For companies who produce a high volume of products or manage a complex supply chain, it may be unrealistic to think that an inspection of every single item should take place. In some cases, excessive handling by inspectors can induce further product defects. That is where skip lot inspections come in. When used appropriately, skip lot inspections can save valuable time and resources during the manufacturing process while maintaining a high level of quality.
Skip lot inspections sample only a selected lot and “skip” others. To help lower costs, skip lot processing and sampling can be completed at the part/operation level to reduce the number of required inspections. This is best used when the quality of a supplier’s product has been previously proven to be exceptional.
Benefits of skip lot inspections include:
- Inspection cost savings
- Reduction in material handling
- Improved supplier relationships
- Reduced overall cost of quality
Once consecutive lots have been successfully inspected, inspections can become random, thus implementing a skip lot sampling plan. The skip lot sampling plan defines the parameters necessary for acceptance. These sampling parameters could include the number of required passes, lot size, acceptance number, quality allowance, and number of lots to be inspected in case of failure. It is the responsibility of the inspector to ensure that the material received arrives as specified in the purchase order and is evaluated for any damage to avoid potential problems later in the production process.
If during the skip lot inspection process a defect is found, the decision to inspect additional lots or return to full inspection would likely be made. It should be noted that skip lot inspections require consistent monitoring to ensure supplier performance remains at an acceptable level.
Skip lot inspections are widely acceptable for high performing, low-risk suppliers and are a great way to optimize resources and control costs. Most leading quality management solutions include functionality to manage skip lot inspections, create custom sampling plans and automatically track sampling requirements.
Contact TIP Technologies to learn how its TIPQA Quality Management Solution can help your company implement successful skip lot inspections within your quality process or schedule a demo of our quality software at your convenience.