Quality Control vs. Quality Assurance? What’s the Difference?

Quality Control vs. Quality Assurance? What’s the Difference?

Quality control and quality assurance are both necessary for creating a perfect final product. Though many use the terms interchangeably, they are separate practices.

Understanding the differences in either will only give you a heightened understanding of what it takes to achieve and maintain the development of flawless productions.

QA and QC By Definition:

Establishing an understanding of quality control and quality assurance begins with going over the basic definition of either. It gives you the foundation necessary for properly implementing either process into any project.

  • Quality Control: The process of maintaining standards by comparing and correcting a final product against the specification.
  • Quality Assurance: The maintenance of desirable quality through every stage of the production process.

It’s important to understand that these concepts aren’t only applicable to the production of goods. Both are useful tools to rely on when producing anything from consumables and tools to the construction of a home or office.

Proactive Vs. Reactive

In simple terms, quality assurance is a process that prevents deviation from specifications from occurring. Quality control is a process of identifying defects or variations that are present in a final product.

A simple way to look at things is by identifying quality assurance as a proactive process and quality control as reactive.

From a managerial standpoint, quality assurance is done by supervising projects and ensuring the process meets the manufacturer’s standards. It’s taking the time to give advice or make the adjustments necessary that prevent defects or mistakes from occurring.

Quality control is going over a final product and making sure no defects are present. It is a thorough inspection of all the components of a final structure or project or reviewing a sample batch of goods. If any issues are present, proper quality control enforces the adequate steps to correct it.

Quality Control vs. Quality Assurance

Who is Responsible for What?

Quality assurance is a group effort and achievable through careful attention to detail of every step. And while it is the project manager’s job to take the proper steps to ensure quality is of utmost importance, each worker does contribute.

A dedicated individual or group performs quality control after a production process. In many cases, the dedicated personnel review the product once it has reached its final state to ensure that it is safe and to specifications. But quality control may be present through the various stages of a process as they reach completion.

It can become confusing when quality control practices are applied to the various parts of a product before it is in its final state.

For example, the framework of a product, the internal components, and even the materials used will likely undergo a quality control process before the final assembly. But remember, control is a review of an item, and assurance is the maintenance of standards during production or assembly.

The Importance of Proper Quality Management

A quality management system is the best way for management teams to enforce and engage in quality assurance activities.

The system compiles quality planning and quality improvement activities together. It defines standards and can include training programs, documentation, and feedback from workers. Every part of a QMS contributes to maintenance or improvements to ensure the final product meets specifications.

Hearing out crew members and QC Personnel’s concerns or questions allows you the opportunity to prevent issues from occurring.

Whether it be through incorporating their feedback of the process into production standards or giving them additional information, you are only increasing the quality of a product.

Engaging with workers can also help motivate them to work with better efficiency and increase productivity levels. Another aspect of being considerate of are any safety concerns they may have. Often, quality is sacrificed when workers are at risk of injury, so you should listen to any safety concerns to mitigate the issue and improve the process.

It is also essential to keep a focus on the client or consumer. Even if a product meets the specification, it doesn’t mean the design doesn’t need improvements. Their real-world experiences and use of the product are a great way to identify any design flaws. You can use this information to make necessary adjustments to the product design or the materials it relies on for construction.

For more, contact Path Light Pro.

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