A buyer needs to assess a supplier's ability to meet his expectations. This is part of his responsibility. To do so, he performs an factory audit or an inspection. Most of us find it difficult to differentiate between these two services so today we will explain the difference between audit and inspection.
The Buyer'S Needs When Buying In Asia
A buyer needs to get to know his current or potential supplier. To do so, he can examine the quality management system, check the factory and the quality of the manufactured products. He can also add criteria such as: safety, environmental protection or social responsibility. This may come as a surprise to most of us, but all of these criteria can be taken into account during an audit or an inspection respectively.
Difference Between Audit And Inspection
An inspection is usually based on closed questions. The answers can be "yes" or "no". Its role is to evaluate in detail a product or a workplace on the basis of specific criteria, aesthetics... To do this, the inspector needs a plan and a list of points to check (in a formal inspection only).
Example of a factory inspection:
The inspector evaluates a building. This includes checking fire extinguishers, emergency exits...
Example of a product inspection:
The inspector evaluates the quality of manufactured products. During a pre-shipment inspection, the inspector selects random production samples (according to the AQL table) or checks the entire lot according to the customer's requirements. Then, he checks the appearance of the products, their conformity to the customer's specifications and finishes with a series of tests.
The audit examines the factory's processes and performance against specific standards and guidelines. It is like doing a survey: the approach is neutral. The objective is to identify compliance or non-compliance with specifications, standards, contractual agreements or other requirements.
An audit is done to observe. It inspects equipment and processes based on those previously defined in writing. To ensure that the reality is consistent with the "theory" (written procedures) it is usual to interview employees.
The most interesting feedback from an audit is the list of non-conformities (minor and major). This allows to define an action plan to improve the system currently in place. In any case, an audit can be internal or external.
Example of an ISO 9001 audit
It is based on the ISO 9000 standard and focuses on the quality management system of the supplier: factory, service company, etc... The auditor checks the documented processes and forms with the processes currently in place. The auditor also looks at the records for evidence that the processes are being followed over time. This last point is one of the most important.
What about you: do you have any other explanations for understanding the difference between an audit and an inspection?