February 8, 2012

Why a 76-Point Quality Inspection?

One question that we continually receive from customers is “Why does Converge have a 76-point quality electronic component inspection?” Not that they’re complaining about our obsession with quality – rather, they’re just curious about the number we proudly tout on our website and brochures.

Why 76?

When Converge originally created its robust multi-point quality assurance checklist (which is based on the industry-leading IDEA 1010 standard), we wanted to ensure that no portion of a shipment was overlooked in the inspection and verification process. Our quality team compiled the electronic component inspection criteria from the IDEA 1010 standard and then also incorporated the best-in-class requirements from our customers and their site inspection audits. Seventy-six actions were required to ensure that our criteria met or exceeded the highest quality requirements of ALL our global customers. We made all 76 steps mandatory, and the rest is history. Now every order processed by Converge must pass through one of our three global hubs and pass this inspection before it can be sent on to the customer.

Our multi-point quality assurance process has three phases: first, there is a visual inspection to verify that everything is exactly the way the original order says it should be, from the packaging, weight, and order numbers to the physical condition and markings of the materials. Orders that pass the first phase go on to a more in-depth inspection by a certified engineer. Here our engineers perform microscopic inspections on a large sampling of components from each order, as well as marking permanency tests, moisture level checks, and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis.

Escalation points have been developed that require the use of additional advanced in-house testing methods, such as x-ray and decapsulation, when additional verification is required for questionable parts. Every step of the process is carefully documented and recorded, including numerous photographs, in order to protect both Converge and our customers.

Only after successfully completing the first two phases are parts released for shipping. This is the third and final phase: the order is inspected one last time before being packaged, photographed, weighed, and proper shipping labels are verified. Any failure within this process will result in the order being rejected, after which a discrepancy alert process is initiated and followed.

We’re not saying that 76 is a “magic number” when it comes to electronic component inspections. We’re continually working to improve our processes, and one day Converge may be talking about our 100-point quality inspection. But to date, this scrutiny and attention to detail is keeping our customers’ supply chains clear of suspect electronic parts procurement and their operations running smoothly.

So perhaps the question shouldn’t be why does Converge have a 76-point quality electronic component inspection, but rather…why doesn’t everyone else?

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