Continuous Quality Surveillance

Non-quality revealed during the construction, commissioning and operation may lead to huge costs with regards to safety (loss of human life), as well as producibility (in a few days loss-of-production costs may overcome the single component cost). The sooner manufacturing defects (dimensional, non-conforming raw material, NDT detectable defects) are found, the less overall quality and delivery time will be affected.

Introducing a follow-up method specifically intended to minimize the Cost of Poor Quality during manufacturing can considerably reduce safety risks and failure costs, keeping general extra costs down. Such methodology requires a systematic approach in order to achieve the highest effectiveness keeping into account the specific needs of the industry (such as nuclear, hydroelectric, chemical and oil and gas industry), and the formalization of fundamental elements. 

These are: (1) the continuity of  interventions carried out by the appointed inspector (typically leaning on independent inspection agencies), (2) the Pre-Inspection Meeting (PIM) at preliminary stages of manufacturing, (3) the Inspection and Test Plan (ITP), detailed with specific witness points for each critical production step, (4) the formalization of interventions  by means of  Notification for Inspection (NOI), (5) the expediting activities to verify the effective progress of works, detecting and avoiding bottlenecks.

  1. Continuity of the appointed inspector intervention

A reference point is fundamental for the surveillance of the manufacturing process. This means allowing a single person (the appointed inspector), with the required skills, abilities and knowledge, to be in charge of the whole project as regards inspection and quality surveillance.

  1. Pre-Inspection Meeting (PIM)

Experience leads us to consider the Pre-Inspection Meeting as the point of clarification of all the technical and quality aspects for all the subjects involved in the project (client, contractor, supplier and inspection agency). A PIM can be held following these guidelines:

Where a Pre-Inspection Meeting is planned the following topics should be discussed/presented during the meeting:

  1. Scope of work & schedule
  2. Presentation by the supplier regarding historical quality performance and risk assessment
  3. Organization, roles and responsibilities of the key personnel & communication plan
  4. Documents submission requirements
  5. Subcontracting strategy and surveillance plan at vendors
  6. Inspection and test plan
  7. Submission of deviation and query request 
  8. Non-conformance & corrective actions
  9. Inspection co-ordination & notification
  10. Material release process, certification & reporting
  11. Manufacturing records book requirements
  12. Visit to the manufacturing plant 
  1. Inspection & Test Plan (ITP)

The Inspection and Test Plan (ITP) is a document for quality control defining all the inspections and tests required during the construction process. For each point of inspection, the level of control required for each subject involved must be indicated (client, contractor, supplier and sub-suppliers, inspection agency).

This allows the formalization of surveillance during the whole manufacturing process, until completion and delivery. 

The frequency of the intervention points assisted by the appointed inspector (witness points) is determined by the client depending on the importance of the component.

  1. Notification of Inspection (NOI)

Referring to the points of inspection reported on the ITP, the vendor is responsible for notifying the scheduled inspection dates to all the subjects involved. The vendor must issue upon notice a Notification of Inspection (NOI) indicating the kind of control, applicable ITP line, date and duration forecasted for the activity and in general all the information required to carry out inspection activities in compliance with the ITP.

  1. Expediting Activities

In parallel with inspection activities, if required, periodic visits may be carried out at a supplier’s premises. These are to find (and help solve) potential problems that could affect construction and cause delivery delays. Problems could include: missing approved documentation, excessive workloads and inefficient communication between those involved in the project.

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