The Umbrella of Quality or Quality System

Quality Management System (QMS), Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) are part of Quality umbrella.

  • Quality Management System (QMS): All organizational processes that ensures quality.
  • Quality Assurance (QA): All the planned activities that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a service or product fulfill client requirements for quality.
  • Quality Control (QC): The inspection of implemented techniques and activities to ensure they are fulfilling requirements for quality.

Difference between Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA)

Quality Control (QC)Quality Assurance (QA)
Aimed to identify & fix defectsAimed to avoid or prevent defects
Reactive process, and its activity starts as soon as working on deliverable starts (corrective technique & reactive measures)Proactive process, and its activity starts before the work on deliverable starts (preventive technique & proactive measures)
Method to verify the quality validationMethod to manage the quality verification
Always involved in executing the programNot involved in executing the program
Procedure to verify the deliverablesProcedure to create deliverables
Involves in full software testing life cycleInvolves in full software development life cycle
QC confirms that the standards are followedQA defines standard and methodologies to meet customer requirements
Performed only after QA activities are completedPerformed before quality control
It is a high-level activity and can identify error or defects that QA cannotIt is low-level activity and can identify mistake or error which QC cannot
Require testing teamRequire whole team
Statistical quality control (SQC) applied on QCStatistical process control (SPC) applied on QA

Common Myths about Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA)

The common myths about QC and QA are –

  • Both are the same
  • Both can find all the bugs in the products, and services
  • Both are enemies of the developers
  • This is initiated when product is fully developed
  • Both are responsible for quality of the products
  • Anybody finds the bug can become a QA

Example of Quality Control and Quality Assurance

  • Quality Control: Inspection, software testing or product testing
  • Quality Assurance: Quality Audit

Quality Control (QC)

It is a process or procedure which a business seeks to ensure that a product or service quality is maintained or improved by adhering to a defined set to quality criteria or quality requirement of the client. It is in need of a business to create an environment where both management and employees strive for perfection. This is done by training personnel, creating benchmarks for product or service quality and testing products or service to check for statistically significant variations.

A major aspect of quality control is the establishment of well-defined controls that helps standardize both production and reactions to the quality issues. Limiting room for error by specifying which activities are to be completed by which personnel reduces the chance that employees will be involved in tasks for which they do not have adequate training.

So to summarize –

  • A business seeks to ensure that product quality is maintained or improved through QC process.
  • Quality control involves testing of units and determining if they are within the specifications for the final product or service.
  • A business uses QC which is highly dependent on the industry or product and several techniques exist for measuring quality

Understanding of Quality Control

Quality control involves software testing or product testing and determining if they are within the specifications for the final product or service. The purpose of the testing is to determine any needs for corrective actions in the process. The companies meet the consumer’s demands for better products or services which indicates the effectiveness of quality control.

Quality testing involves each step of the process (manufacturing or development of products). Usually the employees begin with the testing of raw materials, pull samples from along the manufacturing line and test the finished product. Testing at various stages helps identify where problem is occurring and the remedial steps it requires to prevent it in the future.

The Techniques of Quality Control

Several methods are used to measure the performance of the quality control. A quality control chart depicts in a graphical way whether sampled processes or products are meeting their intended specifications or indicates the degree by which they vary from those specifications. There are two types of charts –

  • Univariate chart: It analyzes a specific attribute of the product.
  • Multivariate chart: It measures variances in several product attributes.

The products are tested randomly for the given attribute(s) that the chart is tracking. A common form of a quality control chart is the X-Bar Chart, where the y-axis on the chart tracks the degree to which the variance of the tested attribute is acceptable. The x-axis tracks the samples tested. To determine the defects which are occurring randomly or systematically and make product or service defective, quality control charts can be helpful by analyzing the pattern of variance.

Another method of quality control is the Taguchi method. It emphasizes on reducing the occurrence of defects and failures in products by research and development, product design, and product development. According to the Taguchi method, design is more important than the manufacturing process in quality control and tries to eliminate variances in production before they can occur.

Quality control processes can be used in any types of businesses such as service-based or product-based, B2C or B2B. For any successful business, quality control is a key component. A quality control program helps to ensure small business is delivering a consistent product, service and customer experience. Developing quality control processes allows business to operate without you, making it easier to expand into new locations, delegate duties and even sell business when the time comes.

Business growth requires careful attention to both dollars and people, and quality control helps ensure monitoring both. If products or services are poor quality, lead to spend a lot of time and money redoing them and cutting into profit margins. If customers are not happy with the quality of products and services, they'll stop doing business with you.

Quality Control Tools for Process Improvement

Quality is a very important feature to sustain successful businesses. It is necessary to provide convenient products and services to the customer which is worth the money they pay. For any successful business, customer satisfaction is always the most important goal. A business should use the Seven Quality Control tools (7 QC Tools) to ensure the best possible products and services are sold to the customers at a consistent level. To maintain the consistency of the products, and services being produced which can be achieved by efficient and effective usage of 7 QC tools.

For any process and product improvements, 7 QC tools are considered as a systematic and scientific methods for problem solving technique. It is used to solve 90% of shop floor problems very easily and it improves workplace.

Why to use the 7 QC tools?

It is a set of graphical techniques identified as the most helpful in troubleshooting issues related to the quality. It is essential to improve the process and product quality. Furthermore, it is used to scrutinize the production process, identify the key issues, control fluctuations of product quality, and give solutions to avoid future defects.

These tools facilitate the organization to resolve the basic problems. When an organization starts their quality improvement journey, they normally have many low hanging fruits; which should be tackled with these basic 7 QC tools. It is easy to understand and implement and does not need complex analytical/ statistical competence.

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) has defined the 7 QC tools which are accepted throughout the quality engineering community. It includes:

  • Cause-and-Effect Diagrams / Fishbone Diagram
  • Pareto charts
  • Control Charts
  • Scatter diagrams
  • Histograms
  • Flowcharts
  • Checklists

Common Mistakes

The company often makes common mistakes during the checking process or lies in unreliable procedures.

  • Only trains some employee involved
  • Misunderstand the products specifications and quality standards
  • Use improper tools
  • Management Representative (MR) involves in the reporting
  • Do the process manually

Inspectors often make mistakes which provoke the management to have complete and thorough quality control procedures to prevent recurring troubles. The quality control can be more accurate and effective if the employees, documents, and technical aspects are following the procedures.

Context and Applications

This topic is important for the students pursuing the below-mentioned disciplines.

  • Master in Business Administration
  • Masters in Commerce
  • Bachelor of Economics
  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Statistical Process Control
  • Testing

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