Conforming vs Nonconforming Material Control System

Conforming vs Nonconforming Goods

Conforming means the material meets the requirements.

Nonconforming means the material does not meet the requirements. 

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Nonconforming Material Control System

You must have a system that directs your nonconforming material control. Every Quality Assurance program addresses this issue. This system prevents defective material from being processed, consumed, or shipped. When documenting this system consider these processes:

  • Receiving Inspection
  • Process Defects
  • Product Defects
  • Finished Goods Containment
  • Returned Material
  • In process product specific containment

Within the documented system include the method for identifying the nonconforming item. Discuss when the nonconformity is introduced into your problem solving corrective action system. Cover the disposition possibilities which could include: scrapped, reworked, regraded, sorted, and acceptable with QA approval.

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Labeling and Segregating

For receiving inspection cover how conforming and nonconforming material is controlled. Label and segregate the defective material away from the conforming material. We recommend a hold cage or a secured area for the nonconforming material.

Document your methods for handling process defects which includes machines that are not performing to the requirements. You can tag out / lock out these machines or label with a “Do Not Operate Sign” until the machine is fixed.

Product defects, finished nonconforming goods, and returned nonconforming material need to be labeled as nonconforming and segregated away from the conforming material. Ideas for this include:

  • Place the material in a hold cage
  • Place the material in a labeled scrap bin
  • Put locks on the product so it cannot be used.
  • Remove it from the production floor
  • Recycle it
  • Place it in a labeled lock cabinet

Nonconforming product created during the process stages may need different identification and segregation methods than defective finish product. If applicable document these methods in the nonconforming material control system.

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Documentation Method

We recommend having one document that covers conforming vs nonconforming materials. However, it is ok to cover nonconforming material in localized procedures. For example a receiving inspection procedure could cover how to handle nonconforming material. Include labeling, segregating and disposition criteria for each procedure. If you go with localized procedures, make sure you can identify those procedures for the processes listed above. 

Employee identification of Conforming vs Nonconforming product is vital, making nonconforming material control a basic QA system. It assures defective material is not used by your employees. It assures your customers do not receive defective product. Since it is a fundamental system, train all appropriate employees.

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