Traditional Quality control Vs Quality Assurance Management Techniques
Quality control is the more traditional way that businesses have used to manage quality. Known & implimented as ISO9000 - 9001.
Quality control is concerned with checking and reviewing work that has been done, but, one must ask; Is this the best way for a business to manage quality?
Under traditional quality control, inspection of products and services (checking to make sure that what's being produced is meeting the required standard) takes place during and at the end of the operations process.
There are three main points during the production process when inspection is performed:
- When raw materials are received prior to entering production
- Whilst products are going through the production process
- When products are finished - inspection or testing takes place before products are dispatched to customers
The problem with this sort of inspection is that it doesn't work very well!
There are several problems with inspection under traditional quality control:
- The inspection process does not add any "value". If there were any guarantees that no defective output would be produced, then there would be no need for an inspection process in the first place!
- Inspection is costly, in terms of both tangible and intangible costs. For example, materials, labor, time, employee morale, customer goodwill, lost sales
- It is sometimes done too late in the production process. This often results in defective or non-acceptable goods actually being received by the customer
- It is usually done by the wrong people - e.g. by a separate "quality control inspection team" rather than by the workers themselves
- Inspection is often not compatible with more modern production techniques (e.g. "Just in Time Manufacturing") which do not allow time for much (if any) inspection.
- Working capital is tied up in stocks which cannot be sold
- There is often disagreement as to what constitutes a "quality product". For example, to meet quotas, inspectors may approve goods that don't meet 100% conformance, giving the message to workers that it doesn't matter if their work is a bit sloppy. Or one quality control inspector may follow different procedures from another, or use different measurements.
As a result of the above problems, many businesses have focused their efforts on improving quality by implementing quality management techniques - which emphasize the role of quality assurance. As Deming (a "quality guru") wrote:
"Inspection with the aim of finding the bad ones and throwing them out is too late, ineffective, costly. When sampling this system leads to many defects making it through to the customer.
Quality comes not from inspection, again, not from inspection. Quality comes from improvement of the production process." That is the QA (quality assurance) side of the system, control the system and you control the quality. PFMEA provides the feedback from the production line that makes it possible.
||Quality assurance is about how a business can design the way a product of service is produced or delivered to minimize the chances that output will be sub-standard. The focus of quality assurance is, therefore on the product design/development stage.
Why focus on these stages? The idea is that - if the processes and procedures used to produce a product or service are tightly controlled - then quality will be "built-in". This will make the production process much more reliable, so there will be less need to inspect production output (quality control).
Quality assurance involves developing close relationships with customers and suppliers. A business will want to make sure that the suppliers to its production process understand exactly what is required - and deliver!
||Quality control is the traditional way of managing quality. A further revision note (see the list on the right) deals with this in more detail.
Quality control is concerned with checking and reviewing work that has been done. For example, this would include lots of inspection, testing and sampling.
Quality control is mainly about "detecting" defective output - rather than preventing it. Quality control can also be a very expensive process. Hence, in recent years, businesses have focused on quality management and quality assurance.
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