Sherman, William H. (1989, ASQC) Western Hemisphere Hilti, Inc., Tulsa, OK
"Inspectors can not inspect quality into a process or product." American producers have tried for too long to use inspection as a cure-all for whatever was wrong with their product, but in reality, inspection was used as a preventive measure to stop defective goods from reaching their customers. In today's market, that philosophy is out-dated as stiff competition from foreign markets has pinpointed the need to use inspection in a creative, cost-effective manner that will save the manufacturer money and still make quality products at a competitive price.
Today's consumer, having become more sophisticated during the technical age, is changing American manufacturers' attitudes towards the use of inspection methods and procedures. After years of informal training comparing the workmanship of American-made goods to those made in foreign countries, consumers have become today's most-advanced acceptance inspectors. Moreover, comparisons of such high-ticket items as automobiles, stereo sets, and other complex products have frequently shown discriminating consumers that foreign-made goods are not only superior in workmanship than American products, but offer more value for their hard-earned money.
Why do products from overseas frequently have better workmanship than those made in the United States and what are American producers doing to correct the situation? This paper will answer these questions by taking a historical look at the inspection philosophy and procedures used in the past, by reviewing the current use of inspection and its related costs, and by discussing in depth how inspection in the nineties will help American producers recapture, in an economic manner, their share of the world market by returning to the use of craftsmanship during actual production -- a radical change in management's attitude towards the inspection function, but one that is as applicable to today's high tech society and high volume producer as it was when craftsmanship was synonymous with the single proprietor who sold his own work.