Quality Control, Quality Assurance, or both?

Lean Manufacturing Image

What Is Product Quality Control?
Whilst delivering products in a rapid fashion, striving to minimise cost and maximise profit, many manufacturers neglect the application of a disciplined quality control regime. The failure of some companies to use a quality control system are well documented, as seen in product recalls from  world class leading organisations.

In manufacturing, quality control is a process used to ensure products meet a company’s and often in addition customers quality requirements before they are sold into the external market. Quality control in manufacturing emphasizes the importance of thoroughly examining and testing the quality of products to find defects. Companies that use quality control in manufacturing processes typically have a team of workers who focus on testing a certain number of products at random to determine whether they meet the company’s standards.

Quality Control Benefits
The most obvious beneficiary of quality control is the customer, who receives a high-quality product. This in turn benefits the company by ensuring customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business, customer loyalty, and spreading the word about the quality of the company’s product. Therefore, quality control in manufacturing pays off for a company in both reputation and revenue.

Effectiveness of Quality Control.
Quality control in manufacturing is typically performed at the end of the production process, before products go out the door. This approach however has limited effectiveness, because defects are uncovered only after the product is ready to be delivered. Therefore, time and resources are wasted creating defective products.

Quality Assurance, Quality Control or Both?
The aim of quality assurance is to streamline a production process such that finished products are more likely to meet the company’s quality criteria. The difference between quality control and quality assurance is that quality control evaluates the finished product, reactive process, while quality assurance ensures the manufacturing process, proactive process, will produce high quality products. Quality assurance can be combined with quality control to avoid the limitations of using only quality control in manufacturing.

Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Lean Manufacturing.
Companies that use quality assurance to prevent problems during production and quality control as a final check before distribution will benefit by wasting less resources. This is a component of lean manufacturing, which aims to get rid of any unnecessary part of the production process, thus resulting in a more efficient production process. By using both quality assurance and quality control, a manufacturing business can guarantee they are sending out the highest quality products possible while saving time and money because of gains in efficiency.

Implementing an Effective Quality Control Process.
Quality assurance of the manufacturing process should adequately prevent defective products. However, a quality control process should still be in place as a final check for product quality. To implement an effective quality control program, a company should first decide which quality standards the product is required to meet. Next, designated employees, inspectors, will test the products and report the results to management. If defective products are found, management must decide whether to repair or reject those products. If a large percentage of products have defects, management will bring production to a halt until whatever is causing the problem is corrected. They will look over the quality assurance process and see why the problem was not prevented.

FBX Solutions can assist manufacturing businesses of all sizes to effectively implement quality assurance, quality control and lean manufacturing processes to bring enhanced benefits to both the business and their customer base. Please contact us for more information on how we could benefit your organisation.