About a year ago, I could tell that my business was starting to struggle. We were having a tough time meeting deadlines and working with manufacturers, and it seemed like we were starting to sink. I knew that we had to do something, so we started looking for easier ways to manufacture our products. We decided to update our equipment and retrain all of our employees. It was amazing to see how much of a difference it made. This blog is all about finding different ways to stay on top of your business manufacturing, so that you can keep your customers happy and satisfied.
The act of inspecting the first couple of units from production is known as a first article inspection. It's to verify correct dimensions and properties based on a customer's requests. If you take these precautions, this inspection process will go smoothly each time.
Pay Attention to Raw Materials
One of the most important aspects of a first article inspection with a part or component is examining the raw material makeup. These are materials the client requested from you when they first put in an order. They expect these raw materials to have a certain quality.
That should be a huge focus throughout first article inspections. Make sure you provide a list of all raw materials that the client asked for. Then FAI can effectively trace them and analyze key properties, such as their chemical makeup and country of origin. You need raw materials to pass in order to move on to subsequent stages of production.
Keep Inspection Data Organized
You'll have a lot of data to collect after a first article inspection is complete, which you need to keep organized in order to avoid design and production issues. The first order of business is finding a software where inspection data can be stored.
Then you need to set up the appropriate pages for specific inspection data and tests. For instance, you can create a page for dimensional properties and then another page for possible contamination. Keeping first article inspection data organized like this will ensure you understand key reports and then make adjustments if there are problems.
Work With a Company That Keeps You Updated
In order to have a first article inspection properly conducted, you'll need to work with a professional company that provides FAI services. Take your time finding the right fit, preferably a company that keeps you updated throughout this inspection process.
There will be multiple tests performed on different aspects of a product that a client is asking for, but a company that updates you at the right times makes it easier to plan ahead and get ready for potential adjustments. As soon as major developments come in with FAI, the company should reach out and help you respond effectively.
First article inspections are a standard part of creating parts and systems for clients. If you approach them carefully and with the right plans, you can have this inspection process move forward without major pitfalls that would otherwise be costly and potentially difficult to work around.