Explanation of the duties undertaken by roles and positions in a Quality Management System

Quality cannot be inspected into a product! Quality is put into a product by installing the needed requirements in its design. Quality is designed into a business too. You establish the necessary business processes and your personnel do the activities that create the desired outcomes from the business.



Hello Mike,

I will be very grateful if you can educate me more on duties of:

  1. Quality Inspector
  2. Factory Accounts Production Reconciliation Clerk
  3. Quality Manager



Dear Friend,

The truth about quality is that you build a quality product by installing the quality requirements into the product through the way it is designed.

Your business must also invent and build those business processes that always produce a quality product.

Using Quality Inspectors to check and monitor a product only after a series of work activities are completed will ensure that you will only ever find faults in products. That is the natural result of designing a business system that uses Quality Inspectors to test and prove quality is present after the product is made. Using a Quality Inspector lets errors and mistakes happen by design, because you have built a business process where mistakes are found by inspection long after they are made. You have guaranteed that scrapped jobs and rework will happen many times in your operation. It is crazy way to build products and it ensures a high cost of quality.

The very best approach is to build a business process that makes everyone who works on a product build quality into the product and prove that they have done as part of doing the job. You need to build quality into the way you make products so that no quality faults are created nor are they passed to the next work process step. If you do that your business will be one the best in your industry.

I am very concerned by the implications in your question that you are building a work process that which will have many quality problems. Nonetheless here are my thoughts explaining the quality system roles that you ask about.

1) A Quality Inspector’s job is to look for mistakes in the item they inspect. They compare the product against its design requirements. They send unacceptable items back for rectification if they can be salvaged, or they scrap an item if it cannot be saved. A switched-on and truly competent Quality Inspector would go to the problem creating steps and teach and help the people making the mistakes to do their job properly the first time.

A Quality Inspector would also collect the data from their inspections and analyse it for evidence and indication of production process failure. They would need to know and be comfortable with statistical sampling and statistical analysis techniques. They should also be able to develop control charts and implement their use amongst the workforce.

You cannot inspect quality into a product. A Quality Inspector will only ever find mistakes, errors and out-of-specification product. Quality Inspectors can never create quality. They throw-out products that are not up to quality.

2) A Factory Accounts Production Reconciliation Clerk would check actual costs of production, (materials, labour, contracted work, overheads, etc) against the planned budget / quotation / allowances / estimates and identify variances. They would then seek to understand and explain the variances, especially the adverse ones, and give the information to management to action and address.

They would also collect and analyse information on quality costs and the cost of quality to assist management in optimising the use of its quality management system.

3) A Quality Manager, as required in ISO 9001, is appointed by Top Management and shall be a member of the organization’s management who, irrespective of other responsibilities, shall have responsibility and authority that includes:

a) ensuring that processes needed for the quality management system are established, implemented and maintained,

b) reporting to top management on the performance of the quality management system and any need for improvement, and

c) ensuring the promotion of awareness of customer requirements throughout the organization.

NOTE The responsibility of a management representative can include liaison with external parties on matters relating to the quality management system.


My best regards to you,

Mike Sondalini
Managing Director
Lifetime Reliability Solutions HQ


PS. If you require advice on ISO 9001 quality system development, feel free to contact me by email at info@lifetime-reliability.com