which was always going to become a reject. The objective is to identify rejects prior to adding any further value.

The company must establish effective stages of inspection, define the type of inspection to be performed, and clarify the acceptance/ rejection criteria.

In a similar manner to receiving inspection, the in-process inspections should be documented, with faulty items being identified and segregated.


Once again, the principle of final inspection is similar to receiving and in-process inspections,.. i.e. to identify good products from faulty products, and to record the results to confirm the acceptance/ rejection decision.

Editor's Notes

Peter Griffin is managing consultant of P Griffin & Associates (PGA); one of the leading quality management consultancies operating in Europe and the USA.

P Griffin & Associates have assisted 260 companies (ranging from 3 employees to multi-national corporations) to achieve improvements in quality and ISO9000 Registration.

While the majority of companies fail to achieve ISO9000 certification at the first attempt, 98% of PGA's quality assurance clients have achieved first-time success.

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Last Updated November 19, 1995
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