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Incoming inspection: Do we have to inspect everything?

This is a common question from organizations starting ISO 9001 programs, so here is the good news: there is no requirement that you have to inspect everything. The requirement is that you determine how you will know that you have good parts, raw materials and services that go into making your product.

This ties in very closely with purchasing. The purchasing process is where you put controls in place to make sure that your suppliers provide you with quality products and services. When you establish these criteria, you will also establish compatible inspection and test criteria.

Many companies have a program to designate "certified suppliers". They receive products from these suppliers directly into stock. If you qualify suppliers by auditing their quality system, by inspecting trial orders or by other means you can determine what kind of sampling plan you need to monitor the quality of their product.

Some products come with certain certifications or standards already met for the product. These come with a Certificate of Analysis or other evidence that control is exercised at the supplier's location. If this is the case, your inspection may be checking for a Certificate. Incoming inspection can be as simple as reviewing the packing slips and verifying that the correct item and quantity are received. It is up to your organization to determine how the quality of the supplies affects your product quality and how you will measure and monitor.