Quality assurance and quality control are important components in which a quality management system is comprised.
Quality assurance means that quality standards will be met. It is a technique that assures prevention of defects in a product and that problems delivering services to customers will be avoided. Quality control involves the review of the quality of all elements or factors that affect production.
While these two components bear some similarities, they are in fact different processes. In this article, we’re explore the differences between quality assurance and quality control.
- Avoid vs. Find– Quality assurance strives to avoid any defects from the beginning, while quality control finds and fixes defects during or after production.
- Before vs. After– Quality assurance aims to prevent issues while quality control aims to detect any issues after the product is developed.
- Proactive vs. Reactive– Quality assurance is a process that aims to be proactive regarding issues while quality control is a process that is reactive to issues.
- Process vs. Product– Quality assurance is an approach based upon process while quality control is an approach based upon the product.
- Managing vs. Verifying– Quality assurance relies on managing quality and establishing a quality management system to ensure conformance. Quality control is about verifying quality by eliminating causes of quality issues.
- Components– Quality audits, process checklists, and standards development are all components associated with quality assurance while components such as inspections, tests, and peer reviews are associated with quality control.
- All vs. Some– Quality assurance is the responsibility of everyone in the company while quality control is the responsibility of a specific team within the company.
The overarching goal of quality assurance is to make improvements to the development process of the product so that defects don’t occur. In terms of quality control, the ultimate goal is to find any defects in a product after it’s made but before it goes to market.
The above outlines the various differences between quality assurance and quality control. It is commonplace to mistake the two but keep in mind they are different processes. Quality assurance and quality control are important functions in implementing the best quality management system possible.
Having an optimal quality management system in place is highly beneficial for any business or organization that is concerned with compliance, meeting standards, and overall production quality. Just remember that quality control has a focus upon fulfilling quality requirements and quality assurance is focused upon assuring that outlined quality requirements will be met, so guidelines as to which team members are responsible for assurance and which are responsible for control is essential to keeping all aspects listed above running smoothly.
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