Difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Key Difference: Quality Assurance, QA for short, is the term that is used when a company implements a list of systematic measures in order to ensure the quality of the final product. Quality control, QC for short, is the process by which companies ensure that damage goods are not sold to the consumer.

Quality Assurance and quality control are two terms that are often drilled into the minds of management students, as it plays an important part in production of goods, products and services. The terms are not only limited to products, but also include services. These two are similar in nature as they both deal with the quality a product or service that is provided to the customer/client. However, both the processes differ from each other in many ways. They are both processes that are used during different time of development.

Quality Assurance, QA for short, is the term that is used when a company implements a list of systematic measures in order to ensure the quality of the final product. QA deals with the processes that go into making the product. The measure aims to improve the processes and development stage to the point, where defects do not occur in the production stage. It expects to determine the quality of the product beforehand. The Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) defines the process as, “the systematic measurement, comparison with a standard, monitoring of processes and an associated feedback loop that confers error prevention.”

QA deals with two processes: "Fit for purpose" and "Right first time". The first process deals with ensuring that the product is suitable for the purpose it is intended for, while the second one refers that the product should be developed right during the first time and should not have any mistakes. QA includes following measures such as the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components, services related to production, and management, production and inspection processes in order to eliminate defects during production. QA is considered as a preventive measure and proactive quality process as it deals with trying to correct the measures so that defects cannot arise during production.

Quality control, QC for short, is the process by which companies ensure that damage goods are not sold to the consumer. QC requires that each product that is made go through a strict inspection before it is released or sent to the consumer. QC deals with the product itself after the production is done, however it is before the product is released into the market. It deals with trying to keep the defected pieces out of consumer’s hands and to not soil the brand name of the company. QC is a method to ensure that a certain level of quality is maintained in a product or service. Dictionary.com defines ‘quality control’ as “a system for verifying and maintaining a desired level of quality in a product or process by careful planning, use of proper equipment, continued inspection, and corrective action as required.”

QC deals with the company conduction systematic inspections, corrective measure and altering processes in order to maintain the required quality of a product or service. The process includes hiring one or more employees that are knowledgeable about the product to conduct inspections, tests, sometimes using stereo microscope, magnifying glass or similar tools to ensure that the product is offering the quality that it promises. QC is more of a corrective measure as the product is already developed and incase the product fails the inspection, it either goes back into production for fixing the defects or it is scrapped.

QA and QC differ mainly that both of the processes at done at different time during the product cycle. While QA is done first to ensure that no defects arise, QC is done to ensure that no defected pieces are given to the consumers. Many companies rely heavily on QA as QC is more expensive as the product must be scrapped. Products that are not sold to the consumer still cost the company for the production and hence QA is a more beneficial option. Many big companies opt for doing both incase a product is still defective after the AQ process. In terms of service, it is important to do both as the person must constantly deal with customer. QA would ensure that all customers are treated the same, while QC would ensure that the customer is happy.                       

 

Quality Assurance

Quality Control

Definition

Quality assurance is when a company implements a list of systematic measures in order to produce a product that fulfills quality requirements.

Quality control is when a company implements inspections and checks in order to find any defected products and keep them from going to the client.

Focus on

QA focuses on prevent defects from happening.

QC focuses on identifying defects before the product is shipped to the clients.

Objective

The goal is to improve the development and test processes to eliminate defects from arising in products.

The goal is to identify defects in the final product before the product is sold in the market or given to the customer.

Tools used

Inspection, quality of raw materials, sampling charts, control charts, etc.

Control charts, inspection of finished products, product testing, etc.

Orientation

Process-oriented

Product-oriented

Order

QA takes place as it happens before the product has gone into production.

Happens after the product has finished production.

Type of measure/process

Preventive measure; proactive quality process.

Corrective measure; reactive process.

Image Courtesy: splendtek.com, orwellsbastard.blogspot.com

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