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Is Quality Control And Quality Assurance The Same Thing?

Definition of Quality Control

Quality Control, often abbreviated as QC is a significant part of Quality Management System (QMS) whose entire spotlighted focus is to abide all the quality standards and requirements. QC is more of a product quality oriented approach. The outcomes of QC are more of periodic inspections based.

What the Heck is Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance, commonly abbreviated as QA is also an important part of Quality Management System (QMS) which is more process oriented by which products are being manufactured and whose major emphasis is on quality defects prevention.

QC & QA in Industrial Perspective

It is important to have a clear cut distinguished definition of Quality control and manufacturing industry so that separate roles and responsibilities can be performed effectively by both the departments.

Quality Control: A Defect Detection Strategy

Quality control is a more of a defect detection and control methodology. QC practices deals with the set of activities that are made to determine the quality of the manufactured products or services ensuring that it should meet the desired quality standards as prescribed in the quality standard.

Quality Assurance: A Defect Prevention Strategy

Quality assurance is a more focused approach towards defects before they actually happen in the very first place. QA is more of a proactive tactic as compared to QC as it deals with the relevant planning and documentation all to prevent defects happening in the first place.

Comparison between QC & QA

S. No. Aspects Quality Control                                Quality Assurance
1. Concept Quality control is a set of best practices whose focus is to ensure flawless product quality. Quality Assurance is a set of best practices whose focus is to ensure flawless quality in the manufacturing process through which final products are being developed.
2. Spotlight On The spotlight of Quality Control is to identify and rectify defects in final product. The spotlight of Quality Assurance is to prevent defects in the process through which final product is developed.
3. Approach QC is Corrective approach towards defects. QA is Preventive approach towards defects.
4. Example The practical example of QC is product testing. The practical example of QA is product validation.
5. Focus Product Oriented Process Oriented

 

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Quality Assurance Frameworks

How Auditing & QA are interlinked with Each other?

Auditing is part and parcel of QA functions whose entire purpose is to draw a comparison between conditions that actually exists versus the requirements of the standard procedures. Quality audit is a practice to verify the effectiveness of Quality Assurance department for not only identifying the defects but for the number of customer complaints regarding product quality, minimization of rework generation and other waste reduction during production cycles. The core essence of QA Audit is to check the amount of orientation of any firm towards winning customers’ satisfaction, trust and confidence. An active QA team plays a vital role in retention of loyal customers.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality management is one of the quality assurance framework which is more linked towards the final product quality rather having a paperwork of error observing, defects recording in order to present as a Metrics of the Product Quality Performance. TQM is a business oriented approach which directs towards continual improvement of manufacturing process by reducing waste generation and defected products, high end quality products and services which all results in customers’ satisfaction.

Method of Writing QC/QA Plan

The steps of writing a methodology about designing a QC/QA plan are as follows:

  • Making an Organizational Plan: Detailed job descriptions with defined roles and responsibilities are initial requirements of Quality assurance plan. Secondly, Training Need Analysis (TNA) of every employee (Starting from top leadership managers to junior shop floor team) should be made by mentioning competency level of team members. After TNA being designed, the next step is to make and circulate a training calendar among the employees and managers should be stressed upon the fact that the team working under them should be spared from their day to day tasks so that they can attend their scheduled training sessions.
  • Verification of Work: The QA plan must not only dependent on the person who will be taking all required actions but also on the senior managers who will be keeping a professional check on the completion of the work with defined timelines.
  • Receiving of Raw Materials: Any material that is being purchased should have the specifications defined and any purchased material that doesn’t meet the required specifications should not be put into use to make the final product.
  • Supplier / Vendor Qualification: Suppliers / Vendors should undergo a detailed quality inspection and quality assurance procedure so that the raw materials they provide will also of specified quality standards following the final product being made of unmatched premium quality.
  • Feedback of Customers: Observing consumers’ behavior and recording their feedback voices is another essential part of QA plan. In case any customer feels dissatisfied with your products or services then there should be a proper channel through the customer can launch a complaint against your products or services. After launching a complaint, its closure should be ensured along with specific action plan which can ensure that the same flaw or same mistake would not happen again in the system or in the product and it will not lead to repetitive same natured consumer complaints.
  • Corrective and Preventive Actions: Every defect that happens to appear in the system must be solved after taking actions against the actual root cause. The mindset of the team should be formed in a way that they start disregarding quick fixes to be made in the system which are another temporary solutions that tends to fail in the longer run. It is mandatory to realize that only correcting the mistake is not enough, one must be able to devise such solutions that resist the same mistake to happen in future so a need of comprehensive corrective and preventive actions should be designed after getting approval from all the stakeholders of the final product or services.

About Sunita Verma

Sunita Verma, Founder and President of Sync Resource started the company in 2009 with a vision to provide management consulting to small & medium size businesses around the country. Sunita holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering(India) with prestigious gold medal by then President of India and renowned Scientist Dr Abdul Kalam Azad. As an active philanthropist she believes in pay it forward and is a contributing member of charitable organizations like St. Jude’s Foundation and North Fulton Charities.

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