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Late detection of non-conformities in production: a problem more costly than you think

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Do you have non-quality problems? Are you having trouble managing your quality costs? What if it was caused by a delay in the detection of non-conformities and defects? 

Today, we reveal 3 reasons why late detection of defects is costing you a lot of money, and how to overcome it.

Non-quality costs: a serious issue

According to an Afnor study, non-quality costs amount to 5% of companies’ turnover. If non-quality can occur at any stage of the process, the later it is detected, the higher the cost.
Indeed, part of these costs is due to the late detection of defects. Whether they’re identified late during production, or worse, once the product is delivered to the customer, the invoice can be quite high.

This problem is very real for many manufacturers, involving a strong competitive challe

opérateur inspectant un moteur d'avion
opérateur inspectant un moteur d'avion

3 reasons why late defect detection costs you money

1st reason: the identification of the defective equipment requires an unscheduled interruption of the production.

Indeed, when defects are not detected at key moments of the process and are identified too late on the line, the consequence is often a production stoppage and a removal of the equipment from the line. And when you know the average cost of one hour of line downtime (from €20,000 to over €1 million depending on the industry), the meter is running and the bill can be high. Not to mention the cost of reworking the equipment in question: disassembly time, repair/correction, and reassembly. In the end, you lose time, decrease your productivity and accumulate delays in your deliveries. You interrupt your process, and you mobilize your teams on a costly repair.

Yet you have probably set up inspection and control procedures at several intermediate stages. But are you sure that the controls are complete and well documented? That information is easily passed between teams? That data such as photos and the precise location of defects are collected?

All of these parameters affect the efficiency of your processes.

2nd reason: it’s too late to fix these production defects.

In some cases, on high value-added parts or equipment, repair is simply not possible after certain stages of the process. The result is a high rate of scrap and waste. These many concessions cost you a lot and affect your cost management and competitiveness. However, this could be avoided by optimizing the quality controls upstream of the chain.

3rd reason: non-quality exported to the customer

Probably the worst case scenario, yet frequent: non-conformities are not detected on site, but a problem is identified once the product is delivered to the customer. 

As a result, your team has to intervene on the customer’s site with all associated costs, reship the equipment at your own expense, and you may have to pay possible financial compensations and fees… But this may also have an impact on your brand image and the satisfaction of your final customer. These costs are sometimes difficult to evaluate but they affect your competitiveness.

Avoiding late identification of non-conformities: which solutions?

If the risk is real, fortunately solutions exist to strongly reduce these risks of late detection of defects. In this respect, digitalization and 4.0 technologies such as AR are at the top of the list. 

By adopting digital inspection tools that guarantee the completeness and repeatability of controls, and the collection of accurate data, you reduce the risk of missing a defect or forgetting a check. These inspection assistance technologies, used at key stages of the manufacturing process, in production but also during the final check before delivery to the customer, allow you to raise alerts at strategic gates and avoid unplanned costs.

But the solution still lies in reducing errors during production. And here too, digital tools, such as the projection of precise assembly instructions directly onto the equipment to be assembled, contribute to “getting it right the first time”, and thus to an improvement in quality. The digitalization of instruction sheets, the 3D visualization of assembly procedures, or the step-by-step guidance of the operator via augmented reality, for example, help to avoid problems of interpretation of the documentation, and thus the risk of errors.

Investing in digital solutions: a lever for competitiveness through the reduction of non-quality

Of course, the digitalization of production and inspection processes represents a budget. But the benefits are numerous, and the competitive stakes are high in the current context. Among the expected ROI, we can mention:

– Reduced costs associated with scrap and unplanned repairs

– Productivity gains: reduced inspection time, reduced unplanned downtime

– Brand image: customer satisfaction, reliability, competitive advantage

système projectif affichant des instructions de travail

You wish to reduce your non-quality costs but don’t know where to start?

Our solutions are already implemented and allow our customers to reach ambitious goals. We can help you! Contact us for more information


[Guide] 4.0 Project: ask yourself the right questions before you start!