Philip Crosby is an American who promoted the phrases “right first time”. The right first time is a quality management concept that defect prevention is more advantageous and cost effective than defect detection and associated rework. The reason such a concept is popularized by Crosby is because he believes management should take prime responsibility for proactive and preventive measure to deliver quality products, and workers only follow their managers’ example.
To help improve customer satisfaction, greater emphasis is given to the aspect of quality in the supply chain. The reason that customers have huge impacts on the development of quality theory is because the quality standard is primarily determined by the customers. Quality revolves around the concept of meeting or exceeding customer expectation applied to the product and service. Achieving high quality is an ever changing, or continuous, process therefore quality management emphasizes the ideas of working constantly toward improved quality.
Under the conception of quality management, two of the often confused ‘quality’ concepts are: quality control versus quality assurance. The differences of these two concepts will be outlined below.
Quality Control (QC) is a system of routine technical activities, to measure and control the quality of the operational process or output as it is being developed. The QC system is designed to: (i) provide routine and consistent checks to ensure data integrity, correctness, and completeness; (ii) identify and address errors and omissions; and (iii) Document and archive inventory material and record all QC activities.
Quality control is useful for an organization because it is a process within an organization designed to ensure a set level of quality for the products or services offered by a company. This control includes the actions necessary to verify and control the quality output of products and services. The overall goal includes meeting the customer’s requirements, product satisfaction, fiscally sound, and dependable output. Most companies provide a service or a product. The control is important to determine that the output being provided is of overall top quality. Quality is important to companies for liability purposes, name recognition or branding, and maintaining a position against the competition in the marketplace.
Quality Assurance (QA) activities include a planned system of review procedures conducted by personnel not directly involved in the operational process. Reviews, preferably by independent third parties, should be performed upon a finalised operational process or output following the implementation of QC procedures. Reviews verify that data quality objectives were met, ensure that the inventory represents the best possible estimates of emissions and sinks given the current state of scientific knowledge and data available, and support the effectiveness of the QC programme.
Modern day companies greatly value quality assurance because it helps them keep a check on the quality of their products and services. A good quality product or service leads to satisfied and loyal customers and that is the main goal of every entrepreneur. A business that compromises on quality in the long run loses out on loyal customers.
There are some distinctive differences between the concept of QC and QA. These are outlined accordingly as follow:
- Quality control is about adherence to requirements. Quality assurance is generic and does not concern the specific requirements of the product being developed.
- Quality assurance activities are determined before production work begins and these activities are performed while the product is being developed. In contrast, Quality control activities are performed after the product is developed.
- Quality control emphasizes testing of products to uncover products which do not meet specifications (i.e., do not meet the minimum level of quality). Quality assurance attempts to improve and stabilize production, and associated processes, to avoid, or at least to minimize, issues that led to the products which do not meet the metrics in the first place.