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Resident Quality Liaisons vs. Inspectors: Learn the Differences and Which One is More Valuable to Your Organization


Nonconforming parts that enter or leave your facility can negatively impact your organization’s bottom line, efficiency, productivity, and relationships with customers. Quality engineers across the automotive industry regularly use inspectors from sorting companies in order to alleviate the burden associated with quality inspections. This is a good place to start, but far from the only or even best way to manage quality control. If you currently have inspectors at your plant and are wondering “Is this it?” then we encourage you to look into another option: resident Quality Liaisons provided by Team Quality Services.

Let’s begin by taking a deeper look at sorting companies. Who are they? What do they provide? What are their limitations? These questions are a fantastic jumping off point for a more in-depth conversation regarding our Quality Liaisons. 

What Is a Sorting Company and What Services Do They Provide?

Both checking for and identifying nonconforming parts is a critical aspect of the manufacturing process in the automotive industry. This can be done by a sorting company. A simple dictionary definition tells us that a sorting company works in different tasks of verification, recognition, and detection of defects. By having an inspector unaffiliated with the supplier or the plant perform component sorting, quality engineers can rest assured that an impartial check takes place. 

Inspectors follow a specific set of work instructions given to them by quality engineers. By looking into what exactly an inspector does, you can probably already see a glaring issue. They are reactive. Whatever their instructions are, they do that and only that. Think of what the inspector does as manual labor not requiring a high skill set. There is no root cause analysis. There are no quality improvement techniques applied. 

When your plant employs inspectors from a sorting company, you cannot expect them to be anything more than workers checking off items on a list. Their instructions are strictly things like “There are X amount of parts and you need to look at each one to verify them. You must certify that you have checked X amounts of pieces or products for Y defects. Is this part good or bad?” 

There is a quantifiable number of parts and specific defects they’re looking for, nothing more and nothing less. The parts coming in and leaving your plant are either good or bad. There are no critical thinking skills involved, simply looking at parts and saying “yes” or “no.”

If you look at this and feel there’s some pretty big gaps in the services offered by a sorting company, you’re not alone. Many quality engineers wish the inspectors sent over from the sorting company would be proactive rather than reactive. They want them to take ownership of the quality control. They want them to provide onsite quality assurance that they can trust. A sorting company isn’t able to give you this peace of mind, but Team Quality Services certainly is.

Understanding How Team Quality Services Improves the Performance of a Sorting Company

When critical thinking is needed or something comes up outside of the scope of the original instructions, you need a Quality Liaison and not a simple inspector. Quality Liaisons have the ability to make decisions based on training and industry knowledge. They’re not just checking things off a list. This is why you can feel unburdened by your quality management responsibilities – finally!

When we are on-site, you can rest assured with the knowledge that meticulous, unbiased, and impartial checks are taking place. The result is better quality, more efficiency, less downtime, fewer new business holds, and increased profits.

Now is a good time to pause and point out that an organization can have both Quality Liaisons from Team Quality Services and inspectors from a sorting company. In fact, we do this a lot. Supervising is something we are great at! Our Quality Liaisons have a higher education and skill set within the industry when compared to inspectors from a sorting company. They also have a higher level of autonomy.

What Makes Our Quality Liaisons So Special?

You may wonder why we feel so confident saying our Quality Liaisons are a step above the inspectors provided by the sorting companies. For one, all of our Quality Liaisons are Six Sigma certified and a Green Belt™ at minimum. Six Sigma is a process using statistics and data analysis to analyze and then reduce errors and defects. A Six Sigma Green Belt™ is a professional who is well versed in the core to advanced elements of Lean Six Sigma Methodology and is able to lead improvement projects. There is no other company similar to Team Quality Services in North America that has this as a standard.

Because of the more stringent qualifications that we require, we have a higher level of staff here at Team Quality Services. This leads to a more proficient level of communicating with you, as well as the ability to drive quality improvements. Your Quality Liaison has a stake in your success! 

Don’t leave quality as a question mark for any longer. As you dig into your options, it is likely you will find that there are specific sorting companies your organization must use because of union contracts. This is not a problem at all, as we can supervise them. You can simply contact us and we will set it all up with the preferred provider.

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