CAREER GUIDES

Here's how quality control inspectors work on various stages of production

Image: Bseegov

Their work can be divided into two different fields:

Receiving quality controller: Motor manufacturers, for example, do not produce all the components installed in a motor vehicle; some are bought from other manufacturers. This person checks the quality of parts which have been bought in from other manufacturers and verifies receipt thereof by checking them against documentation. Examples of these are tyres, window panels, carpets and so forth.

Articles, which are delivered by other manufacturers, must conform to prescribed standards and must be in perfect working condition. Items which may be damaged during transport, must usually be checked for scratch marks, cracks and dents. Some articles, such as alternators, for example, require thorough testing.

This testing takes place through the utilisation of the necessary electronic or other equipment. It is an impossible task to subject all of the items to this type of testing and it can therefore be decided, for example, that a sample of fifty or a hundred of the articles of a consignment, be thoroughly tested.

Apart from the fact that the quality must be checked, the inspector must also ensure that the items which are indicated on the consignment note, are all delivered. If the receipt of articles, which in reality have not been sent, is acknowledged, the firm may later be debited for them, that is, the firm will have to pay for articles which were actually never received. 

Production quality controller: These inspectors work inside the factories and will be found at different points in the manufacturing process. They check the quality of each item on the factory production line against a checklist, ensuring that items not up to standard do not proceed to the next phase of production or assembly.

They must ensure that none of the components are overlooked, no matter how slight the mistake may be. If something appears faulty in any way, the fault must be corrected before the following phase in the manufacturing process may take place. These inspectors are provided with lists of the items to examine.

They mark off each item inspected. Each manufactured item is subjected to very strict examination during this last stage. The digital dynamometer, for example, measures the speed and amount of power which the engine delivers, and the necessary adjustments are made. If inspectors find faults in any of the manufacturing phases, then those faults have to be corrected or the missing components have to be provided. Some faults, such as dents in the bodywork of a motor vehicle, are mechanically repaired.

Personal requirements

  • Good eyesight and colour discrimination
  • Keen observation skills
  • Good form perception
  • Some mechanical insight
  • Meticulous nature
  • Assertive and firm
  • Maintain good interpersonal relationships
  • Sound physical health

How to enter

Schooling & school subjects: No specific school subjects are required. However, a matric certificate (NSC) meeting the requirements for diploma studies is required. 

What to study

A national diploma in production management or quality management may useful when applying for this position. Generally companies promote well-experienced assembly line workers who have demonstrated good quality attributes and skills.

Formal training generally consists of ISO 9000 training and quality audit training. The necessary skills are usually acquired on the job, working with experienced quality control inspectors.

Employment

  • Motor industry
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • All factories with production lines, where quality is essential
  • Food producers
  • Self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own manufacturing concern

Getting started

  • Try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a manufacturing plant where a formal system of quality control has been implemented
  • Arrange to speak to a quality controller about this type of career
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