What is Quality Control (QC)? How Does QC Works?

Quality Control (QC) is at the apex of industrial product management and caters to identification and product quality detection. It revolves around testing units conducted to meet the required criteria and customer satisfaction with a product. QC is a reliable process that reduces resource waste in factories and other business firms. It increases efficiency and increases the company’s total productivity. 

Define Quality Control (QC)  

Before delving into the details, we must find the answer to ‘What does QA and QC stand for?’. 

QC stands for quality control, and QA for quality assurance. 

Maintaining the consistency and safety of goods and services in industries encompasses the answer to ‘what is quality control’. Quality control refers to how a corporation monitors product quality and, if necessary, improves it. Quality control can be accomplished by testing products, examining manufacturing processes, and developing benchmarks. All of this is done to track significant alterations in a product. 

Quality control processes

Quality control processes cover a variety of techniques and measures undertaken to check, maintain and improve a product or service’s quality. These include testing samples from various stages of production like production lines, raw materials and finished products.

Other processes include collecting feedback through questionnaires, surveys, impromptu inspections and audits.  

How QC Differs According to Industrial Needs

Quality Control (QC) changes according to the industrial need and depends on products and services. For instance, when making food products and medicines, the samples are taken for microbiological testing to avoid the risk of expired and defective goods. In the case of the books industry, there are no such problems with expired goods; instead, they focus on paper quality, formatting and proofreading before publication. 

What is Statistical Quality Control?

Statistical Quality Control (SQC) is the application or technique used to detect errors in the quality of products and aids in producing goods with less wastage. It aims at data-driven decisions and incorporates various steps, including data collection, control charts, process capability analysis, sampling tests and root cause analysis.

Quality Control Procedures

 The step-by-step procedure for Quality Control and its key elements include the following:

Step 1: Set testing standards

Start by determining the testing standards for a product based on the raw materials used, purpose, area of use and target consumer.

Step 2: Inspect and test materials at various stages

Conduct regular rigorous tests to assess the features, functionality and performance of products or services at different points of the production stage. Frequently testing products, raw materials, or services help identify quality standard deviations, non-compliance and defects. This will ensure there is no compromise in quality.

Step 3: SPC (Statistical Process Control)  

Monitor and control every production stage by implementing appropriate statistical techniques.

Step 4: Keep records

Maintain minute records of tests, inspections and any other action taken to keep track of accountability.  

Step 5: Correcting problems

Prevent any recurrence of quality issues by taking timely and appropriate corrective measures.

Step 6: Data collection and decisions

Collect data at every step of the production process. Use surveys, questionnaires, measurements, observations, and experiments to gather relevant data.

Step 7: Train employees

Conduct regular employee training to upskill and update them about quality standards and industrial requirements.

Step 8: Keep improving

To keep a product marketable over time, it is imperative to analyse data and feedback. This helps identify areas with scope for improvement and boosts a product/service’s overall quality management.

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Quality Control Types

The principles of quality management revolve around quality control and include various processes: 

  • Control Charts

Control charts are one of the most essential tools in Quality Control. They graphically process products and show the presence of variations. Control charts aid in distinguishing natural variations and encompass a central line, an upper line, and a lower line and determine historical data. 

  • Process Control

Process control is an essential aspect of QC focused on identifying, managing and operating production procedures. The primary principle of process control is to diminish errors, process variability and establish a stable performance. It involves various techniques and methodologies to achieve these goals. 

  • Acceptance Sampling

It is a statistical technique illustrating the maximum percentage of the batch’s recognised products and raw materials. There are three kinds of acceptance sampling — sequential sampling plan, double sampling plan, and single sampling plan. 

  • Process Protocol 

Process Protocol, widely recognised as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), is a documented set used to design standardised products consistently. It is a vital element employed to improve design and implementation using a variety of indicators like diagrams, flowcharts, photographs, and much more. 

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Importance of Quality Control 

Product management plays an integral part by defining what is quality control in laboratory. It focuses on safeguarding a company’s reputation, preventing unreliable products, and thus increasing consumer trust. 

Adequate investment in quality control measures prevents products from being unreliable or harming consumers, especially in the food and drug industry. These processes include rigorous methodology, testing and concentration to increase total productivity in future. Quality control is necessary to ensure evidence-based research and routine evaluation of the products and services to meet consumer demands. 

Advantages of QC

Quality Control prioritises quality and aims to attain sustainable growth and profits in total productivity. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Improved product quality: The primary goal of quality control management is to detect deviations and improve product and service quality. 
  • Customer satisfaction: Delivering high-quality products and services enhances customer satisfaction and referrals. Repeated purchases contribute to the increase in business supply.
  • Consistency and standardisation: Quality control management implements standardised practices, enhancing the consistency in the production and delivery of products or services. It diminishes variations and helps businesses achieve progressive results. 
  • Compliance with standards and regulations: Quality control abides by industrial standards producing reliable goods. This prevents penalties and legal consequences from the government.
  • Strong supplier relationships: QC creates a chain of customers’ demand for products and its business supply, leading to the establishment of reliable supplier relationships.

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Roles and Responsibilities of Quality Control 

The contributions of Quality Control focus on the basics of and include 

  • Monitoring business operations according to the quality control specifications and production standards 
  • Measuring raw materials and determining reliable finished products from the production batch 
  • Assess products at different stages like alloy mixture, pH level, callipers, gauges, or micrometres
  • Conduct electronic tests and equipment testing before usage

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What is Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance (QA) is a systematic process implemented to determine the requirements of high-quality results. It is a necessity for various goods and services to create a unique brand name and increase profits. The principle of this process is to address any major and minor issues in the total development of production and delivery of goods. 

Difference Between Quality Control and Quality Assurance 

There is common confusion about what is the difference between quality assurance and quality control. While both terms are used interchangeably and come under the umbrella of quality management, there’s a subtle difference between the two.  

Quality control in the factory management system concentrates on identifying, testing, and analysing products or services to identify errors or deviations. It incorporates physical examination and assessments and focuses on fixing minor and major issues. 

Quality assurance is a systematic and comprehensive process that establishes a unique approach, guideline and standard to ensure consistent quality throughout the entire production or service delivery lifecycle. It concentrates on various process-oriented and proactive approaches and promises to meet the customer’s expectations and preferences. 

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Top QC Tools Used in Product Management 

This section focuses on what is 7 QC tools which help address the quality of the company’s future business operations. 

  • Pareto Chart: A bar chart that identifies issues or defects by frequency or impact to focus on the most significant problems.
  • Histogram: A graphical representation of data distribution showcasing the frequency of occurrences within predefined intervals.
  • Control Charts: Time-ordered graphs used to identify process performance and monitor trends, variations and major conditions.
  • Process Capability Analysis: This aids in analysing a process’s ability to produce products within specified limits, ensuring it meets customer requirements.
  • Six Sigma: A data-driven methodology that restores process efficiency and quality by diminishing errors and variations.
  • 8D (Eight Disciplines) Problem-Solving: A structured approach to solving issues revolving around the eight steps to address and prevent recurring issues.
  • Run Charts: Display data points in the order they were collected, helping identify patterns or trends over time. 

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Quality Control Career Options 

 Here are some common QC career options:

  • Quality Control Inspector:  Quality Control Inspectors are integral in determining factory raw materials. They use various machines, including measuring tapes and weighing machines and ensure quality standards. 
  • Quality Assurance Specialist: Quality Assurance Specialists establish quality management systems and confirm consistent product quality. They handle audits, review proceedings, conduct visual inspections and give information to business institutions. 
  • Quality Analyst: Quality Analysts analyse surveys, questionnaires, performance history of factory machines and focus on improving the production line. 

Quality Control Average Salary 

In India, the average salary of a Quality Control Officer per annum is Rs. 3.0 lakh. The figure can go up to Rs. 5 lakh depending on skill, expertise and experience. 

What Are the Different Examples of Quality Control?

3 examples of quality control testing include: 

  1. Inspecting vehicles- A high-speed train factory runs extensive tests on each manufactured unit requiring manual and automated checks.
  2. Service response time monitoring – A website or online platform can monitor the average response time per page for all customer interactions. If the response time exceeds an acceptable threshold, an incident ticket is generated, and appropriate measures are taken to improve the service quality.
  3. Food safety and quality testing – An airline providing inflight meals may take statistically significant samples to test the meals for food safety parameters. Additionally, they might conduct sensory analysis to ensure the meals taste good and meet customer expectations.

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Quality management is essential for businesses to market products and expand their reach. Implementing adequate quality control measures is, thus, an important aspect of businesses maintaining their brand value and catering to customers. QC and QA ensure products and services are produced in a safe environment and are safe to use and meet customer expectations. 

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What is quality control and its main goals?

Quality control is a process of product testing and identifying deviations. Its main goal is to monitor the production line and meet the customer's needs and expectations.

What is QC in international standards?

International standards include ISO 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 9004, AS9100 and determine product terminology, guidelines and specifications. In the international standards, quality control emphasises chemical testing, alloy mixing and measurement testing of products.

What are the key principles and techniques of statistical quality control?

Statistical quality control encompasses the maintenance of product defects through statistical methods, and some techniques include Process Capability Analysis, Root Cause Analysis, Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Control Charts.

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