Using the Inspection Lot

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the lifecycle of an inspection lot
  • Create inspection lots

Lifecycle of an Inspection Lot

Use Case Scenario

As quality technician and quality engineer, you execute various functions for an inspection lot. It is important for you to know the inspection lot's lifecycle. We already introduced the lifecycle of inspection lots at the beginning of this course when we talked about planned and event-based process in quality management (refer to chapter Inspection Lots and Quality Notifications).

Let us now look deeper at what the quality technician and quality engineer do and what the SAP system does automatically.

Process in SAP S/4HANA

The lifecycle of an inspection lot in SAP S/4HANA encompasses the various stages and processes involved in the quality inspection of materials or products. The following figure shows the lifecycle of an inspection lot:

What are the individual lifecycle steps of an inspection lot?

  1. Creation of the inspection lot:

    A triggering event creates an inspection lot. Examples of triggering events are goods receipt postings for a purchase order, production orders by the warehouse clerk, or order releases by the production supervisor. If you want to execute an additional quality inspection for a material already in stock, the quality technician can also manually create an inspection lot. The lot contains information about the material, batch, quantity, and (if triggered by a goods movement) the related goods movement document.

  2. Selection of the inspection plan:

    Based on the inspection type settings in the material master, the system assigns the inspection specifications (for example, from an inspection plan, a routing, or a master recipe). The system automatically selects the inspection specifications based on the material which is to be inspected, the lot size, and the creation date of the inspection lot.

  3. Copying of the inspection plan:

    Data from the inspection plan copies to the inspection lot. From that point in time, the inspection specifications in the inspection lot are independent of the master data record copied to the inspection lot. As such, if the quality planner changes an inspection plan, the changes are not reflected in the inspection lot.

  4. Calculation of sample size:

    For each inspection characteristic, the system calculates the sample size based on the sampling procedure assigned to the characteristic in the inspection plan.

  5. Record results:

    The quality technician performs the inspection based on the assigned inspection plan. They record inspection results for each inspection characteristic. Depending on the master data settings, results can be numeric measurements (quantitative characteristics) or qualitative characteristics (for example, pass/fail or a coded value from a predefined list of characteristic attributes).

  6. Record defects:

    Any additional observations not modeled as inspection characteristics are recorded by the quality technician as defects. When creating defects, the quality technician describes the defect in free-text form and, if defined by the quality planner beforehand, by selecting an appropriate defect code from the respective catalog.

  7. Execute usage decision:

    Based on the recorded results and defects, the quality engineer executes a usage decision. The usage decision summarizes the entire quality inspection to a binary value (pass or fail) and determines whether the inspected material meets the predefined acceptance criteria. If so, it can be released for further processing or delivery to a customer. If not, additional actions, for example, rework or return of a purchased good to the supplier triggers.

  8. Inventory postings and other follow-up actions:

    If an inventory posting creates an inspection lot, a positive usage decision posts the quantity managed by the inspection lot to unrestricted-use stock. As such, it can be used by subsequent processes, for example, production. A negative usage decision posts the quantity to blocked stock. From here, appropriate actions such as rework, return to supplier, or scrapping can initiate. There are other follow-up actions, for example, the automatic creation of an inspection report in PDF format (sent to interested parties) or a mail to a purchaser informing them about a rejected goods receipt inspection.

    Which inventory postings and follow-up actions execute depends on the system configuration performed by the quality planner and the application consultant.

Note
The system automatically manages the status of an inspection lot. Whenever you carry out a function that alters the processing status of the inspection lot, the system changes the inspection lot status accordingly. For an overview of available statuses, consult the Application Help on the SAP Help portal.

Inspection Lot Triggers

Let us dive deeper into the lifecycle of an inspection lot and recap the discussion in previous units of this course. You can observe various logistical processes that triggered a quality inspection.

The following figure summarizes some examples that can trigger the creation of an inspection lot in the SAP S/4HANA system.

  • Goods movement:

    In the units about quality management in procurement, quality management in production, and quality management in storage processes, you have seen various examples of quality inspections that are triggered by goods movements:

    • In procurement, a goods receipt inspection lot was created when the warehouse clerk posted a goods receipt for a purchase order item: How to Process Inspections at Goods Receipt.
    • In production, a goods receipt inspection lot was created when the warehouse clerk posted a goods receipt for a (production or process) order: How to Execute an Inspection at the End of Production.
    • In the storage processes, a stock transfer inspection lot was created when the warehouse clerk posted a stock transfer: Quality Management in Storage Processes.
  • Release of a production order or process order:

    In the unit Using SAP S/4HANA Quality Management in Production, you have seen that an inspection lot can be triggered when the order is released: How to Execute an In-Process Inspection.

  • Creation of a delivery to a customer:

    In the unit Using SAP S/4HANA Quality Management in Sales and Distribution, you have seen that the system can automatically create an inspection lot when you create a delivery item: How to Execute an Inspection for an Outbound Delivery

  • Deadline monitoring for batches:

    In the unit Using SAP S/4HANA Quality Management in Storage Processes, you have seen that the system can monitor the deadline of batch managed materials and create inspection lots for batches that are about to expire: Recurring Inspections for Batch-Managed Materials.

  • Manual lot creation:

    If an additional inspection is required, you can create a manual inspection lot at any time. For example, if you want to execute an additional inspection for a batch of a material in blocked stock before it is transported back to the supplier.

Note

To create an inspection lot when the above mentioned business processes are executed, it is mandatory that the quality planner assigned and activated the corresponding inspection type in the material master of the material that is to be inspected. If the inspection type is not assigned and/or it is not active, the system does not create an inspection lot.

The inspection type is a list defined by the Application Consultant in customizing, which defines a link between a business process in the SAP S/4HANA system and a quality inspection that is to be executed during this process. For a list of predefined inspection types the processes they are linked to, refer to the Application Help.

Inspection Lot Before and After Inspection

An important milestone in the processing of an inspection lot is displayed in the following figure. In general, you can distinguish an inspection lot before inspection (in the graphic above lifecycle steps 1-4) and after inspection (in the previous figure, lifecycle steps 5, 6, or 7):

  1. Before the quality inspection, the system or user created the inspection lot, and the system selected the plan, copied the plan into the lot and calculated the sample size. Usually, these steps are automatically executed one after another. Only in case of errors, the quality technician might need to correct the inspection lot, for example, if an incorrect inspection plan was assigned.

  2. After the quality inspection, the quality technician recorded results and/or defects, the quality engineer executed a usage decision and, if configured, follow-up actions were executed by the system.

For you as quality technician or quality engineer, it is very important to understand that, as long as the inspection lot is in status before inspection, you can correct an incorrectly assigned inspection plan or an incorrectly calculated sample size by canceling the sampling and re-reading the inspection plan. After quality inspection, it is no longer possible to perform these changes. If you note an incorrectly assigned inspection plan - for example, when executing the inspection - you must cancel the entire inspection lot and re-create the lot.

Note
For more information about resetting sample determination, refer to the Application Help. The cancellation of an inspection lot is described here.

Creation of an Inspection Lot

Use Case Scenario

Either the business user or the system creates an inspection lot. What happens in the SAP system?

Process in SAP S/4HANA

The system automatically performs the steps as shown in the following figure:

  1. When an inspection lot is created for a material, the system determines the corresponding inspection specifications. For goods receipt inspections, stock transfer inspections, and inspections for batches, the system selects an inspection plan. For in-process inspections in discrete (process) manufacturing, the system takes the inspection specifications from the routing (recipe).

  2. When selecting the inspection specification, the system takes the material number, the lot size, and the creation date of the inspection lot into consideration and selects an inspection plan that matches these parameters. If more than one inspection plan was found, the Quality Technician must manually select which inspection plan is to be used. For in-process inspections, the system selects the routing or recipe based on order data (material number, manufactured quantity, order start date). In all cases, the inspection specifications are copied into the inspection lot.

    When a lot has been created, any changes made to the inspection specifications (that is inspection plan, routing, recipe, and so on) are not automatically transferred to the inspection lot.

  3. Next, the system calculates the sample size of all inspection characteristics and of the entire lot: on the characteristic level, the system takes the sample determination procedure that is assigned to the inspection characteristic to calculate the sample size (for example, 10%); on the lot level, the system displays the maximum of all sample sizes of the characteristics so that the Quality Technician is made aware how many samples must be inspected and transferred from, for example, the goods receipt area of the warehouse to the quality lab.

How to Create an Inspection Lot: System Demonstration

In the following SAP S/4HANA system demonstration, the quality technician creates an inspection lot for a goods receipt inspection. You will see the following steps:

  1. Create an inspection lot
  2. Trigger determination if inspection specifications
  3. Trigger sample calculation
  4. Review the assigned inspection plan

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