Published 27 Jun 2022
What is Visual Inspection?
Visual inspection is a common quality control method of inspection that uses only the naked eye to spot defects or issues. Trained safety and quality control specialists across different industries perform visual inspections to help standardize best practices as well as reinforce compliance with safety regulations and industry standards.
A visual inspection report form is completed by quality assurance inspectors to document pass/fail decisions on visually inspected products based on set defect criteria. This customizable visual inspection report form can be used as a mobile-ready checklist app to easily access reference images and identify visual defects. Quality inspectors should use this checklist to effectively:
- Indicate product ID and location
- Capture photo evidence of products and/or defects
- Determine pass/fail decisions based on a reference image
- Identify visual defects based on defect criteria
- Complete the visual inspection with a digital signature
This article features:
- How to Effectively Perform a Visual Inspection
- What is a Visual Inspection Software?
- Benefits of Using Software for Visual Inspections
- Visual Inspections with iAuditor
- Raise Your Visual Inspection Game
- Free visual inspection checklists you can download, customize, and use
According to the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT), many defects are surface-breaking and can be detected by careful direct visual inspection. In some cases, quality assurance inspectors come up with inconsistent visual inspection results because they either do not completely understand defect specifications or have no references to compare the product with.
As one of the easiest and most cost-effective quality assurance methods, visual inspection procedures vary per industry. Generally, here are 5 simple steps to effectively perform visual inspections:
Step #1 Clearly define defect criteria
Key stakeholders such as quality engineers, production personnel, and customers should reach a consensus on defect specifications. Clearly defined defect criteria enable inspectors to accurately make pass/fail decisions for products. Document the defects with example photographs and technical descriptions for daily visual inspections on the shop floor.
Step #2 Standardize inspection performance
Quality managers should regularly assess the performance of the current inspection process to confirm the consistency of inspectors’ pass/fail decisions. Determine how well the inspectors’ decisions match the established defect criteria to standardize visual inspection performance in the organization. Occasionally, inspectors misinterpret the standard when they lack visual representations of the defects during visual inspections.
Step #3 Analyze visual defects
When inspectors’ decisions on the same products contradict across visual inspections, address the issue by analyzing the most significant visual defects. Evaluate the cost of quality by frequency and defect count to identify which defect type has the greatest impact on daily operations. Quality managers should also consider the cost, time to repair, and importance to the customer to create and implement effective action plans.
Step #4 Communicate improvement measures
After solving issues for specific visual defects, reassess the inspection performance to affirm overall agreement between the inspectors’ decisions and set standards. Objectively convey the results to all safety and quality personnel for accountability and ownership of continuous improvement efforts.
Step #5 Use mobile-ready checklists
Inspectors and quality managers should use mobile-ready visual inspection checklists to increase overall throughput of quality products by more than 200%.
When inspectors can access the defect criteria anytime, anywhere and capture photo evidence of visual defects, accuracy of pass/fail decisions can be radically improved. When quality managers gain visibility through real-time data and actionable insights, wiser business decisions can be made and operational excellence can be achieved.
A visual inspection software is a digital tool that allows safety and quality assurance personnel to perform different visual inspections. Perform visual inspections on facilities, products, or structures and enjoy the convenience of performing inspections on a tablet or mobile device.
iAuditor by SafetyCulture, a powerful inspection platform trusted by industry leaders, can help easily identify visual defects, standardize visual inspection performance, and increase overall throughput of quality products. With iAuditor, you can:
- Create mobile-ready visual inspection checklists
- Take photos and add annotations in the app
- Automatically generate and share visual inspection reports to members of the organization. Preview sample report.
- Gain real-time data with iAuditor Analytics
- Use for free with small teams. Unlimited reports and storage for premium accounts. Compare pricing plans.
Visual inspection is one of the oldest and most basic inspection methods that aids in securing quality assurance. It is done by looking over a piece of equipment and using raw human senses such as vision, hearing, touch, and smell to detect flaws.
However, this method can be inconclusive due to the inconsistency of visual inspection results caused by inspectors’ lack of understanding on defect specifications or unavailability of references to compare the product with. Here are the top 3 benefits of using iAuditor to streamline visual inspection procedures:
1. Take a snapshot of day-to-day issues
Easily identify visual defects and support your visual inspection with photo evidence. Capture photos within the app and provide notes for a more reliable and detailed visual inspection document.
2. Deliver consistency
Get everyone on the same page with iAuditor. Standardize inspection templates to get a consistent structure of the information you need. Use different types of responses like multiple choices, text answers, checkboxes, and more. Provide instructions and reference photos to remove the guesswork from inspections.
3. Gain better insight on your business
Translate your inspection findings into actionable insights. Get real-time visibility on your productivity, compliance, accuracy, and other data you need to level up.
Make even the most basic method of inspection more efficient with today’s technological advances. With iAuditor as a visual inspection software, raise your inspection and quality control management game, while ensuring adherence to safety regulations and quality standards. Below are a few ways iAuditor can improve visual inspections:
Explicitly define defect criteria
Clearly defining defect criteria helps inspectors give an accurate pass/fail rating on inspected products. Using iAuditor, guide your inspectors on their inspections by providing references for templates used. Enable your team to document defects and support them with photographs and descriptions to enhance accuracy of visual inspection audits and reports.
Standardize your inspections
Standardize the way your inspections look to get the exact information you need. In customizing your inspection forms, you may choose from different types of responses such as multiple choices, text answers, checkboxes, dates, numbers, or even temperature levels. This removes the guesswork from your team’s inspections, making data collection consistent and accurate.
Address issues as they arise
Old methods using pen and paper might have taken your team longer to resolve issues because someone had to manually create and compile all reports. With iAuditor, such processes are minimized if not eliminated completely. Each time a team member completes an inspection, a report is automatically generated and data goes to your analytics dashboard. Data analytics provides you a bird’s eye view of which equipment needs your utmost attention.
Boost team collaboration and communication
Enable your team to perform visual inspections simultaneously using a standardized template. With iAuditor’s visual inspection templates, you can empower your people to immediately come up with resolutions for issues they encounter during the inspection. iAuditor’s collaborative actions feature allows team members to assign actions to people across their organization and set a priority level, provide instructions or a description of the issue, and set a due date to collaboratively resolve issues.
Equip your team with a visual inspection software that is easy to learn and simple to integrate into your existing workflow. Boost your inspection game with iAuditor to make visual inspections seamless, leveraging collected data to help you standardize quality protocols across the organization.
Featured Visual Inspection Checklists
An incoming inspection checklist is used by quality assurance personnel to validate the quality of purchased raw materials based on set acceptance criteria. This incoming inspection checklist has been designed to make it easier for quality inspectors to determine inspection results and required actions based on the identification tagging system. Use this mobile-ready checklist to easily perform the following:
- Specify the purchase order number, material description, and quantity
- Capture and store unlimited photos of defects or tagged materials
- Send real-time notifications for scheduled incoming inspections
- Assign actions for accepted, conditionally accepted, or rejected materials
- Complete the incoming inspection with digital signatures
A Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) checklist is used by quality managers to keep a project on track and within its budget by resolving equipment nonconformities prior to shipment. This FAT checklist has been designed to make it easier for quality managers to perform factory acceptance tests in the manufacturing facility and prevent costly project delays. Use iAuditor to efficiently perform the following:
- Document the complete/incomplete FAT protocol
- Capture photo evidence of the entire FAT procedure, including hazard identification, safety inspection and ergonomic assessment
- Specify the pass/fail acceptance criteria upon the actual FAT
- Assign corrective actions for equipment nonconformities
- Validate the factory acceptance test with digital signatures of the FAT personnel
An ISO container inspection checklist is used to assess the structural integrity of intermodal containers and guarantee the safe transport of cargo. Use this checklist to follow the 7-point technique in performing ISO container inspections, comply with international regulations, and prevent container fires. Safety officers should take advantage of iAuditor to easily perform the following:
- Capture photo evidence of damages, ISO marks, and CSC plate
- Inspect the doors, undercarriage, floor, front wall, roof, left, and right side of the container
- Send real-time notifications for scheduled ISO container inspections and cargo audits
- Assign actions for misdeclared cargo or inconsistent shipping documents
- Complete the ISO container inspection with digital signatures
A racking inspection checklist aims to identify exactly which components of warehouse racks are damaged using the traffic light system. Instantly assign corrective actions to address health and safety risks with the use of this checklist. The template is designed to easily perform the following:
- Specify the location of the damaged racking
- Measure the damage and risk level based on the traffic light system
- Assign actions with annotated photos and additional notes
- Provide recommendations for future inspections
- Validate the inspection with digital signatures