A recent discussion prompted a thorough investigation of the differences between quality control and quality assurance. According to the American Society for quality, Quality assurance and quality control are two aspects of quality management. While some quality assurance and quality control activities are interrelated, the two are defined differently.
Quality assurance consists of that “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.” The confidence provided by quality assurance is twofold—internally to management and externally to customers, government agencies, regulators, certifiers, and third parties.
Quality control is that “part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements.”
While quality assurance relates to how a process is performed or how a product is made, quality control is more the inspection aspect of quality management.
Inspection is the process of measuring, examining, and testing to gauge one or more characteristics of a product or service and the comparison of these with specified requirements to determine conformity. Products, processes, and various other results can be inspected to make sure that the object coming off a production line, or the service being provided, is correct and meets specifications.
So, does your product consistently meet the requirements? Does it look like a quality product? Does it taste like a quality product?
The following table outlines what a quality manager should be doing:
|Developing and maintaining Raw Material specifications for all products|
|Developing and maintaining Final Product Specifications for all products|
|Developing and validating QC testing methods for all products|
|Training of the QC staff on these methods|
|Implementationof Good Laboratory Practices|
|Sensory panel training for all products - tasting products is very specialised and may require external expertise|
|Calibration methods for all QC equipment|
|Develop a product traceability system in conjunction with production to ensure there are batch sheets for all products|
|Develop and control product recipes/formulations if there is no R&D|
|Customer complaint records and investigations|
|Implementation of the control of nonconforming product system to manage rework, returns and waste|
|Daily hygiene checks or Daily spot checks on enforcement of hygiene requirements in all areas|
|On-line quality checks at receiving, various stages in production and final product, including packaging and labelling|
|Final product release and any concessions related to this|
|Managing and co-ordinating product testing if done by external laboratory|
|Co-ordinating corrective action on results|
|Development and validation of cleaning procedures for all areas|
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