Have you considered the potential consequences of using low quality building materials to construct the world’s mammoth skyscrapers and bridges? In order for a building to stand the test of time, especially in harsh environments, quality building materials are crucial. And whether you’re an architect laying a foundation of a manufacturer making industrial or consumer products, the quality of materials is key. That’s why the subject of this article is Incoming Quality Control, where you’ll learn about the importance of verifying the quality of materials.
What is Incoming Quality Control?
Incoming Quality Control is often abbreviated as IQC or referred to as Incoming Material Quality Control. Incoming Quality Control is the process of controlling quality of the materials and parts for manufacturing a product before production begins. Just like the need for using quality materials for building a house, quality of materials is critical in making a quality product.
Once you place an order and pay the deposit, your supplier will start purchasing the materials for making your product from their selected vendors. In most cases, the factory will only use those suppliers with which they’ve worked before. But even if this is the case, don’t ever assume the quality of the materials will be up to your quality standards. This is especially true for those factories that purchase parts that require a lot of assembly. Even long-term suppliers often try to test the minimum level of quality that can be accepted.
Why is Incoming Quality Control Important?
There are many proper procedures within the manufacturing world and one of the most important is controlling the quality of materials and product components.
Imagine your product is a cell phone and your supplier doesn’t have an Incoming Quality Control procedure in place. If you’re lucky, the finished goods may only have minor aesthetic issues like small scratches on the screen. If you’re less fortunate, you may have a major Integrated Circuit (IC) issue that can lead to your phone not turning on at all. A problem like this that affects only one or two units of your order may not be so bad. But materials and components are usually purchased in a high enough volume to cover your order, so all or most of your order could be affected by the use of inferior parts or materials. Correcting an issue like the use of inferior materials is rarely cheap and almost always time consuming when done after production has already started.
How Can You Carry Out Incoming Quality Control?
You now know the importance that using quality materials can have on the finished product. So how can you carry out Incoming Quality Control to verify the quality of materials and parts used in production?
- Lab Testing – Composition testing for product materials is often essential for products like jewelry or rubber tires, where composition can influence value, performance or safety of the product. You can be sure about materials by sending a sample to a professional third-party lab for testing.
- Pre-production Inspection – By inspecting materials before production begins, you can catch issues early and have the factory correct them. An early inspection may even uncover issues related to equipment of the manufacturing processes themselves.
- Verifying the CDF – Products that are made up of many different parts often have an associated Component Data Form (CDF). A CDF shows a list of components and their approved manufactures. By verifying a product’s CDF, you can be ensure that your supplier hasn’t substituted inferior parts to make your product.
You could say that a product is only as good as the sum of its parts. Manufacturing a quality product starts with using quality materials and components. And quality issues early on are generally reflected, and even amplified, in the finished product. That’s why it’s vital to catch any quality issues in parts and materials before production starts.
Incoming Quality Control can help you verify the quality of those materials and components of your product with:
- Lab testing
- Pre-production inspection; and
- Verifying the CDF
The next time you’re considering working with a supplier that claims they make top quality products, ask them to provide records documenting the incoming material quality inspections. If they can’t provide them, you may want to consider carefully before placing an order.