Quality control is critical for any business, whether their product is computer hardware or cakes. Product inspection protects customers from low-quality products. It also protects businesses from losing customers and adding legal issues.

It is cheaper to maintain production inspection standards than to make mistakes. According to The American Society for Quality, the costs of poor quality (COPQ) average between 10-40% of your revenue. Some COPQ can cost your entire company.

There are three types of inspection in product management: pre-production, in-line and final. Keep reading for our guide to production inspections.

Pre-Production Inspection

Pre-production inspection is quality control on raw materials before assembly begins. It safeguards your products from low-quality materials. It also catches materials that don’t match your exact specifications.

Significant quality control issues usually stem from material defects. If you use an outside supplier, this product inspection step is crucial.

Japanese company Takata Corporation sold faulty airbags in the early 2000s. These airbags killed 28 people and injured over 400. Takata’s failure shows lapses in all stages of product inspection standards.

The airbag recall cost Takata billions and they filed for bankruptcy. It also cost car companies Ford, Honda, and Toyota millions. Recall costs to Ford were over $600 million.

Defective inflators manufactured by a plant in Mexico caused the recall. If these inflators had proper product inspection standards by the receiving company, it wouldn’t have cost lives and billions.

Product In-Line Inspection

Product in-line inspection (not pipe inline inspections) performs product inspection during assembly stages. This process saves time and money by identifying issues before the final product.

In-line inspections verify the pre-production inspection. Defects or faulty specifications may not appear until during production inspection.

A higher in-line product inspection standard on Takata’s airbags would have caught faulty inverters. This would have prevented Takata from selling faulty airbags to automakers.

Final Inspection

Final inspection performs quality control on assembled products. This stage is important for companies that import products.

The final product inspection also verifies in-line inspections. Assembly issues may not appear until the working product is tested.

Takata’s faulty inverters were sabotaging airbag deployment. A final product inspection standard could have discovered this issue before selling faulty airbags.

Product Inspection Solutions for Your Business

Most companies rely on internal production inspections. Relying on final inspection for imports can be risky.

The global supply chain manufactures most parts and products. Takata’s faulty inverters were manufactured in Mexico. Their faulty airbags were assembled in Japan. The resulting faulty cars were sold around the world.

You could save money outsourcing production inspections to qualified companies. Building and maintaining your own quality control departments overseas can be costly. Many companies will specialize in certain countries or areas.

For example, China accounts for over ¼ of global manufacturing. China product inspection services outsourced to a China-based company may cost less than building your own. These companies can perform quality inspection and testing for you.

Better Business Practices

Production inspection is crucial, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Ensuring a high product inspection standard will save you money, time, and legal issues. It can even save your company.

Learn more ways to improve your business practices in our business section.