Manufacturing Audit Checklists

Innovate manufacturing quality audits with digital checklists

Published 8 Jul 2022

Quality Audit (QA) Checklists and Their Role in Manufacturing

Quality audit checklists (or quality control checklists) for manufacturing are clear, comprehensive guides that help inspectors effectively perform inspections and ensure that all product requirements are met by the manufacturer. These tools have been crucial in identifying potential errors in manufacturing and prevent financial and production losses.

This article briefly discusses the following:

QC Checklists in Manufacturing: Top 5 Reasons Why They’re Critical

Using checklists for quality control in manufacturing helps both manufacturers and suppliers guarantee quality in finished products before they ultimately reach the sales floor. In addition, the use of these tools also contributes to improving other aspects of the business. In a nutshell, here are the top reasons that make manufacturing quality audit checklists essential:

  1. Identify minor issues immediately.
    With a QC checklist, it is easier to pinpoint errors in manufacturing and resolve them before they turn into major issues. The tool helps the firm avoid re-starting production from scratch.
    In addition, as quality inspectors often come from third-party service providers, comprehensive production audit checklists provide inspectors an easy reference so they can be more familiarized with the manufacturing firm’s processes.
  2. Be more assured with product quality.
    Manufacturing quality assurance tools, such as the manufacturing audit checklist, help standardize processes and assure that every product that comes out of the line passes quality standards. Effective quality audits help the manufacturer assure suppliers a better return on investment as they can be more confident of product quality.
  3. Reduce the level of risk.
    Manufacturing firms have a high-risk environment, may it be on the side of safety or finance. Manufacturing checklists are critical quality control tools that help identify red flags from the onset, effectively reducing the risk of financial impact to the bottom line of the company, and most importantly, to customer satisfaction.
  4. They encourage the smart use of resources. 
    Every move in manufacturing processes needs to be well-calculated to be cost-effective. QC checklists are effective instruments to help this cause, as it helps avoid false starts and ensure the most efficient use of resources and materials.
  5. They serve as a tool that helps build manufacturer-supplier relationships.
    Manufacturing audit checklists encourage collaboration between the manufacturer and supplier as they both have to agree on the checklist items necessary to conduct an effective quality audit. Doing this helps develop accountability between them and avoid costly misunderstandings later on.

Manufacturing Audit Steps

Auditing the quality of manufactured products can be very time-consuming and costly if not done properly. To help you with that, below is a step-by-step guide on how to conduct manufacturing audits:

  1. Add inspection details – This is one of the most important details for the audit. As the document’s foundation, make sure to include the Product ID, Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), serial number, or any other form of specifiers that would help identify the products that were inspected. Indicate the location of the goods in the production line as well.
  2. Inspect the products visually – The second step is the initial method of auditing the manufactured products—visually. Individually check the products for their size, color, weight, and materials to confirm that they look according to the predefined set of requirements and design.
  3. Test if the products are operating properly – In this step, auditors review the products operationally to verify that they are functioning as expected. Some of the things auditors can do are to try, turn on, rotate, move, or adjust the items and observe if they are indeed working as they should be.
  4. Indicate if non-compliant measures are found – If there are any indicators in any of the areas of the checked products that seem to be non-compliant with the set requirements, specify them. This enables manufacturers to correct defects and prevent suffering from financial loss.
  5. Check the product packaging – Inspect the products’ packaging by confirming that they are free from deformities, machine marks, scrapes, or smudges. Also, make sure that they are correctly colored, closed securely, and that the products fit perfectly into the packaging.
  6. Input product defects found – If there are definitive signs of product damages, log them into the manufacturing audit document. Describe the defect in detail and attach a photo or video evidence as reference. If you can, indicate if the particular defect is trivial, minor, or severe. 
  7. Complete the manufacturing audit Using the initial factors as supporting details, decide whether the products inspected were acceptable or unacceptable. This decides the next course of action for the products and establishes standards from the manufacturing phase before putting them out to the market, consumers, or clients.

Strengthen Your Last Line of Defense Against Quality Defects with a Manufacturing Inspection Software

Manufacturing inspection software is a product and manufacturing process inspection tool that helps manage QC (quality control) audits through a web-and-mobile interface. It helps quality control inspectors cross-check products against quality standards, easily pinpoint and address non-conformances, and, ultimately, protect customers from substandard products.

With the iAuditor Manufacturing Inspection Software, you can focus better on solving product quality concerns and equip your quality control team with a tool that strengthens your business’s last line of defense against defects.

5 Challenges the iAuditor Manufacturing Inspection Software Helps Address

A good manufacturing site inspection process is critical to the safety and success of the production line and the quality of products released from it. Manufacturing inspections help ensure that the production line maintains adherence to local and international standards and regulations. This is why it is critical for manufacturing quality control inspectors to have the best set of tools that will help them strengthen their last line of defense against defective products and, ultimately, protect customer interest.

By using the iAuditor Manufacturing Inspection Software, product quality inspectors can make use of intuitive digital manufacturing inspection checklists to improve the efficiency, standardization, and precision of inspections, reporting, and decision-making.

Here are some of the most common challenges that product quality control inspectors encounter and how the iAuditor Manufacturing Inspection Software can help solve them:

Manual Data Entry and Compilation

Traditional pen-and-paper inspections require product quality control inspectors to manually transcribe data and transfer them from inspection templates to printed reports. iAuditor’s Manufacturing Inspection Software provides pre-made digital templates that can easily be customized to suit inspectors’ preferences. Once your manufacturing inspection is complete, your data is automatically saved via cloud technology where you can easily access them from your desktop or mobile device.

Non-standardized Quality Control Inspections

Manufacturing audit checklists are meant to be standardized across the board, however, that is not often the case. There are times that some inspectors do not have the same updated paper checklists as their co-workers have, leading to varying inspection results. This lapse is often attributed to the logistical challenges of having to reprint and distribute checklists to inspectors in different locations, especially if you have hundreds of inspectors on different continents.

This undermines the value of quality control checks as they all need to be uniform to ensure that the product quality standards inspected are also the same. With manufacturing inspection software, it is easier to standardize checklists since digital templates only need to be updated from a single dashboard. Once updated, inspectors will instantly have the updated templates on their own mobile devices. They no longer need to waste time waiting for the updated version of their printed checklists to arrive on their office desks. To add, the tech tool also provides management teams at a glance the track inspection performance across all of their manufacturing sites.

Accountability Issues

Keeping a paper trail makes it challenging for management to verify if product quality control inspectors are following set standards and performing their duties on time. The iAuditor Manufacturing Inspection Software gives you the option to set mandatory fields so that no items are skipped. Assigned inspections and corrective actions can easily be tracked so you know which ones have been completed, were missed, or are overdue. Lastly, require digital signatures at the end of inspections to protect manufacturing audit accountability.

Using Multiple Tools to Conduct Inspections

In some instances, photo evidence conveys information better than written descriptions. For quality inspectors who use a paper template, this means having to bring a camera along for photo documentation and dealing with the hassle of printing them out to manually attach them to final reports. The iAuditor Manufacturing Inspection Software lets inspectors take pictures and annotate them directly on the app, reducing the lag time between inspection and reporting.

Analyzing Data From Numerous Reports

iAuditor’s powerful data analytics interprets the inspection data being saved to the cloud and provides site inspectors with valuable insights, such as frequently failed items, so they can identify the root of problems. Spot trends and get a comprehensive view of your production line’s performance with iAuditor.

iAuditor’s Manufacturing Inspection Software is a powerful web-and-mobile tool that aids inspectors to immediately act on non-compliance issues found during safety and quality inspections in manufacturing sites. Try iAuditor today for free and discover what a powerful technology solution can do for your business.

Mobile Quality Management Software for Manufacturing Industry Leaders

Take control of your manufacturing quality control with this collection of best practice digital manufacturing checklists. Includes templates covering Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), 5S Lean, Gemba Walk, ISO9001, Warehouse Safety, and more. Innovate manufacturing quality audits with iAuditor and have the following advantages:

  • Transform paper-driven quality audits and shift to paperless with digital manufacturing checklists
  • Schedule regular quality audits of manufacturing processes and facilities with a mobile device
  • Capture photos and annotate them for easier navigation
  • Keep track of audit scores across products, processes, and sites.
  • Generate CEO-ready quality audit reports and let iAuditor send them to your key recipients
  • Worry less about missing paperwork as all audits and reports are stored in iAuditor cloud

The iAuditor quality control software for manufacturing is free to download. Get started by browsing this collection of quality audit checklists for manufacturing and customize them according to your factory or plant’s quality assurance program.

Jona Tarlengco - SafetyCulture Staff Writer

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Jona Tarlengco

Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.

Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.