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QA Inspection Checklists

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Published August 31st, 2020

What is a QA Inspection?

A quality assurance inspection (or QA inspection) refers to the formal assessment of the quality of a finished product or a rendered service. Its primary purpose is to verify if the product or service meets set internal or external quality standards. QA inspections may be performed by in-house quality assurance inspectors, or by third party contractors.

QA Inspection Checklist: 3 Principles to Follow in Creating an Effective Template

“Quality is everyone’s responsibility,” claimed the renowned engineer, professor, and management consultant W. Edwards Deming. Quality assurance, however, is a continuous process. A process that becomes harder to complete when the complexities of large-scale production and servicing are introduced. In order to stay true to a company’s promise of quality, something as simple as an effective QA inspection checklist can be the X factor.

Below are the principles QA inspection checklists must follow in order to become effective:

It must consider input from different stakeholders
Creating a product or rendering a service is a step-by-step process. Often, each step is handled by a dedicated department specializing in that section. For this reason, acquiring input from the different experts that are actually involved in the process is important since it informs your QA inspection checklist with data and insights founded on solid bases.

It must be uniform for all sites and branches
A good QA inspection checklist informed by the expertise and insights from relevant stakeholders is only as good as its effective implementation. To keep quality output consistent throughout the entire organization, quality assurance officers must ensure that the same QA inspection checklist is being used by all sites and branches. This minimizes product quality variation between manufacturing sites and locations.

It must be updated regularly and whenever necessary
The processes and standards of operations evolve due to numerous factors over time. Since a QA inspection checklist serves as one of the final checkpoints before a product or service is deemed fit for delivery, organizations must ensure that the standards enforced by their QA inspection checklist is consistent with their current quality standards.

QA Inspection: The Pros and Cons of Internal vs. External QA Practices

Budgets, preferences, and laws all influence a company’s decision to favor one type of QA practice over the other. Some companies even choose to employ a hybrid of internal and external QA practices to achieve and maintain compliance with quality standards. Regardless of your QA method of choice, each has its own pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Internal QA Inspections

ProsCons
No need to hire external consultants and auditors so the company saves money. The data collected may be biased and may be used to cover up employee negligence and other malicious activities.
Since actual employees of the company are performing the audit, they are sure to have good context and proper understanding as to what quality looks like for the business.Management may end up becoming too lenient when it comes to enforcing recommended changes since there is no external pressure to do so.
The internal audit department can verify the accuracy of inspection reports faster since data is available in-house.Internal QA inspectors may become more and more complacent over time as they start treating the practice like a chore. 

Pros and Cons of External QA Inspections

ProsCons
Third-party quality inspectors bring additional experience and knowledge built from conduction quality inspections for several different companiesHiring a third-party quality inspector to conduct QA audits can be expensive.
Third-party quality inspectors can provide an unbiased and objective assessment report; something that may be an issue when with in-house quality inspectors.While the perspective of a third-party auditor may be valued due to its perceived objectivity, their QA inspection may end up becoming ineffective if they lack the specialized knowledge required to understand and properly assess a specific product/service.
Having a third-party inspector conduct audits allows workers to focus on their regular day-to-day tasks. The queries and demands of external auditors may require employees to work extra hours and accomplish additional tasks which contributes to workplace stress.

Streamlining Your QA Inspection Process With the Help of a Mobile App

Successful businesses, regardless of their product or service, value quality. Valuing quality means investing in the right resources in order to consistently deliver at the highest level. Using iAuditor by SafetyCulture as a versatile mobile inspection app, businesses can achieve and maintain quality in their products and services by taking advantage of the following features:

  • Easily create and customize your own QA inspection checklists with iAuditor’s simple drag-and-drop template builder. Additionally, you can download pre-made general templates from our public library, or convert your existing QA inspection checklist into our digital format. 
  • Pick and choose response types including multiple choice, check box, yes/no, and long and short text answers among others to make sure you get the data you need and filter out the rest. 
  • Capture and include high-quality photo evidence mid-inspection and annotate them to easily communicate your findings. This adds clarity to your reports to ensure that issues are identified, understood, and resolved ASAP. 
  • Set and trigger automatic assignments once certain conditions are met. You can also assign standalone corrective actions with priority levels so issues are triaged and resolved in order of urgency.
  • No need to manually compile data to create a report post-inspection. Automatically generate professional reports after completing your inspection so you can share the information to relevant stakeholders in real-time; improving visibility across your organization.
  • Have quality inspectors validate inspection reports via digital sign-offs to improve and streamline accountability. 

Author

Juhlian Pimping

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Juhlian Pimping has been writing about safety and quality topics for SafetyCulture since 2018. Before writing for SafetyCulture full-time, Juhlian worked in customer service and wrote for an Australian RTO.