1.1     Background of the Study

Doug Wallace, a Materials Management subject expert with Life Cycle Engineering [L.C.E] Consultancy Company Charleston, South Carolina; in a paper presentation titled “Maintenance and Reliability Inventory Management” gave an apt and practical illustration that underscores the need for inspection. He said, have you heard of the guys that burned up a brand new piece of rotating equipment because it was installed with no oil in it? That little oversight cost  $80,000 for a replacement. When properly lubricated, it would have cost less than $100”. Again, he said, “How about the guys that cut a section out of their raw materials feeder line and then find out the replacement piece was just a little bit too short to fit into the gap? That little mistake cost thousands of dollars in unplanned repairs and potentially hundreds of thousands in lost production”.

This brings to mind the two renowned cases in Nigeria of Indomie Instant Noodles Poisoning Crisis of 2004 and Pfizer Poisoning Crisis, Kano 1996. What these organizations suffered in terms of cost, production revenue loss and image can only be imagined.

Again, operating in an unstable environment riffed with stiff competition; product quality management has become in more ways than one the life-blood of the organization. Be that as it may, and as strategic as product quality is to success of the organization, it will be near impossible if not impossible to achieve the goals of enhancing, maintain and sustaining product quality without the eagle eye of inspection.

Inspection itself is a word with many synonyms, so, whether a writer chooses the word examination, observation, investigation or assessment, it will still be inspection, and sometimes the word testing is adopted depending on what is being inspected.

The general idea and concept is to ascertain or determine quality or conformity of materials, products and components to pre-set standards and specification.

So, materials outsourced or insourced either as raw materials, components, spare parts or MROs as well as the organizations output are subjected to thorough examination to ensure that they conformed to specifications and standards before they are certify for production or consumption.

This brings to bear the subtle but distinct fact that inspection and quality are two inseparable Siamese twin terms, where one can hardly be discussed without alluding to the other. In fact, inspection is a tool often utilized by organizations for the realization of product quality management objectives. Thus, in other to understand the basis for inspection and its role in product quality management drive of an organization, a concise but lucid perspective of specification and standardization, the concept of quality management, quality control and quality assurance will need to be understood as they are interwoven and make it difficult to be discussed one without the other.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the inspection exercise can mean the successor failure of the organization. This is because the slightest oversight of outsourced or and insourced materials and products from specification and standards will often result to the production of defective output with multiple and spiraling effects in multiple fronts with unimaginable consequences for both the organization and consumers.

Consequently, no where in the manufacturing industry are those consequences more truer, acute and immediate as in the food and drugs industry.

The choice of Northern Noodles Limited Kaduna, in an attempt to examine the role of inspection in the quest for effective product quality management in the food industry was prompted by a few negative indicators which combined to impair on the quality of their products.

The issue that arose for this study is asked, whose responsibility is it in the organization to ascertain and certify the compliance of product inputs to pre-determined standards and specifications? Again what measures are put in place by the organization to ensure that defective materials not do enter the production process? It is also asked, what measures are put in place to detect defects even in the production process?

1.3     Objectives of the Study

It is a truism that defective materials allowed to enter the production line can cause the failure of the organization, as quality will be impinged upon eventually, and this will be with great consequences to the organization and society at large. It is therefore necessary that this must not be allowed to occur.

The objective of this study is therefore built around the examination of the quality management programs employed by the organization in its drive towards ensuring quality of its outputs. The study in this light is therefore aimed at.

i)                   To determine the responsibility for inspection in the organization.

ii)                To determine the approach to materials specification adopted by the organization.

iii)              To determine the method of inspection adopted by the organization.

iv)              To determine the defect preventive measures used by the organization.

v)                To determine the control tools used by the organization to ensure quality outputs.

1.4     Significance of the Study

The research study is of immense importance in many facets. First, it is a requirement in partial fulfillment for the award of Higher National Diploma (HND) in the Department of Purchasing and Supply Management, Kaduna Polytechnic which the researcher stands to receive, and without which he cannot graduate.

Again, as a reservoir of knowledge, it will serve as a guide for further study to some future researchers. Students will also benefit, because it will help expand and expose them to the different perspectives on the subject matter. Further, and importantly, it will be a tremendous benefits to the organization under studied; as it will expose them to the dangers embedded in the laxity or casualness given to the inspection exercise by the organization.

Finally, the general public will also glean from its sublime significance, since everyone buys in one way or another, and to property adopt the principles and approaches of the inspection exercise in their personal acquisitions.

1.5     Scope of the Study

This research work is focused on the role of inspection in product quality management drive in Northern Noodles Limited, Kaduna, located along Kachia road, Chikun Local Government Area, Kaduna. The research considered and covered the period from 2011 and 2012. The searchlight was beamed on the Purchasing Department, the Production Department, Quality Control and the Administrative departments of the organization.

1.6     Research Questions

i)                   Who is responsible for inspection in the organization?

ii)                 What is the approach to materials specification in the organization?

iii)              What method(s) of inspection does the organization adopts?

iv)              What preventive measures are put in place by the organization to ensure that defective materials does not enter the production line?

v)                 What control tools does the organization used to ensure and sustain quality?

 

1.7     Definition of Terms

  • Inspection: This describes a process of careful examination of materials, services, component or a process or work product to determine its conformity to set standards.
  • Sourcing: This is a purchasing procedure through which buyers seeks, survey and evaluate suppliers, and determine policies relating to those who will most suitably meet the requirement of the buying organization.
  • Insourcing: This describes the process by which an organization takes responsibility for providing services and conducting its operations in-house or in other locations but by its own staff.
  • Outsourcing: This gives or describes contracting out services and operations that are usually conducted in-house to other firms that can do them better, cheaper and faster.
  • Efficiency: This implies the minimum used of resources to reach goals. That is, doing things right.
  • Effectiveness: This means pursuing and reaching the appropriate goals. In other words doing the right thing.
  • Specification: This is the careful, detailed and distinct description of an item, or service to be supplied in which the supplied item must conform to.
  • Standardization: The formulation and evaluation at national and at company levels, to define and prescribe the specified quality and/or performance characteristics of a material, product and/or operations and service.
  • Standards: Are a model, or general agreement of a rule established by the authority, consensus or customers and used by various levels of interests.
  • Quality: Quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements.
  • Material: Anything that can be offered to the market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption for the satisfaction of needs is referred to as material.
  • Purchasing: This term in this context denotes the act of a function in an organization that is responsible for the procuring of materials into the organization.
  • Supplier: This refers to an organization or a person who supply or releases goods or service to a buying organization.
  • Defect: This is a situation where a component, material, product or service does not meet its requirements or specification and needs to be repaired or replaced or rejected.
  • Productivity: This means efficient utilization of available resource at economic cost.
  • Production: This is the rate of units produced in terms of machines, labour, materials or any other effective basis.