Quality is an important factor when it comes to any product or service. With the high market competition, quality has become the market differentiator for almost all products and services. Quality control is essential to building a successful business that delivers products that meet or exceed customers’ expectations. It also forms the basis of an efficient business that minimizes waste and operates at high levels of productivity. A quality control system based on a recognized standard, such as ISO 9001 published by the International Organization for Standardization, provides a strong foundation for achieving a wide range of marketing and operational benefits.
Therefore, all manufacturers and service providers out there constantly look for enhancing their product or the service quality. In order to maintain or enhance the quality of the offerings, manufacturers use two techniques, quality control and quality assurance. These two practices make sure that the end product or the service meets the quality requirements and standards defined for the product or the service.
There are many methods followed by organizations to achieve and maintain required level of quality. Some organizations believe in the concepts of Total Quality Management (TQM) and some others believe in internal and external standards. The standards usually define the processes and procedure for organizational activities and assist to maintain the quality in every aspect of organizational functioning.
When it comes to standards for quality, there are many. ISO (International Standards Organization) is one of the prominent bodies for defining quality standards for different industries. Therefore, many organizations try to adhere to the quality requirements of ISO. In addition to that, there are many other standards that are specific to various industries.
Since standards have become a symbol for products and service quality, the customers are now keen on buying their product or the service from a certified manufacturer or a service provider. Therefore, complying with standards such as ISO has become a necessity when it comes to attracting the customers.
Every organization that practices QC needs to have a Quality Manual. The quality manual outlines the quality focus and the objectives in the organization. The quality manual gives the quality guidance to different departments and functions. Therefore, everyone in the organization needs to be aware of his or her responsibilities mentioned in the quality manual.
Quality Assurance is a broad practice used for assuring the quality of products or services. There are many differences between quality control and quality assurance. In quality assurance, a constant effort is made to enhance the quality practices in the organization. Therefore, continuous improvements are expected in quality functions in the company.
When it comes to our focus, we understand that quality control is a product-oriented process. When it comes to quality assurance, it is a process-oriented practice. When quality control makes sure the end product meets the quality requirements, quality assurance makes sure that the process of manufacturing the product does adhere to standards. Therefore, quality assurance can be identified as a proactive process, while quality control can be noted as a reactive process.