What exactly is a Government Source Inspection (GSI)?
Federal regulations require that agencies ensure that supplies and services meet contract requirements. Inspection of supplies and services before transfer or acceptance is a key facet of the Department of Defense (DoD) quality assurance program.
At times, we receive work from a customer that is part of a government contract. One of the contract terms may state that the non-destructive testing services need to have a Government Source Inspection (GSI), most likely for Critical Safety Items (CSIs), and/or First Article Inspections (FAIs).
When this occurs the first step our customer needs to take is notifying their Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) at the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). If you are unaware of who your QAR is, a good starting point would be contacting the DCMA Service Center at 1-888-576-DCMA (3262).
A purchase order for the non-destructive testing services should be provided to the QAR along with any drawings and applicable specifications. The purchase order should clearly state the need for a GSI for each line item as applicable. This statement can be as simple as “Government Source Inspection needed” or more detailed by stating, “In accordance with 52.246-2, Government Source Inspection is required prior to shipment from your facility. Upon receipt of this order, promptly notify the government QAR who normally services your facility so that the appropriate planning for Government Source Inspection can be accomplished.”
By providing the QAR a copy of the purchase order, the QAR is prompted to verify the need for the GSI and to initiate the Letter of Delegation (LOD). The LOD is given to a Quality Assurance Inspector (QAI) who then contacts the non-destructive testing supplier (in this case, the supplier would be American Testing Services) to schedule a date/time for the on-site inspection.
The QAI comes out to our facility, performs the inspection, and collects all the data he/she may need to grant approval. He/she then signs off on the final inspection report and sends that back to the non-destructive testing supplier, allowing us to release the parts and inspection report to you (our customer).
As you can see, there are quite a few steps in the process to get a GSI completed, and it may take some time. In our experience, it has even been known to take several weeks. We will do everything in our power to facilitate the inspection, but the QAI is in control of the schedule. Just be sure to allow extra lead time for a new project requiring Government Source Inspection.