What is Quality Control?
Quality Control (QC) is a procedure proposed to ensure that a manufactured product adheres to a defined set of quality criteria. In order to implement an effective QC program, the manufacturers first decide which specific standards the product has to be met. Then the extent of QC actions will be determined and the results will be reported to the management personnel. If too many failures occur, a plan must be devised to improve the production process and then that plan must be put into action. Finally, the QC process ensures that corrective efforts have produced satisfactory results.
QC in manufacturing highlights the importance of thorough examination and testing of the product quality to find defects. Companies that use QC in manufacturing processes usually have a team that focusses on testing a certain number of products to determine whether they meet the company’s standards. A structured QC approach is a part of a successful manufacturing process and provides better control of the production process. QC aims to let production run smoothly and at the lowest possible cost. Customer is the most discernible beneficiary of quality control. Therefore, companies need to ensure customer satisfaction, which leads to customer loyalty and word-of-mouth communication about the quality of the company’s product. Therefore, QC in manufacturing assists a company in both reputation and revenue.
Quality Control and Quality Assurance
In order to enhance the quality of the offerings, manufacturers use two techniques: Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA). These two practices make sure that the end product meets the stipulated quality requirements and defined standards. The truth is that both concepts have strong interdependence. QA relies mostly on the QC feedback and both work to deliver good quality products but they are different processes.
Although QA and QC are closely related concepts and both are aspects of quality management, they are fundamentally different in their focus:
A good point of reference for understanding the difference is the ISO 9000 family of standards. These standards relate to quality management systems and are designed to help organizations meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders.
In the ISO 9000 standard, clause 3.2.10 defines QC as: “A part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements.”
Clause 3.2.11 defines QA as: “A part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.”
Maintaining Quality in the Manufacturing Process
Manufacturing quality improvements fix the symptoms of failure rather than the root cause. This can be done by adding quality inspection steps that make it more efficient to fix defects. When teams develop the ability to determine root cause of defects in the manufacturing process, true solutions to problems are created that do not allow the return of the issue. It is also essential that the manufacturing staff is trained to understand the cost multipliers involved with warranty repair or replacement and the cost of damaged reputation. Once the staff take this perspective, a desire to find root cause for problem solving is inherently developed.
Work with your QA and QC teams to promote product quality and reliability through operational excellence and product life cycle management. It will take a team-based approach to make lasting change in manufacturing processes.