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The scope of work

In Chapter 1: An introduction to quality gave you an introduction into some facets of quality. We spoke of quality control, quality assurance and operator based quality. From now on we go into a lot more detail in order that you might be able to make an informed career choice, or if you are already working in quality this will allow you to better understand and apply the principles which you are about to learn. Either way this content will benefit you greatly.

Let’s start by giving you an overview of what a QC inspector does in a typical factory. Let’s start with the Quality Inspector’s job description in a factory which assembles fridges. In other words the fridge assembly lines. This will give you an excellent overview of what the job entails. From there we can break this down into its element so that you can gain a better understanding of what this job is all about.

Scope of work.

To carry out inspection of all cases in assembly lines, in line with control documentation, at each quality gateway and at final handover to the warehouse or despatch.

Discussion of scope of work.

Quality Control Inspectors (QC Inspectors) examine products and materials for defects or deviations from the product specifications. There you have that word again, Deviation, which as we have said a few times before you will learn about later in this course. QC Inspectors are the people who double check the work of others. Yes, that’s what they do they are the policemen and policewomen of production.

Not only do they check the work of others, they also verify that the workers have indeed carried out inspections in line with the Operator based Quality system.

So, depending on the industry they work in, they ensure that the company’s products are fit for Purpose. While we understand that workers on the floor are responsible and accountable for the quality of what they produce, the QC inspector is the second line of defence. He ensures that your fridge works, that your toaster toasts, that the tinned food you buy will not make you sick and tastes pretty delicious. The QC Inspector monitors quality standards for nearly all manufactured products, including foods, textiles, clothing, fridges you name it they check it.

Let’s quickly deal with the words Responsible and Accountable, because it is very important that all employees understand what this means in the context of quality.

Responsible.

This means that the worker producing the products is responsible for the good or bad quality of the product he or she produces. The products must meet the minimum or maximum standard allowing it to be fit for purpose. In other words the customer gets what he pays for.

The minimum requirement is that the worker understands the quality standards required, has undergone training which equips him to do the job to the required standard and now is responsible for the standard being achieved.

Accountable.

Only once the worker is suitably equipped and trained may he be held accountable. This means that he is responsible for ensuring that the product he produces is up to quality standard. If he fails to achieve the standards he will certainly face investigation and, possibly, face disciplinary action. He has to pay for his mistakes, hence the term, “being held accountable.” The figure below gives you a simple idea of the scope of work required in a typical plant. If you consider that each production step in each department requires Operator based and QC inspections, then you realize how complex Quality Inspections become.

Figure: Condensed production departments in a fridge manufacturing plant