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Inspection Discomfort a Silent Killer
It’s time to examine the tools and the questions your inspectors are being asked to complete.
Eagle Technology, Inc.
organization does its best to comply with legal and self-directed
inspections. Many of the inspections have been in place for years and
perhaps decades, using paper, EXCEL, or some formal document that has
been passed down from inspector to inspector and these inspections are
diligently executed month after month, or over whatever time period the
inspection is supposed to be done. In manufacturing, there are daily
startup checklists that hang by machines and the operators execute as
they begin their days work.
After working with many organizations
over the past several years, I have developed what I call Inspection
Discomfort. The symptoms of this malady include 1) doing exactly what
the person thinks the inspection is supposed to be, 2) doing exactly
what the check list says to do, and 3) doing the inspection checklist
as it is written! 4) it creates a false sense of accomplishment in the
You ask, “So what’s wrong with that”?
When is the last time you reviewed your
checklists? When is the last time you have actually analyzed why you
are doing the inspection, for who, and how frequently should it be done
and is that adequate?
A recent inspection checklist a company was using called for the inspector to inspect food court vendors. The inspection checklist options were, passed or needs attention. One of the items on the checklist was sprinkler heads. Is the inspector seeing if they exist? I assume if they existed once, you would never have to check again, so why was this on a monthly inspection checklist? The answer was simple, the inspector was checking to see if a) there was at least 18 inches of clearance under the sprinkler head and b) there were no signs of visible corrosion. Now that makes sense!
Another checklist for a shop inspection
allowed for Good and OK as the two options the inspector could use. I
have a hard time determining what the difference in those choices is,
as I suspect the inspector did too. One inspector might think it is
Good, and the next person doing the inspection might think it’s OK. Are
both wrong or are they both right? To complicate matters, one of the
inspection items was Fire Extinguisher. Is it Good or OK?
Wow, I’m confused!
These two examples are the tip of the iceberg! The real question is how much time is your organization wasting on inspections that yield inconsistent and poor data?
With today’s technology, inspections need to be precise and the results of the inspections have to be meaningful. Everyone in the organization who has a stake in the outcome needs to have the information available in a form that is meaningful and actionable. Is your current approach offering this, or are you wasting your time? No one has time to filter through a pile of paper.
If you have a machine start-up
checklist, and one of the inspection points is to add oil if necessary,
what if it is necessary every day, and it gets done. What do you really
need to know from this step? Might you want to know that oil is being
added every day? Should one of the questions in the checklist be Did
you add oil? Then there is the question of when do I want to know, is
it ok if I find this out six months later?
Facility inspections are only as good as the questions being asked on the inspection and the ability to act quickly on defects when found during the inspection. Paper forms lack totally in this area.
Inspections today allow for the instant creation of a work order, integrating the result of the failed inspection with a trackable correction. It allows for immediate visual and textual communication with a contractor to remediate the problem, and just as importantly, immediate notification of the inspection status in a visual display available to anyone concerned. The results over time should also be quantifiable, and searchable. If there is a persistent issue in a certain location, that analysis is based on sound data, not an “I think”.
In answer to your “So What’s wrong with
that? I answer – Everything. It’s time to examine the tools and
the questions your inspectors are being asked to complete. An inspector
cannot walk into an area and know if everyone is trained in biohazard
waste procedures, or Answer a question “what would you do if there was
a chemical spill? (Y N or N/A), yet these are questions I have seen on
inspection check lists.
Maybe it’s time to examine for
Inspection Discomfort in your organization, it’s a disease that many
organizations have and it’s a silent killer of time and money.
Eagle Technology and Raxar provide clients solutions for inspection and maintenance.
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