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Design of Screening Procedures:

A Review
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN47907
It has been well accepted that dependence on inspection to correct quality problems is ineffective and
costly, and hence screening (100% inspection) should not be used as a long-term solution for improving
product quality. However, screening may be an attractive practice for removing nonconforming items from
a population in the short term because of the advances in automatic inspection equipment and computer
control in manufacturing. Important factors considered in designing screening procedures include the selec
tion of screening variable, available information on the population being studied, cost of inspection, losses
caused by decision errors, the variation in product quality, and inspection and manufacturing environments.
This paper presents a sy stematic review of the literature on the design of screening procedures.
l ECENT advances in automation and computer
control in manufacturing are changing the
fundamental role and functions of quality con
trol/assurance. In particular, the use of auto
matic test equipment (ATE) has greatly increaed
inspection speed and accuracy (Kivenko and Oswald
(1974)). Consequently, screening (100% inspection)
is becoming an attractive practice for removing non
conforming items, and it has been suggested that in
spection will essentially become an inherent part of
modern manufacturing processes (Stile (1987)).
However, as pointed out by Deming (1986), depen
dence on inspection to correct quality problems is in
efective and costly, and hence screening should not
be used as a long-term solution for improving prod
uct quality or reducing the costs incurred by non
conforming items. Instead, implementing successful
process control and quality improvement programs is
essential for a manufacturer to survive in the com
petitive business world.
Dr. K. Tang is Professor and Chairman in the Department
of Quantitative Business Analysis. He is a Member of ASQC.
Dr. J. Tang is an Associate Professor at Krannert Graduate
School of Management.
Vol. 26, No.3, July 1994 209
Several factors are usually considered in designing
a screening procedure. These factors include the goal
to be accomplished, the nature of the performance
variables, screening methods and criteria, available
information on the population, and economica and
manufacturing environments. As a result, the com
plexity of the design issue is afected by these factors.
For example, it can be as simple as designing a single
screening operation, or a complicated as designing
a system of screening operations for a multi-stage
manufacturing process. Furthermore, the situation
in which a training sample is required to estimate
the population parameters is more difcult to deal
with than when accurate information on the popu
lation is available. The baic factors considered in
designing screening procedures are listed in Figure 1
and are described in what follows.
Objective. Two separate objectives have been com
monly used to design screening procedures. One is
to optimize the expected total proft asociated with
a screening procedure, and the other is to use screen
ing to reach certain statistical goals, such as control
ling the outgoing nonconforming rate of the prod
uct. The methods using these objectives are known
a economic and statistical designs of screening pro
cedures, respectively.
In an economic design three cost components are
commonly considered: the cost of inspection, the cost
Journal of Quality Technology
Performance Variable
Screening Variable
Information on
Statistical Goals
Economic Goals
Statistical and Economic Goals
Single Variable
Multiple Variables
Single Grades
Multiple Grades
Inspection Error
Performance Variable
No Inspection Error
Single Variable
Correlated Variable
Multiple Variables
Parameters Known
Parameters Partially Known
Parameters Unknown
Manufacturing Systems
Inspection Methods
Corrective Actions
Process Conditions
FIGURE 1. Basic Factors in Designing Screening Procedures.
L type
S type
N type
of rejection, and the cost of acceptance. The cost of
inspection may include expenses of testing materi
als, labor, equipment, and so forth. The cost of re
jection is incurred by corrective actions taken on re-
jected items, such a repairing, scrapping, or return
ing the items to the supplier. The cost of acceptance
is caused by the items of imperfect quality that reach
the customers. This may include damage caused by
Joural of Quality Technology Vol. 26, No.3, July J 994
product failure, warranty cost, handling cost, loss in
sales, loss in goodwill, and so forth (Hald (1960)).
When proft is used as the objective, it is com
puted by the diference between the revenue and the
cost. The revenue depends on product quality and
market structure. For example, items may be sold to
several markets with diferent product specifcations
and prices.
The most commonly used statistical criterion is
the outgoing conforming rate. Note that when in
spection is error-free, the outgoing conforming rate
should be 100% after screening. However, the outgo
ing conforming rate becomes a meaningful and im
portant design criterion when nonconforming items
may not be detected because of inspection error or
for other reasons. Further note that economic factors
are usually considered implicitly in selecting statis
tical goals. For example, the outgoing conforming
rate should be set at a high level when the cost of
accepting nonconforming items is large. In fact, it
is also possible to incorporate both the economical
and statistical criteria in designing a screening pro
cedure. For example, one may want to minimize the
total related cost and, at the same time, require the
outgoing conforming rate to be above a given level.
Performance Variable. A performance variable is
a measure of a product's ability to satisfy stated or
implied expectations of the customers. A product
may have one or more performance variables such as
weight, color, and dimensions. A performance vari
able can be a continuous variable or an attribute
(qualitative) variable. Continuous variables can be
further divided into three types: the-nominal-the
best (N type), the-smaller-the-better (S type), or
the-larger-the-better (L type) (Taguchi, Elsayed, and
Hsiang (1989)). A product may have multiple grades
with specifcations for their performance variables
being diferent.
Screening Variable. A screening variable is a vari
able used to develop screening criteria (rules). When
the performance variable is used as the screening
variable, all the nonconforming items will be iden
tifed if the inspection is error-free. However, since
screening errors frequently occur because of inherent
variability in testing materials, environment, and/or
human inspectors, they should be taken into consid
eration if the inspection outcomes are signifcantly
In some situations it is attractive to use a surrogate
variable that is correlated with the performance vari-
Vol. 26, No. 3, July 1994
able as the screening variable when measuring the
performance variable is expensive, time-consuming,
or even destructive. This issue is interesting because
the relationship between the performance variable
and the surrogate variable is usually not perfect, and
it is also possible to use more than one correlated
Availability of Information on Population. Both
the statistical and economic approaches require us
ing the probability distributions of the performance
and/or the screening variables to evaluate the objec
tive functions. Most models for continuous variables
assume univariate or bivariate normality. If the dis
tribution parameters are unknown, sampling infor
mation and, possibly, prior distributions are used to
estimate the distribution parameters. In general, the
unknown-parameter cases are more complicated, es
pecially when more than one parameter is unknown.
Logistics. Knowledge of the manufacturing envi
ronment is essential to designing a screening proce
dure. For example, to efectively control the related
costs or conforming rate for a manufacturing system
with multiple stages (operations), screening proce
dures used after the stages should be designed jointly.
In addition, more efcient screening methods may be
designed for some special testing techniques. For ex
ample, group testing is applicable when a single test
can determine whether a pool of items is free of de
fect, and burn-in can be used to test all the outgoing
items under normal or stress conditions for a certain
period to screen out early failed items. The disposi
tion of rejected items, such a scrapping or repairing,
also afects the complexity of the problem.
The objective of this paper is to provide a sys
tematic review of the area of screening. The pa
per is organized as follows. The next section iden
tifes four representative models for single screening
procedures. These are Deming's (1986) all-or-none
rules, Taguchi's (1984) model for tolerance design,
Tang's (1988a) economic model for using correlated
variables, and statistical models for using correlated
variables. A literature review of single screening pro
cedures is given in the following section. Then, two
special screening procedures, burn-in and group test
ing, are discussed. Finally, special topics on inspec
tion planning, production process design, and selec
tive assembly are discussed. The organization of the
paper is shown in Figure 2.
Note that when the inspection is based on the per
formance variable, screening will identif all the non-
Journal of Quality Technology
conforming items in the inspected population if in
spection is error-free. However, if the distribution
parameters are unknown, one may be interested in
various statistical inferences on the population prior
to screening, either for planning purposes or for de
termining whether screening should be performed.
Much is written on this issue, including such topics
as confdence intervals for mean and variance, tol
erance intervals for a proportion of the population,
and so forth. The unknown parameter case when
correlated variables are used a screening variables
is more complicated because the screening limits are
typically functions of the sample means, variances,
and correlation coefcient of both the performance
and correlated variables. These statistical inference
issues on univariate and bivariate normal distribu
tions are not covered in this paper. Readers are re
ferred to the reviews and references given by Hahn
Basic Models
Single Screening
Additional Models
Special Screening Methods
Group Testing
(1970a, 1970b), Odeh and Owen (1980), Hutchinson
and Lai (1990), Fountain and Chou (1991). More
over, the collection of the equations for integrals of
functions of univariate, bivariate, and multivariate
normal density functions given by Owen (1980) is
very useful in evaluation and optimization of screen
ing models.
Basic Models for Single Screening
In a typical single screening procedure all the out
going items are subject to acceptance inspection. If
an item fails to meet the predetermined screening
specifcations, the item is rejected and subject to
corrective actions. In this section the formulation
methods and solutions of four basic models for single
screening procedures are discussed. These models
Deming's All-or-None Rule
Taguchi's Tolerance Design
Economic Models Using
Correlated Variables
Statistical Models Using
Correlated Variables
Statistical Models
Univariate Economic Models
Multiple Performance Variables
Multiple Correlated Variables
Inspection Errors
Selection of Screening Variables
Inspection Efort Allocation
Special Topics
Selection of Process Parameters
Selective Assembly
FIGURE 2. Organization of the Paper.
Journal of Qualify Technology Vol. 26, No. 3, July J 994
provide the basis for understanding and discussing
more specialized and more complex models.
Deming's All-or-None Rules
Deming (1986) showed that partial inspection to
remove nonconforming items is not economical for a
stable process (this is known as the all-or-none rules).
Suppose a lot of N items produced by a stable pro
cess is subject to attribute inspection. If an item is
inspected and found to be nonconforming, it costs r
to rework or replace the item, and an unfound non
conforming item will result in an acceptance cost of a.
Inspection is assumed to be error-free. Let s denote
the cost of inspecting an item and f the proportion
of the items that are inspected. Then the expected
total cost for this lot is
ETC = Nsf + rNpf + aNp(l- f)
where p is the lot proportion nonconforming. The
objective is to determine the value f* that minimizes
ETC. One can express ETC as
ETC = N (pa -f [(a -r)p -s])
where pa is the expected cost of accepting an item
without inspection, and (a - r)p - s is the per-item
expected payof of inspecting an item. Consequently,
{OO% ifp>s/(a-r)
This well-known result and its applications were dis
cussed in detail by Deming (1986) and Papadakis
Taguchi's Model for Tolerance Design
Consider a screening procedure where each outgo
ing item is subject to inspection on the performance
variable. Let Y denote an N-type performance vari
able with the target (ideal) value 7 and f(y) the
probability density function (pdf) of Y. Taguchi
(1984) suggested that the cost associated with an
item with Y = y be determined by the following
quadratic function
where k is a positive constant. For the purpose of
screening let [7 -8, 7 + 8] be the acceptance region,
and if the value y is outside this region, the item is
rejected and excluded from shipment. Let r denote
the cost associated with the disposition of a rejected
item and Sy the per-item cost of inspection. Then
Vol. 26, No. 3, July 1994
the per-item expected total cost associated with the
screening procedure is
where the frst and second terms are, respectively,
the per-item expected costs of acceptance and rejec
tion. The value 8
that minimizes ETCy is equal
to . (Tang (1988a)), which is the point where
(y,7) is equal to r. This is intuitive since it is eco
nomical to reject an item when the acceptance cost
is higher than the rejection cost. Furthermore, 8*
is independent of f(y). These results can be eas
ily extended for the S-type and L-type performance
variables (Taguchi, Elsayed, and Hsiang (1989)).
Economic Models Using Correlated Variables
Let the relationship between X and Y be described
by a joint pdf, h(x, y), and [Lx, Ux] be the acceptance
region for X, so that an item is rejected if its observed
value x falls outside the acceptance region. Let the
per-item cost of measuring X be s x and m( x) be the
marginal pdf of X. Then the per-item expected total
cost is
Ux 0
ETCx = J J (y, 7)h(x, y)dydx
Lx -e
where the frst and the second terms are the per
item expected costs of acceptance and rejection, re
spectively. Tang (1988b) gave the optimal screening
limits L and U; when (y,7) is a step, linear, or
quadratic function; and h(x, y) is a bivariate normal
pdf with known parameters. The case of an L-type
performance variable was discussed by Tang (1987).
Statistical Models Using Correlated Var
A common objective of statistical models when
using correlated variables is to determine screening
limits that raise the conforming rate from the pre
screening value 7 to a larger value A. Let p denote
the correlation coefcient between X and Y. Since
most studies dealt with the L-type performance vari
able and assumed a positive p, the discussion in the
remainder of this paper is for that situation unless
it is specifed otherwise. Note that the screening
Journal of Quality Technology
procedures for other situations (i.e., the S-type and
N-type variables and/or a negative p) can be eaily
obtained by simple transformations when h(x, y) is
Suppose an item is conforming if its Y value is
in the interval n. If the parameters of h(x, y) are
known, the objective is to fnd the lower screening
limit Lx for X, so that the conforming rate of the
accepted items is at least >, that is
Pr [Y E nix 2 Lx] 2 >.
Owen, McIntire, and Seymour (1975) developed ta
bles for fnding Lx when h(x, y) is a bivariate normal
pdf with known parameters.
If the distribution parameters are unknown, Lx is
a function of the sample means and variances of X
and Y and their sample correlation coefcient. As a
Pr [Y E nix 2 Lx]
becomes a random variable. In that cae the objec
tive is to fnd Lx so that
Pr {Pr [Y E nix 2 Lx] 2 >} 2 1 - a (1)
where 1 - a is the confdence level. This problem
is difcult because it involves fve unknown param
eters. There have been several diferent approaches
to address this problem. A literature review is given
in the next section.
Additional Models for Single Screening
In addition to the basic models discussed in the
lat section, more specialized models have been de
veloped baed on these baic models.
Statistical Models Using Correlated Variables
Owen and Boddie (1976) considered the situa
tion where the distribution parameters are partially
known. In addition to equation (1), they also con
sidered the expected tolerance interval suggested by
Wilks (1941), which satisfes
E {Pr [Y E nix 2 Lx]} =>.
Owen and Su (1977) studied several situations where
p and/or 'are unknown, which were not considered
by Owen and Boddie (1976).
When all the distribution parameters are un
known, the standardized conditional distribution of
Y given the sample t-statistic of X is called the nor
mal conditioned on t-distribution (Owen and Hass
Joural of Quality Technology
(1978) and Owen and Ju (1977)). Li and Owen
(1979) considered the N-type performance variable
and assumed all the distribution parameters are un
known. Their method uses> and the lower tolerance
limits of p and ' as the parameters of the normal
conditioned on t-distribution to fnd the standard
ized lower screening limit. Odeh and Owen (1980,
p. 12) gave the same method for the L-type perfor
mance variable. A brief review of the above methods
wa also given by Owen (1988).
Owen, Li, and Chou (1981) (OLC) studied a sit
uation where items are inspected using correlated
variable until a specifed number n of items are ac
cepted. The screening limit is determined so that at
least lout of the n items are conforming with a speci
fed confdence level. Both the known-parameter and
unknown-parameter cases were included in their dis
cussion. Note that the procedures proposed by Owen
and his co-authors use the non-central t-distribution
and the normal conditioned on t-distribution. These
distributions and related references were discussed in
detail by Odeh and Owen (1980).
Madsen (1982) proposed a selection procedure
with a slightly diferent objective; that is, to de
termine the largest subset of accepted items from a
fnite inspection lot so that the conforming rate of
the subset meets a pre-specifed level with a given
probability. Wong, Meeker, and Selwyn (1985) used
a noninformative prior in a Bayesian model for the
OLC procedure and showed, by a simulation study,
that the screening limits obtained using their method
were closer to the accurate values than those given
by OLC. Mee (1990) provided a more efcient but
less stringent method by directly approximating the
conditional probability
Pr {Pr [Y E nix 2 Lx] 2 '} .
Using simulation, the method was shown to yield
fewer rejected items than the methods in Odeh and
Owen (1980).
Boys and Dunsmore (1986) considered a predic
tive probability function approach using a prior dis
tribution and a sampling distribution to fnd screen
ing limits so that the probability an accepted item
is conforming reaches a satisfactory level. Boys and
Dunsmore (1987) tried to simplify the problem struc
ture for the unknown parameter case by transforming
the performance variable into an indicator variable
T = 0 or 1. Two approaches were discussed. The
frst one is the diagnostic paradigm (Aitchison and
Vol. 26, No. 3, July J 994
Dunsmore (1975)), which is based on the predictive
probability function of T given X, and the second
one is the sampling paradigm, which is based on the
conditional distribution function of X given T.
Tsai and Moskowitz (1986) introduced the concept
of individual unit misclassifcation error (IME) and
developed a one-sided screening procedure to con
trol both the IME and the outgoing conforming rate.
They assumed bivariate normality with known pa
Univariate Economic Models
Menzefricke (1984) introduced a cost structure for
the OLe screening procedure. Three costs were con
sidered: cost of inspection, cost of not having l con
forming items, and cost of accepting nonconforming
items. Both known and unknown parameter cases
were discussed. Boys and Dunsmore (1986) intro
duced a cost structure for considering the losses in
curred by screening out conforming items and retain
ing nonconforming items. Moskowitz, Plante, and
Tsai (1991) combined economic factors, IME, and
average outgoing nonconforming rate as a basis for
selecting a screening procedure. Bai, Kim, and Riew
(1990) studied one-sided and two-sided procedures
for the situations where all the parameters are known
and where some of the parameters are known. Baed
on the same cost structure, Kim and Bai (1992a)
studied the case where all the parameters are un
known. Kim and Bai (1992b) also considered screen
ing procedures in which the performance variable is a
dichotomous variable (similar to Boys and Dunsmore
(1987)), and its relation with the correlated variable
is described by the logistic model or normal model.
To reduce the possible screening errors caused by
the imperfect relationship between the performance
variable and the correlated variable, Tang (1988c)
proposed a two-stage procedure where each item is
inspected using a correlated variable at the frst stage
and inspected using the performance variable only
when the result at the frst stage is inconclusive. Hui
(1991) assumed the process mean (the mean of the
performance variable) may shift to another value (the
out-of-control state). A model was developed to de
rive the screening limits as well as the control limits
for monitoring the process. The performance vari
able is used a the screening variable, and the control
limits are based only on the current (single) observa
Tang (1989) considered a situation where the out
going items are sorted into one of two grades or
Vol. 26, No. 3, July J 994
scrapped. The two product grades have diferent
specifcations and, thus, prices. A loss is incurred
to the producer when an item is classifed into a
grade where quality does not meet the consumer's
requirement for that grade. On the other hand, a
loss in selling price is incurred when an item is clas
sifed into a lower product grade while it can meet the
consumer's requirement for a higher grade. Models
based on the performance variable and a correlated
variable were developed. Bai and Hong (1992) devel
oped a similar model for multiple markets and also
discussed situations where some distribution param
eters are unknown. Kim, Tang, and Peters (1992)
extended the two-stage model of Tang (1988c) to a
model with two product grades.
Park, Peters, and Tang (1991) proposed a sequen
tial procedure for screening a lot with unknown non
conforming rate. A decision is to be made after in
specting each item on whether to inspect another
item or to reject the remainder of the lot. An opti
mal stopping rule wa developed using a Bayesian ap
proach to maximize the expected diference between
the payof of fnding conforming items and inspection
Multiple Performance Variables
Tang and Tang (1989b) considered a product with
several performance variables and formulated eco
nomic models for two screening procedures. In the
frst procedure all the outgoing items are subjected
to acceptance (attribute) inspection using all the per
formance variables, and the disposition of each item
is determined by whether this item conforms to the
screening specifcations of the variables. In the sec
ond procedure the exact values of all the item's vari
ables are obtained for making a decision on this item.
A joint decision rule based on an aggregation of the
variables is developed. Lo and Tang (1990) extended
this model to a product with two product grades. A
bivariate model was discussed by Hui (1990), where
acceptance cost is a linear combination of functions of
two individual variables', either quadratic functions
or absolute values of the quality deviations from the
target values. The efects of inspection error were
also discussed.
Tang (1990) considered a product with multiple
performance variables produced by a serial produc
tion system, where a performance variable is deter
mined at each stage of the system. If an unacceptable
item is rejected and excluded from production in an
early stage, the production and inspection costs that
Journal of Quality Technology
would be invested on this item in the later stages can
be saved. Therefore, the screening rule at any stage
should be based on the quality of the product, the
total investment already on the item, and the invest
ment and the expected quality cost that would be
incurred in the later stages.
Butler and Lieberman (1984) considered a prod
uct (system) with several components. The product
fails if one or more components fails. When an item
fails, its components are sequentially tested until a
failed component is found. A heuristic procedure for
sequencing the order of inspecting the components
was proposed to identify a failed component after
the product (system) fails.
Multiple Correlated Variables
Owen, McIntire, and Seymour (1975) suggested
two decision rules that use two correlated variables
in a screening procedure. The frst method uses
a screening rule that requires an accepted item to
conform to the individual screening specifcations of
the two correlated variables. The second screening
rule is based on a linear combination of correlated
variables. Thomas, Owen, and Gunst (1977) pro
vided tables and procedures for using two correlated
variables based on the trivariate normal distribution.
They also obtained a linear combination of the two
correlated variables that maximizes the chance of ob
taining conforming items.
Moskowitz and Tsai (1988) extended their previ
ous work (Tsai and Moskowitz (1986)) based on the
IME to a double (twostage) screening procedure us
ing two correlated variables. At the frst stage an
item is inspected using a correlated variable. When
a decision cannot be reached at the frst stage, the
item is inspected using a second correlated variable.
Recently, Moskowitz, Plante, and Tsai (1993) pro
posed a multistage (sequential) screening procedure
that controls the maximum and average misclasif
cation errors for detecting hypertension in a series
of blood pressure measurements. Tang and Tang
(1989a) developed a cost model on the basis of the
second method suggested by Owen, McIntire, and
Seymour (1975). Tang and Tang also showed that
the optimal linear combination of the correlated vari
ables should have the maximum correlation coef
cient with the performance variable.
Inspection Error
It is well known that most inspection processes
have inherent variability due to various factors such
Journal of Qualify Technology
as variations in testing materials and inspecton.. For
attribute inspection there are two types of errors
(Case, Benett, and Schmidt (1975)). A Type I er
ror occurs when a conforming item is classifed as
nonconforming, and a Type II error occurs when a
nonconforming item is classifed as conforming. For
variable inspection, inspection error is characterized
in terms of bias and imprecision. Bia is the difer
ence between the true value of the performance vari
able of an item and the average of a large number
of repeated measurements of the same item, and im
precision is the dispersion among the meaurements
of the same item (Mei, Cae, and Schmidt (1975)).
When inspection error is present, losses are in
curred by rejecting conforming items and accepting
nonconforming items. Raz and Thomas (1983) dis
cussed sequencing several inspectors with diferent
inspection precision levels to meet a predetermined
outgoing conforming rate at minimum cost. Drury,
Karwan, and Vanderwarker (1986) examined the per
formance of diferent methods of combining two in
spectors for making inspection decisions.
Raouf, Jain, and Sathe (1983) considered a prod
uct with multiple performance variables and assumed
that failure to meet the specifcations of any one of
the variables results in rejection of the product. Be
cause of inspection errors, it may be necessary (or
economical) to inspect an item on the same perfor
mance variable more than once. A mathematical
model is formulated to determine the optimal se
quence of measuring the performance variables and
the optimal number of inspections to be performed
on each item in order to minimize the total ex
pected cost per accepted item. Dufuaa and Raouf
(1990) provided the mathematical proof of the opti
mal sequencing rule given in Raouf, Jain, and Sathe
(1983). Lee (1988) developed a simplifed version of
the Raouf, Jain, and Sathe (1983) model and derived
an efcient solution procedure for fnding the optimal
number of inspections. Jaraiedi, Kochhar, and Jais
ingh (1987) considered a similar problem and devel
oped a method to determine the minimum number of
inspections that must be performed on a lot to meet
a desired lot outgoing conformance rate.
Tang and Schneider (1987) discussed how to de
termine screening limits when inspection error is
present, and they investigated the economic efects
of inspection imprecision on a screening procedure.
It is assumed that the rejected items are reworked,
and two rework conditions were considered. In the
frst situation the rejected items can be reworked so
Vol. 26, No. 3, July 1994
that the performance variable is exactly equal to the
target value. In the second situation rework is baed
on the frst inspection result; therefore, the value of
the performance variable of the reworked items may
not be exactly equal to the target value.
Tang and Schneider (1990) showed that when in
spection error is present, the observed value of the
performance variable can be treated as a correlated
variable. Consequently, all the results asociated
with using correlated variables in screening are ap
plicable to the inspection error situation.
The inspection precision level may actually be a
decision variable in some situations. For example,
the inspection precision can be improved by using
the result of multiple tests on the same item. This
practice ha been used to test IC chips in the com
puter industry. Tang and Schneider (1988) discussed
a method of determining the optimal inspection pre
cision level baed on the tradeof of inspection cost
and the costs incurred by inspection errors.
Raz and Thoma (1990) collected several related
papers on human factors (errors) in inspection, in
cluding a review paper by Raz (1986) and another
one by Dorris and Foote (1978) on statistical quality
control methods.
Selection of Screening Variables
Searle (1965) used applications in genetics to study
the efectiveness of using an indirect selection method
baed on a correlated variable. A meaure of the
relative selection efciency for an indirect selection
method relative to a direct selection method wa in
troduced, and the sample standard error of this mea
sure wa derived. Then, conditions were given under
which an indirect selection method should be used.
Menzefricke (1984) used the screening procedure sug
gested by Owen, Li, and Chou (1981) to illustrate a
method for deciding whether a correlated variable
should be used in lieu of the performance variable.
The baic tradeof of using a correlated variable is
between the saving in inspection cost and the loss
caused by accepting nonconforming items and not
having enough conforming items. Both known and
unknown parameter cases were discussed.
Tang and Schneider (1990) showed that the ben
eft of using a correlated variable as the screening
variable is dependent on the correlation between the
correlated variable and the performance variable. In
spection error may "dilute" the correlation between
the two variables, which, consequently, reduces the
Vol. 26, No. 3, July 1994
efectiveness of using the correlated variable. How
ever, in practice it is often possible to fnd a corre
lated variable that requires a less complicated mea
suring process, so that the inspection error of using
a correlated variable is relatively lower than that of
using the performance variable. This may further
support the use of a correlated variable. Tang and
Schneider (1990) illustrated both theoretically and
empirically when a correlated variable should be used
as the screening variable.
Special Screening Procedures
In this section two special screening procedures are
discussed. The frst is burn-in, which is used to re
duce early product failure by testing (operating) all
the outgoing items under a normal or stress condi
tion for a fxed amount of time before shipping to
customers. The second is group testing, which is
used when it is possible to use a single test to verif
whether a group of items is free of nonconforming
Many industrial products have high failure rates in
their early lives. "Burn-in" is a procedure that oper
ates all the outgoing items for a fxed period under
normal or stress conditions to reduce early failures
before shipping a product to consumers. Recently,
Tusin (1990) reported an interesting development
and success in using environmental stress screening
(burn-in under special stress conditions) to improve
electronics reliability.
For many products there are three phases in their
product life cycle. The early stage (with relatively
high but decreasing failure rate) is called the infant
mortality phase, the stage with a constant failure
rate is called the normal phase, and the last stage
(with an increasing failure rate) is called the wear-out
phase. The point that separates the infant-mortality
and normal phaes is called the change-point.
A common practice is to test the product until it
reaches its change-point. If the burn-in period is too
long, then stress conditions are used to accelerate the
"aging" process. In order to estimate the change
point, several product life distributions have been
used, including Wei bull , gamma, lognormal, non
homogeneous Poisson, mixed Wei bull-exponential ,
empirical distributions, and others (Kuo and Kuo
(1983), Boukai (1987), and Hjorth (1980)). A sur
vey of change-point estimation was given by Zacks
(1983). Since then, Yao (1986) has studied the prop-
Journal of Quality Technology
erties of maximum likelihood estimation and Boukai
(1987) proposed a Bayes sequential estimation pro
cedure. Note that these studies asumed that all the
distribution parameters except the change-point are
known. If all the distribution parameters are un
known, it is a classical statistical estimation prob
lem. However, since stress conditions are often used,
the problem becomes much more complicated. This
is known as the area of accelerated life testing. First,
there should be a known relationship between the ac
tual product life and the life under stress conditions.
A well-known example is the Arrhenius model (Nel
son (1971)), which describes degradation over time
as a function of the operating temperature. Further
more, the stress conditions may be applied in difer
ent manners, such as step-stress (Nelson (1980)) and
progressive stress (Allen (1958) and Yin and Sheng
(1987)). Wadsworth, Stephens, and Godfrey (1986,
Chap. 18) provided a good introduction on how to
design an accelerated life test, a well a useful ref
erences, such as Nelson and Meeker (1978), Nelson
(1980, 1982), and Mann, Schafer, and Singpurwalla
The cost structure of designing a burn-in pro
cedure is very similar to the basic model in Tang
(1987). However, burn-in models are usually compli
cated because the burn-in (inspection) costs and the
product life distribution afer burn-in are functions
of burn-in time. Moreover, the cost asociated with
failed items after burn-in may be difcult to calcu
late. Some examples of cost models are a follows.
Stewart and John (1972) developed a Bayesian
model for determining the burn-in time and replace
ment schedule for non-repairable products. The cost
components considered in the model are burn-in cost,
manufacturing cost, and costs incurred by sched
uled and unscheduled replacements. Canfeld (1975)
studied a similar problem with a known product life
distribution. Plesser and Field (1975) considered a
repairable product with the number of failures fol
lowing a Poisson process. It wa asumed that the
product failure rate remained unchanged after repair.
The optimal burn-in time is determined by minimiz
ing the expected total cost of operating an item in
both burn-in period and service periods. Cozzolino
(1970) considered how long to continue the burn-in
process for repairable products. Weiss and Dishon
(1971) studied two situations where a specifc num
ber of items are required at the end of the burn-in
process. In the frst situation, failed items in the pro
cess are repaired, and in the second situation, failed
Journal of Quality Technology
items are not repaired and the shortage at the end
of the burn-in period is made up by new items with
zero burn-in time. Nguyen and Murthy (1982) for
mulated a model for determining the burn-in time for
a product sold with a warranty. Two types of war
ranty polices are considered. The frst is the failure
free policy, where all the failed items are repaired
or replaced in the warranty period. The second is a
rebate policy, where the customer is refunded some
portion of the sales price if the product fails during
the warranty period. Chou and Tang (1992) consid
ered Nguyen and Murthy's model for the failure-free
policy, but used the Wei bull-exponential mixed dis
tribution to describe the infant-mortality and normal
phases. They also studied the situation where the
change-point is unknown.
Much is written in the literature on burn-in pro
cedures. Readers are referred to Leemis and Beneke
(1990) and Kuo and Kuo (1983) for more detailed
reviews of burn-in models.
Group Testing
Group testing is used when all the nonconforming
items have to be removed from a population and it
is possible that a (group) test on a pool of items
can be used to detect whether the items in the pool
are all conforming. The beneft of group testing is
the savings in the cost of testing individual items
when all the items are conforming. If the group test
indicates that the items are not all conforming, the
items are retested individually, and nonconforming
items are identifed and removed from the lot. This
inspection procedure is called the two-stage group
testing procedure.
A well-known example is the blood-testing prob
lem considered by Dorfman (1964) where a large
number of blood samples are to be tested for con
tamination. Portions of blood samples can be tested
together. These samples are tested individually only
when the group test is positive. Additional examples
are leakage tests, fow tests (Sobel and Groll (1959)
and Hwang (1984)), and group factor screening in
experimental design (Watson (1961), Li (1962), and
Gurnow (1965)).
Designing a group testing procedure consists of se
lecting an appropriate group size to minimize the to
tal inspection efort. Using a large group size re
duces the frequency of group tests but increases the
chance of retests. It is evident that the distribution
of the number of nonconforming items is an impor-
Vol. 26, No. 3, July 1994
tant factor in making this decision. A common goal
of group testing models is to minimize the expected
total number of group and individual tests. An im
plicit asumption is that the costs of performing a
group test and an individual test are the same. If the
number of nonconforming items follows a binomial
distribution, the per-item expected number of tests
in Dorfman's problem is given by l/k + 1 - (1 _ p)
where k is the group size, and p is a known non
conforming rate. Samuels (1978) gave an eay way
to fnd the exact optimal group size. Many other
researchers; including Nebenzahl and Sobel (1973),
Nebenzahl (1975), Hwang (1972, 1975, 1978, 1980),
Lin (1974), Kumar and Sobel (1971), and Hwang,
Song, and Du (1981); studied the same problem un
der diferent distributional asumptions. Graf and
Roelofe (1972) incorporated inspection errors into
Dorfman's model.
There are many other forms of group testing. Ster
rett (1957) suggested a procedure to sequentially test
the items in a group that failed the group test. Indi
vidual testing is done until the frst nonconforming
item is found. Then the remaining items are again
tested in a group, and the procedure is repeated un
til all the nonconforming items are found. The ef
ciency of this method wa studied by Sobel and Groll
(1959). Gill and Gottlieb (1974) proposed a proce
dure to divide the group that wa found to contain
nonconforming items into two sub-groups, and this
procedure is applied recursively to the sub-groups
that fail the group test. Sobel and Groll (1959) con
sidered a procedure that divides the group that failed
the group test into successively smaller sub-groups.
Recursion equations were developed to determine the
sizes of the sub-groups. A detailed discussion of this
procedure wa given by Mundel (1984), and tables
for using this procedure were provided by Snyder
and Larson (1969). Mundel (1985) developed a cost
model which asumes that the costs of the group test
and individual test are diferent. The optimal group
size is found by minimizing the total expected test
cost. Li (1962) proposed a multi-cycle procedure for
screening experimental factors in which the whole
group of factors is divided into sub-groups at each
cycle, and all the sub-groups that fail the group test
(at leat one factor is signifcant) are pooled into the
group for the next cycle. Kumar (1965) considered
a multiple-grade situation where three possible in
spection outcomes are considered: good, mediocre,
and defective. Sobel and Groll (1959) discussed the
situation where a limited number of tests (group or
individual) can be performed on an individual item.
Vol. 26, No. 3, July J 994
Sobel (1960) discussed the restriction that a group
test can be applied only to adjacent items, not to
any arbitrary subset of items.
When p is unknown, Sobel and Groll (1966) devel
oped a Bayesian model using a beta prior distribu
tion. They compared it with the procedure asuming
p is known and another procedure baed on contin
ually updating estimates of p. They also discussed a
diferent type of procedure that allows "mixing" the
groups found to contain nonconforming items and
the uninspected items in order to form a new group
for further testing. Hwang (1984) proposed a robust
procedure for the cae where only the mean noncon
forming rate is available (the form of the distribu
tion is unknown). Schneider and Tang (1990) for
mulated a cost model using the Bayesian approach
for the two-stage procedure and showed that using
variable group sizes baed on simple updating proce
dure (Bayes' rule) can substantially reduce the total
inspection efort.
An interesting issue related to group testing is to
minimize the number of tests required to fnd one
nonconforming item fom a population. However,
the objective is not to screen all the nonconform
ing items from the population. This issue wa dis
cussed by Kumar and Sobel (1971), Hwang (1974),
and Garey and Hwang (1974). Kotz and Johnson
(1982) provided methods to compute the outgoing
conforming rates and the expected total number of
tests for group testing with inspection error.
Inspection Planning and Selection
of Process Parameters
In this section three special topics are discussed.
The frst is how to allocate screening eforts in a
multi-stage manufacturing system, the second is how
to design the process paraeters to optimize the
proft/cost, and the third is product variation reduc
tion by selective asembly.
Inspection Efort Allocation
In a multiple-stage manufacturing system "where
to inspect" and "how many to inspect" are important
decisions for controlling manufacturing costs. The
"topology" of manufacturing systems makes these
two decisions difcult. Two types of manufactur
ing systems have been studied. The frst one is a
serial system, where each stage or operation (except
for the beginning one) ha only one immediate prede
cessor. The second type is a non-serial system, where
Journal of Quality Technology
some stages may have multiple predecessors. In ad
dition, various dispositions of nonconforming items
found in the manufacturing process, such a repair
and replacement need to be considered.
There have been several heuristic rules concern
ing inspection location (Moore (1973) and Peters and
Williams (1984)). Some of these are:
1. Inspect afer operations that are likely to produce
nonconforming items
2. Inspect before costly operations
3. Inspect before operations where nonconforming
items may damage or jam machines
4. Inspect before operations that cover up noncon
forming items
5. Inspect before asembly operations where rework
is very costly.
The issue of inspection locations has been inves
tigated using mathematical programming methods.
For example, White (1966) considered a serial man
ufacturing system with m stages. A conforming item
becomes nonconforming at each stage in the system
with a known probability. A lot may be inspected
partially or completely prior to entering any stage,
and if a nonconforming item is found, it is replaced
by a conforming item. The cost of inspection may be
diferent in diferent stages, and the cost of replacing
a nonconforming item increases as the item moves
further through the system. The tradeof is whether
to inspect an item to avoid further wasteful invest
ments in a nonconforming item. The cost structure
at each stage is similar to that of Deming's model
(1986). However, the decisions at all the stages are
related. In particular, the decisions at earlier stages
should consider the cost and probabilistic structure
in the later stages, and the decisions made at earlier
stages will afect entering nonconforming rates at the
later stages.
A mathematical model is formulated to fnd the
optimal inspection proportions I, h, . . . , and 1m in
an m-stage manufacturing system. Note that if
is greater than 0, the ith stage becomes an inspec
tion location. White (1966) showed that the op
timal inspection proportions should be either 0 or
100%, which enables the model to be solved by sim
ple dynamic programming or integer programming
methods. Britney (1972) considered non-serial sys
tems and found that the all-or-none rules also ap
ply. In fact, most of the researchers have either
proved that a 0 or 100% inspection plan is optimal
or have assumed it based on previous research re
sults (Rabinowitz (1988)). Chakravarty and Shtub
Joural of Quality Technology
(1987) extended White's (1966) model to a multi
product situation where additional costs, setup, and
inventory carrying costs are considered. Ballou and
Pazer (1982) discussed the inspection allocation is
sue for a serial production system when inspection
errors are present. Two detailed reviews on this is
sue were recently prepared by Raz (1986) and Rabi
nowitz (1988).
Selection of Process Parameters
In some manufacturing situations, such a a bot
tling process, material (production) cost is a function
of the performance variable, and lower and/or upper
product specifcation limits are specifed. The pro
cess mean afects both the production cost and the
chance of producing nonconforming items. If inspec
tion is not destructive, nonconforming items can be
identifed by screening. Depending on the sales and
production situations, nonconforming items may be
scrapped, reworked, or sold at reduced prices. Con
sequently, the decision on setting a process mean
should be baed on the tradeofs among material
cost, payof of conforming items, and the costs in
curred due to nonconforming items. Baed on the
process condition, the studies in this area can be
classifed into two categories. In the frst, the pro
cess mean is asumed to be stable over time, and
in the second, the process mean decreaes/increaes
over time (or with the number of items produced).
The latter category is known a the "tool wearing
Stable Prcess. Springer (1951) considered a man
ufacturing situation where upper and lower specif
cation limits are both present and the performance
variable follows a gamma distribution. The per-item
cost associated with nonconforming items above the
upper specifcation limit (overflled items) can be dif
ferent from those below the lower specifcation limit
(underflled items). However, these costs are as
sumed to be constants (independent of the value of
the performance variable). The process mean that
minimizes the total cost asociated with nonconform
ing items is obtained. Nelson (1979) gave a nomo
graph for Springer's solution. Bettes (1962) studied
a similar situation with a given lower specifcation
limit and an arbitrary upper limit. Underflled and
overflled items are reprocessed at a fxed cost. The
optimal process mean and upper specifcation limit
are determined simultaneously.
Hunter and Kartha (1977) discussed the situation
where underfilled items can be sold at a (constant)
Vol. 26, No.3, July J 994
reduced price and a penalty (give-away cost) is in
curred by conforming items with excess quality (the
diference of the performance variable and the lower
limit). They derived a procedure for calculating the
optimal process mean. Nelson (1978) also provided
approximate solutions to this problem. Bisgaard,
Hunter, and Pallesen (1984) modifed Hunter and
Kartha's model by assuming that the selling price of
nonconforming items is a linear function of the per
formance variable. Carlsson (1984) discussed a more
general sales situation where the selling prices of the
conforming and nonconforming items are linear func
tions of excess ( "give-away") quality and "defcit in
quality" , respectively.
Golhar (1987) assumed that only the regular mar
ket (fxed selling price) is available for the conforming
items and that the underflled items are reprocessed
and sold in the regular market. Golhar and Pol
lock (1988) extended this model to include an upper
limit to reduce the cost associated with excess qual
ity by reprocessing the items above this limit. Solu
tion procedures for the optimal process mean and
the upper limit were also given in Golhar (1988).
Carlsson (1989) discussed a situation in which the
lots produced by a production process are subjected
to lot-by-lot acceptance sampling by variables, and
Boucher and Jafari (1991) studied the same problem
except that an attributes sampling plan is used to
decide whether a lot is accepted.
An implicit assumption in Golhar and Pollock's
model is that the process has an unlimited capacity
that can be used to reprocess items above the up
per limit. Schmidt and Pfeifer (1991) considered the
situation where the process capacity is fxed. Mel
loy (1991) considered products that are subject to
regulatory auditing (compliance tests) schemes. The
performance variable is the weight of the package,
which is determined by the weights of the product
and the tare (e.g., boxes). The process mean and
two-sided screening limits are used to minimize the
"give-away" product weight, subject to an acceptable
level of risk of failing the compliance tests. Tang and
Lo (1993) developed a model for jointly determining
the optimal process mean and screening limits when
a correlated variable is used in inspection. Note that
since a correlated variable is not perfectly correlated
with the quality characteristic, acceptance cost may
be incurred by accepting nonconforming items for
Tool Wearing Process. A tool wearing process is
a production process that exhibits decreasing (or in-
Vol. 26, No.3, July 1994
creaing) patterns in the process mean and/or vari
ance during the course of production. Typical ex
amples are machining, stamping, and molding oper
ations (Gibra (1967)). To control the loss incurred
by nonconforming items, it may be necessary to peri
odically stop the process in order to reset the process
by, for example, changing the tools or cleaning the
molds. If the process mean has a decreaing pat
tern, then setting a higher initial process mean can
reduce the frequency of resetting and, thus, the loss
of production time. Nevertheless, it can also result
in a higher production cost. Consequently, the initial
process condition and the run size (time for resetting)
are jointly determined to minimize the total related
Gibra (1967) considered a process where the pro
cess mean decreases constantly (linearly) over time
and the process variance remains constant. The op
timal process mean and run size are obtained by
minimizing the sum of resetting cost and the loss
due to nonconforming items. Arcelus, Banerjee, and
Chandra (1982) considered a situation with both
upper and lower specifcation limits and where the
process mean and variance increase linearly or non
linearly over time. Optimal solutions that mini
mize the average production cost per conforming
item were obtained for both infnite (continuous)
and fnite horizon production situation. Arcelus and
Banerjee (1985) incorporated the proft/cost struc
ture given by Bisgaard, Hunter, and Pallesen (1984)
into Gibra's model. Schneider, O'Cinneide, and
Tang (1988) used an AOQL constraint and a more
general asumption about tool wearing that allows
the deterioration (decreae) in the process mean to
be a random variable. The economic model for
this problem was developed by Schneider, Tang, and
O'Cinneide (1990). Note that screening was ex
plicitly assumed by Arcelus, Banerjee, and Chandra
(1982) but not by Gibra (1967) and Schneider, Tang,
and O'Cinneide (1990).
Selective Assembly. The quality variation of a
product is afected by the variations of its compo
nents and the assembly method. Random assembly
is a method in which components are chosen ran
domly for assembly. Suppose that weight is the per
formance variable, and it is determined by the sum
of the weights of two components. Using random a
sembly, the variance of the performance variable is
equal to the sum of the variances of the two compo
In contrast, selective assembly matches compo
nents according to certain rules. For example, the
Journal of Qualit Technology
units of each component can be frst sorted (screen
ing) into several groups, and then the units in a group
are assembled only with the units in a selected group
of another component. Using this approach, non
conforming rate and product variation are reduced.
Malmquist (1990) reviewed the literature and dis
cussed various approaches to reduce product varia
tion and nonconforming rate by using selective as
In this paper, we reviewed the literature in the area
of screening. The structure of the area of screening
is provided by the four basic models: Deming's all
or-none rules, Taguchi's model for tolerance design,
Tang's economic model for using correlated variables,
and statistical models for using correlated variables.
Then, various more detailed models based on these
four models were presented for diferent inspection
and manufacturing environments.
Most of the existing studies assume a stable pro
cess or a deteriorating process with a known pattern.
However, little has been done on using screening data
(especially on correlated variables) in process control
and improvement. Furthermore, in practice, pro
duction decisions and the design of a quality con
trol/ assurance system should be considered jointly.
For example, it wa shown that a vendor decision
may be changed due to implementing a screening
procedure (Tang (1988d)). Shih (1980) modifed the
simple inventory economic lot sizing (EOQ) model
by asuming that all the orders are screened. Kalro
and Gohil (1982) considered a lot size model with
backlogging where the number of items received may
be diferent from the order quantity. The diference
is described by a normal random variable. Lee and
Rosenblatt (1985) derived optimal order quantities
under two inspection policies. In the frst policy, a
lot is accepted without inspection, and is partially
inspected before it is sold to customers. In the sec
ond policy, all the items are screened before purchase,
and thus are free of nonconforming items. Porteus
(1986) considered the production-lot sizing problem
when there is a possibility that the production pro
cess may be out of control.
It should be pointed out again that a manufac
turer has to use process control and improvement
programs to improve product quality. This will, in
turn, enhance ones ability to survive in this compet
itive business world. Screening should be considered
Joural of Quality Technology
only as a short-term method to remove nonconform
ing items from a population, and dependence on in
spection to solve quality problems is inefective and
Dr. Kwei Tang's research was supported in part
by National Science Foundation Grant #DDM-
8857557 and Southern Scrap Material Company, Ba
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Key Words: Bur-In, Economic Design, Grup Test
ing, Multi-Stage Manufacturing System, Screening.
Vol. 26, No. 3, July 1994