Please read Case Incident, then,
using The Short Essay Format, answer the3 questions that follow the incident. Please use references where applicable. 1/2 page for each question.
The Purchasing Department
The buyers for a large airline company were having a general discussion with the man-
ager of purchasing in her office Friday afternoon. The inspection of received parts was
a topic of considerable discussion. Apparently, several parts had recently been rejected
six months or more after being received. Such a rejection delay was costing the company a considerable amount of money, since most of the items were beyond the standard 90-day warranty period. The current purchasing procedures state that the
department using the parts is responsible for the inspection of all parts, including
stock and nonstock items. The company employs an inspector who is supposedly
responsible for inspecting all aircraft parts, in accordance with FAA regulations. How-
ever, the inspector has not been able to check those items purchased as nonaircraft
parts because he is constantly overloaded. Furthermore, many of the aircraft parts are
not being properly inspected because of insufficient facilities and equipment.
One recent example of the type of problem being encountered was the acceptance
of a batch of plastic forks that broke easily when in use. The vendor had shipped over
100 cases of the forks of the wrong type. Unfortunately, all the purchase order specified was “forks.” Another example was the acceptance of several cases of plastic cups
with the wrong logo. The cups were put into use for in-flight service and had to be
used because no other cups were available. A final example was the discovery that
several expensive radar electronic parts in stock were found to be defective and with
expired warranties. These parts had to be re ordered at almost $900 per unit.
It was apparent that the inspection function was inadequate and unable to cope
with the volume of material being received. Purchasing would have to establish some
guidelines as to what material should or should not be inspected after being processed
by the material checker. Some of the buyers thought the material checker (who is not
the inspector) should have more responsibility than simply checking quantity and
comparing the packing sheet against purchase orders. Some believed the checker could and should have caught the obvious errors in the logo on the plastic cups. Fur-
thermore, if the inspector had sampled the forks, they would have been rejected
immediately. As for the radar parts, they should have been forwarded by the inspector
to the avionics shop for bench check after being received. Such a rejection delay was
costing the company a considerable amount of money, since most of the items were
beyond the standard 90-day warranty period. The current purchasing procedures
state that the department using the parts is responsible for the inspection before the
part is placed in stock. Some buyers thought the inspector should be responsible for
inspection of all materials received, regardless of its function or usage. It was pointed
out, however, that several landing gears had been received from the overhaul/repair
vendor and tagged by the inspector as being acceptable. These gears later turned out
to be defective and unstable and had to be returned for further repair. This generated
considerable discussion concerning the inspector’s qualifications, testing capacity,
workload, and responsibility for determining if the unit should be shop-checked.
Much of the remaining discussion centered around what purchasing should recommend for the inspection of material. One proposal was that everything received be
funneled through the Inspection Department. Another proposal was that all material
be run through inspection except as otherwise noted on the purchase order. Other
questions were also raised. If purchasing required all material to be inspected, would
this demand additional inspection personnel? Who would be responsible for inspection specifications? Furthermore, who should determine what items should be
The meeting was finally adjourned until the following Friday.
1. What do you think of the current system of inspection?
2. Do you think the inspector is at fault? Explain.
3. What would you suggest happen at the meeting next Friday?
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