Here are some FAI (First Article Inspection) considerations to keep in mind when looking for suppliers:
Make sure the supplier has adequately identified a process that notes when an FAI is needed and how it’s followed. It should be referenced as a key part of any manufacturing plan
With its process, a supplier should focus heavily on design characteristics so that they are properly identified. It’s essential so that inspection results can be traced back to each characteristic.
The supplier should have a FAI process that ensures that employees are trained to complete an FAI. Documenting their skills and knowledge is critical.
The FAI created by a supplier should fully reflect engineering requirements detailed in a manufacturing plan.
Look for the supplier’s FAI process to represent each assembly level, including top-level assembly, detailed sub-assemblies and part details (including initial drawings).
The tooling and test equipment owned by the supplier must be reliable so it is able to accurately measure within established engineering requirements.
The FAI might be incomplete if problems haven’t been addressed. For example, nonconformance could be validated or a corrective action plan needs to be in place.