Quality assurance vs. quality control

5 min
Quality control manager testing product quality

As a business manager, you know that your reputation is everything. Protecting your brand and building your customer base means providing a consistent, reliable, and, most importantly, high-quality product. 

To do that, you need to have a solid grasp of quality assurance and quality control. To help, we're going to cover both of these processes in detail. That way, you can start to strengthen both QA and QC at your business and build your brand. 

What is quality assurance?

Quality assurance, or QA, is the process of confirming that your business's quality requirements are being met. You should already have an idea in mind of the level of quality for your product. It's your goal post, a measurable way to track elements of your product that determine its quality. 

QA is the strategies and processes you use to verify that your products meet that goal. 

Quality assurance is proactive and preventative

This is a forward-looking strategy used to maintain the quality of your products. You can think of it as being proactive and preventative. The goal is to get ahead of the quality of your products so that you can reduce the amount of time you spend correcting mistakes. 

Another way of thinking about QA is that it builds quality into your products. This can substantially reduce the need to test and check the quality of your output. 

What is quality control?

On the other hand, quality control is the process of checking that products have met your quality goals. It takes place after QA and the manufacturing process. It looks backward rather than forwards.

During QC, you'll be inspecting and auditing products on various metrics. For the food industry, you could be checking for freshness and flavor. For glass manufacturing, you may be looking for air bubbles and durability. 

Whatever sector you work in, quality control acts as a failsafe. It's how you ensure that your QA is working as it should. 

Quality control is reactive and corrective

With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that quality control is reactive and corrective. If QA is used to set you on the right path, QC is there to ensure you're staying on the right track.

When establishing your quality control strategy, you'll want to consider things like how often you check your products, how you correct a product that doesn't meet your metrics, and what metrics you're grading for in the first place. 

How to manage quality assurance vs. quality control in your manufacturing

Now that we've covered the difference between quality assurance and quality control, it's time to discuss how you can manage both of these processes in your business. Below are specific practices you can embrace to ensure you're on the right track. 

QA focuses on perfecting systems to improve quality

Since quality assurance is all about creating workable systems, make sure your training, planning, documentation, and monitoring are regularly updated. Since quality assurance is about proactive strategies, you're going to want to focus on the processes that go into developing and manufacturing your product. That means keeping your staff trained, your processes planned thoroughly, having plenty of documentation, and regularly updating your monitoring practices. 

These are all factors you can set up ahead of time to ensure that your product is consistent.

Update your processes 

Next, you should be updating these processes regularly. These are the processes that will be used to maintain your product quality, so they shouldn't go unchecked or unmonitored for any significant length of time. 

As your product evolves, so should your QA practices. Keep your training relevant, planning on point, and read through and update your documentation as needed. 

Use a software solution to stay organized

When keeping up with all of the various QA processes you've put in place, relying on a software solution can be helpful. You can use software like Brahmin Solutions to help you keep track of your inventory, production planning, and more. 

It can also help you keep each of these components organized and automated. As mentioned, the goal of QA is to build quality into your products, and software is the perfect tool to help.

Quality control focuses on checking the quality of products after production

Identify and remedy mistakes

Since quality control is the more reactive approach, the first step it involves is identifying and remedying mistakes. This is where audits and testing come into play. 

You should periodically check your products for defects, issues, and subpar output. Then, you should identify the cause of these issues and put the right teams on solving the problem. 

Define your testing procedures

Next, you'll need to define the testing procedures to perform quality control. That includes:

  • Determining your quality standards for each product
  • Selecting a quality control method 
  • Deciding how many of each batch you'll test/check
  • Ensuring that staff is properly trained in your QC procedures

Keeping these processes updated and outlined will go a long way toward creating reliable QC measures. It'll also prevent oversight from your team because they'll know what to look for. 

Quality assurance vs. Quality control: Maintaining the quality of your products

While quality assurance and quality control are separate processes, they can and should work together to help you reliably produce quality products. To do so, you'll need an approach as proactive as it is reactive. 

That's where Brahmin Solutions comes in. Our experts have crafted software for manufacturers to build quality in mind. Reach our experts today to learn more

Related Blogs