Myth of added value of inspection

Whenever I ask during training whether quality inspection creates added value for the client, I get an affirmative answer. Participants argue that, inspection eliminates defective products, so thanks to this customer receives good quality product. Clear evidence of the added value. Perhaps, but only on the assumption that the client expects something other than a good quality product.

Let's do a simple experiment. Instead of setting only one quality controller stand at the production line, let's set five of them. One after another. Let each of them checks every product. Has customer value increased? Probably not. Because the first controller should detect all non-conformities.

Let's analyse, therefore, the other situation. What if the company does not produce any non-compliant products? Can we say that the inspector creates added value? In fact, regardless of whether he will check or not - the result will be the same. We might get perhaps even worse outcome, because he could by mistake reject good product. Better to let him sit behind a desk and drink coffee.

Thus we see that in a company that does not produce non-compliant products, quality inspector does not create added value. Let us go further. Since there is no non-conformities, why do we need the controller, his stand and his tools? They only increase the costs of the organization, increase the price to the customer. Control reduces the value for the customer!

It is therefore necessary to the change the look on inspection. Quality inspection is an additional cost, which is borne by the customer only because we can not make a good product first off.

Postscript for those who have already begun lay-off inspectors. Not so fast. Inspection is an effect, not a cause. Liquidation of inspection of will not improve quality. This improvement in quality will lead to the elimination of control.

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Photo: Uitleg & tekst, Flickr.com, CC