Quality control starts at the point of product conception and is carried all the way through to the final design and manufacture of a product. Product defects and failures can be attributed to poorly designed product, a poorly designed manufacturing process and/or a poorly designed quality system. Separate engineering groups within a company are assigned to (1) design and develop products referred to as product design engineers, (2) design and develop the manufacturing processes referred to as industrial-manufacturing-process engineers and (3) design and develop the quality system referred to as quality control or quality assurance engineers. Some companies require their manufacturing and process engineers to function as quality control engineers as well which is usually the practice of smaller companies.
In the world of engineering, good engineers use the engineering sciences to design products. In this endeavor, design problems must be worked out and solved if the engineering science is available. A product must be designed to operate safely and must be designed and manufactured with a reliability that will ensure a long and trouble free life. But whether the science is available or not, performance, durability and safety issues must be solved, and whatever form the design solution takes under these conditions is called "Engineering".
A company that wished to contract out the manufacturing of it products must establish a professional relationship with a contractor and audit the contractor to assure themselves that the contractor has the employees, talent, capability and capacity to produce their products. These contractors must have experience manufacturing similar products. The contractor will be instructed by the customer company on how they wish the product to be manufactured. They will also instruct the contractor on inspection procedures to make sure that a quality system is in place so that the product quality will meet their requirements. If a customer company has no prior relationship with a contractor in a foreign country, a customer company may retain a broker firm that has expertise in establishing relationships with companies in other countries. The broker communicates with and establishes the relationships and bring the customer company and contractor together. The brokers also assist the customer company in establishing the manufacturing and quality control processes.
When products first arrived from the contractor, the customer company will usually inspect 100% of the products to make sure that the product is manufactured correctly, meets appearance criteria and inspect for proper function. As this relationship grows, 100% inspection is reduced to a random sample inspection of products. If the contractor fails to always control the quality of the product, defects can start showing up in products. Defects may be difficult to find with random sampling inspections. If these defects are not discovered, these products will make their way to the consumers. It is not until a consumer files a warranty claim that the customer company learns of the defect. If the number of warranty claims increase, the customer company then goes into crisis mode in an attempt to discover what the contractor has done wrong. If this defect affects the safety of the product, customers may contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission and post this information. The manufacturer may then be required to submit a recall notice to repair or replace the defective product.
Gary E. Kilpatrick and Associates, PA, is a Forensics Engineering Firm dedicated to the application of the art, science and methodology of engineering and the scientific method to answer questions of fact in the jurisprudence system pertaining to personal injury and wrongful death.
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