What are Hold Points, and how to manage them?

What are Inspection Hold Points or Witness Points?

Hold points are stages and checkpoints in production where the work progress is temporarily stopped until certain inspection criteria are met. The production will resume after an inspector, an engineer, or a quality assurance personnel approves the checkpoint and releases it.

Hold points aim to ensure quality standards and conditions before proceeding further in production.

During the Inspection Test Plan (ITP) process on the shop floor, the inspector will release the hold point after ensuring that the Quality Assurance standards are met.

During shop floor inspection, there are often stages of the process that cannot continue without inspection approval. These inspections are called hold points or witness points.

Examples of hold points could be doing a minor check during the inspection or performing a First Article Inspection (FAI) before production begins. In both cases, the production stops until the results are approved by a supervisor or a QA manager.

The Quality Assurance department is in charge of making sure the final product is made according to the proper standards.

Shop Floor Inspection and Hold Points

Collecting shop floor inspection data is directly linked to the quality of the inspection process and management of hold points. A unified shop floor data collection system ensures that all your data is collected quickly and managed accurately.

With a data collection system in place, when reaching an inspection point, managers or supervisors will be notified automatically. This can greatly improve the efficiency and quality of communication throughout your business.

At the same time, a unified ITP system brings all your production data together and makes sure that your products meet the quality standards at each stage of your production.

Similarly, a shop floor inspection system with automated witness points can immensely speed up your inspection and test plan data collection saving you money.

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Why Hold Points are needed?​

A hold point can be placed for a number of reasons, depending on your industry or Inspection and Test Plan (ITP) process. For example, a critical inspection point for manufacturers could be to make sure that incoming goods match their order before beginning production.

No matter your shop floor inspection process, a hold point results in a stop of your operation. On your shop floor, placing hold points comes with the cost of slowing production to a halt and idling technicians.

The question is, how is there a better way to make the hold point move forward faster? Here are two major factors during your shop floor inspection that slow down the release of hold points:

  1. Slow Communication: Between the shop operator or the technicians and the shop supervisor, engineer, or quality assurance inspector. For example, it is not uncommon that the inspector isn’t there or takes a long time to be notified.
  2. Work instructions: Finding the right work instructions and process manuals related to a certain hold point. As paperwork is often difficult to locate on the shop floor.
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How to reduce Hold Time?

With many industries having deadlines and backed-up orders, hold points begin to become costly. Being able to speed up the inspection of a hold point would make the delays shorter.

It saves money and allows the operators to use most of their time. The question here is how.

If your shop floor inspection process is a paperless system, the operator can send a photo of the inspection area along with an alert to notify the inspector. 

The notification is sent to their phone or computer, without them needing to physically be on the shop floor.

The inspector can attend the inspection point if needed or even release the hold point from their desk. This way the shop floor inspection process becomes faster and more efficient.

Why consider an electronic Inspection Test Plans (ITP) system?

Having automated inspection points as part of the paperless manufacturing Inspection Test Report (ITR) system saves you time by easing communication between inspectors and operators. It also makes an easier process for all people involved in the inspection of a hold point.

Don’t let hold points delay your production, make the switch to an online data collection system. Let Q.Shop house all test reports and inspection forms online. Hold points and inspections are just one of the daily tasks made easier with the use of a data collection system.

Hold point in itp

An ITP is an Inspection Test Plan document with specific inspection activities and criteria. These criteria are required to meet quality standards and comply with industry standards.

Following Inspection Test Plans also include hold points. These are the critical checkpoints in the quality inspection process. Hold points are defined while designing an Inspection Test Plan. Here are some key components that should be considered when identifying hold points in ITP:

  • Identification: Hold points are critical points in the production where verification is essential. Identifying hold points is based on risk assessment and industry-specific requirements and industry standards followed in the productions.
  • Determining the Criteria for Inspection: Each hold point determines the criteria that must be met before the production can move ahead. Quality standards and customer requirements dictate the verification points.
  • Authorities: Part of the inspection ITP development is to identify the role of stakeholders and supervisors in the approval process. Subsequently, this means putting procedures in place to ensure the smooth handling of witness points during the inspection.
  • Communication: When designing ITP forms, it’s important to consider the communication process and this means of notifying the relevant personnel when a hold point is reached. For example, in a digital place, a hold point can automatically send a message to the related supervisor to ensure a speedy inspection process.

Planning logistics and details about hold points when designing an ITP can ensure a smooth inspection process in your production.

QShop electronic ITP, Simplifying Quality Inspection.

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