Quality control and quality assurance are two associated concepts but there are sharp differences between them. If you are a business owner and thinking about which one is better for your business, you have come to the right place! Here we are going to reveal the key difference between quality control and quality assurance concepts in brief segments for your clear understanding. But, before that, let’s start with a little introduction of the two.
Quality Assurance (QA)
Quality assurance is defined as the set of activities that ensure all the essential quality requirements are fulfilled by a business in its products/services. In other words, it implies a planned approach with certain procedures which help in preventing errors in the processes and defects in the final output.
Quality Control (QC)
Quality control is defined as a set of best practices for inspecting products to ensure they fulfil certain quality requirements. To put it simply, the practices are meant to identify any defects in the end products and correct them.
While both concepts seem to be interrelated, here is the bigger picture for you.
Practical Differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
QA is a process-oriented approach i.e., it focuses on improving the processes of a business to prevent defective products or substandard services. On the other hand, QC is product-oriented. It focuses on improving the quality of final products by identifying the defects and rectifying them.
However, the purpose of both is same- to ensure the satisfaction of customers who use the products or services.
QA is a much more comprehensive approach than QC. To put simply, QA covers every process used to produce a product/service but QC only focuses on final resulting products.
QA procedures are hence vast and include:
• Frequent audits
• Supplier management
• Employee training
• Change management
• Management reviews
QC procedures are on the other hand quite less. They include:
• Product sampling
• Product batch inspection
• Validation testing
• Lab testing
• Customer review analysis
QA procedures require proactive participation of the entire organisation. Every member at every process must be aware of the QA activities and should follow them responsibly. Only with uniform participation of your entire team can the QA approach be effective.
QC procedures involve only a handful of dedicated personnel whose responsibilities include testing of products and handling procedures to validate them.
The outcome of QA is a perfect roadmap in your organisation for superior-quality products. It also helps in benchmarking your quality performance in the industry and sets you apart.
QC procedures result in verifying the products after they are manufactured and hence ensures that defect-free products reach the customers. It assures the safety and consistency of products.
QA is applicable to all types of businesses offering any product or service. It is an integral part of their quality management system. However, QC is only applicable to the businesses that produce and sell tangible products.
Therefore, QC might be a foreign concept to many service-based organisations which do not have any tangible item to inspect and verify.
Despite the clear difference between quality control and quality assurance, neither of them is optional for your business. Also, determining which one is better for business is not possible. Whether you need QA or QC, it depends on the nature of your output i.e., if it is a product or service. However, if you aim at achieving the highest quality management standard, ISO 9001 for your business, quality assurance (QA) is the needed approach.
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