Creating nonconforming product that doesn’t meet the customers specifications is never the goal, but it happens in even the best-laid manufacturing plans. Proper containment practices are essential if you want to ensure that these products don’t reach your customers. Containment can look different for every organization, but it’s a critical part of manufacturing operations and supply chain management that works in tandem with your inspection processes.

What Is Containment?

Any product that does not meet the purchase order specifications is a nonconforming product.

Identification is the first step of determining a nonconforming attribute is present.  Identification is performed through an inspection process of each of the customers specified requirements.

Once identified, nonconforming products must be documented and segregated from the rest of your inventory supply.  Segregation involves thoroughly separating the product from the rest of the manufacturing lot / batch to ensure that it does not get released or mingle with conforming products that will reach the customers. Some products may require advanced segregation controls such as locked containment depending on the nature of the item.

Material disposition tactics can vary widely depending on the process and item. They might include scrapping the product altogether, returning it to a supplier for rework or downgrading it to a previous version, such as in software applications. Some products can also be used As Is provided the customer has written release through their Material Review Board (MRB). For example, analysis of the nonconformance may result with an item with a cosmetic defect that doesn’t affect form, fit or functionality can be released (with written customer approval).

Follow up activities will include, a Corrective Action Notification, Root Cause Analysis of why the nonconformance occurred and a Preventative Action (with written procedure) to eliminated future occurrences.

The Necessity of a Containment Plan

However you handle nonconforming product, it’s critical to have a plan in place for documenting and enacting containment processes. This plan will differ between organizations and products, so employees should know how to handle an item when nonconforming product containment is required.

A proper containment plan can help you:

  • Control your product inventory WIP and Final as well as products entering the value stream through your supply chain.
  • Preserve your reputation.
  • Meet Specifications.
  • Mitigate risk.

NTS Unitek’s Containment and Control of Nonconforming Product

NTS Unitek offers support with the containment and control of nonconforming products. We utilize a wide range of methods to deliver high-end supply chain management to each of our partners. The advantages of an NTS Unitek partnership are extensive:

  • Top-tier project team: Experienced quality specialists, engineers, supply chain management professionals and many other highly skilled subject matter experts to execute NTS Unitek services with skill and speed.
  • High levels of experience: Our team comprises professionals with decades of service under their belts, so they know how to streamline the real-world implementation of our services.
  • Tried-and-true process approach: We have a broad range of compliance procedures and policies that help us maintain successful results.

While we can help with containment processes, preventing nonconforming products from getting through also requires you to take steps across the supply chain. These include prevention measures, handling policies, documentation procedures, employee training and inspection practices. NTS Unitek can help with the development of a containment plan, along with the various processes that come with it.

Learn More About Containment in Your Supply Chain

Every company’s approach to containment will look different, and working with the experts ensures you have dependable solutions in place that can improve quality and value in your unique supply chain. Explore the full suite of NTS Unitek services or reach out to us today to learn more about what effective containment would look like in your facility.


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