The Finer Nuances of Quality Control Vs. Quality Management
In January 2022, McKinsey Quarterly published an article on the role of building a company-wide culture of quality and how it drives competitive advantage. Here, we list a few big takeaways from the article:
- Quality outcomes improve when non-quality employees are also involved in quality work
- Lot Acceptance Rate (LAR) is a key quality metric and is a good measure of how quality is at the plant level
- Recognition of quality efforts by specific individuals is key to improving quality efforts
- Collaboration, dialogue and discussions play a key role in improving quality performance
Overall, there is no doubt that product and service quality is critical to improving customer loyalty and happiness. It is also critical to improving financial performance – both revenue growth and profitability – over the long-run.
ISO defines quality as “features and characteristics of a product or service that meet stated or implied customer needs.” The challenge is: it is not always easy for an organization to meet quality requirements consistently and over the long-run. In fact, one rare quality fiasco, can completely break a business.
Therefore, for an enterprise to meet world-class quality standards, the need of the hour is a quality management system that continuously improves. Using the latest technologies – including AI and data analytics – it is possible for an organization to proactively mitigate quality-related risks and drive-up quality metrics.
Quality management also requires a top-notch document management system to ensure seamless transfer of knowledge, consistent communication, ease of collaboration, etc. Regulators also require demonstrable proof of quality processes, especially in some sensitive industries like medical devices, healthcare, pharma and manufacturing.
To enable businesses to ensure consistent quality, processes across the following areas are being constantly streamlined:
- Quality Management (QM)
- Quality Assurance (QA)
- Quality Control (QC)
While the three terms seem interchangeable, they in fact are not. Each denotes an aspect of quality and needs to be understood well so that businesses can truly experience the expected outcomes.
Quality Management can be called the sum total of all the activities related to quality and the management of these activities. It provides the organization with a direction through a statement of objectives and a well-written quality policy document.
According to the American National Standard (ANS), which draws its definition of quality management from ISO 9000:2015, the fundamental concepts and principles of quality management cover the following aspects:
- Sustained success and continuous improvement;
- Building customer confidence in the organization’s ability to consistently deliver products and services that meet their requirements;
- Reposing faith in the supply chain’s ability to meet quality requirements;
- Proven communication approaches between partners and collaborators by providing a common understanding of the vocabulary used in quality management;
- Conducting conformity assessments against ISO 9001 requirements;
- Deliver necessary training, assessment, or advice for quality management;
- Perform audits, inspections as required;
- Embrace relevant quality standards and frameworks;
- Proactive risk management and robust management review processes
By streamlining the entire quality management workflow, a business can improve its competitive advantage, adapt to evolving market conditions, and quickly comply with environmental and other regulations. It can help to improve productivity, build brand reputation, reduce defects and waste, improve cost management and reduce costs.
Quality control aids in meeting the requirements of quality management through techniques and activities such as inspections, audits, testing, and measurement to ensure that the products/services meet the specified standard. This is a critical step in assessing, maintaining, and improving product quality.
Quality control helps with consistency and in the reduction of errors and variations. A variety of methods are available for quality control, such as:
- Control Charts: A graph or chart helps to understand the changes in processes over time using statistics.
- Process Control: Feedback loops, chemical processes, and industrial-level controls are used to monitor and adjust processes for consistent quality and performance improvement.
- Acceptance Sampling: This is a statistical measure that helps to determine whether a batch or sample of products conforms with the overall manufacturing standard.
- Process Protocol: This is a mapping methodology that is used to create evaluative indicators for every step of the product development lifecycle to improve the design and implementation processes.
Quality control helps to meet the goals of quality management by providing evidence-based data and research to confirm that the products conform to standards.
Quality Assurance, the third term that is thrown around, refers to the ability of a manufacturer to “provide confidence that quality requirements will be met”. Quality assurance leaders are responsible for auditing the QMS on a periodic basis, ensuring that there is continuous improvement at a systemic level.
Automating Quality Management and Quality Control
Quality management and quality control processes have been evolving over a period of time and will continue to evolve. Automating these processes using a cloud-based solution such as the Enterprise-wide Quality Management System from ComplianceQuest can help businesses to manage quality with greater efficiency.
The ComplianceQuest EQMS is built to align with various regulatory bodies including ISO. This helps businesses jumpstart their quality management process and see benefits quickly. Being a cloud-based solution, it provides visibility into all the processes and gives access to data for quality control and management.
The ComplianceQuest solution is a scalable, flexible solution that integrates with other enterprise solutions such as ERP, CRM and automates quality-related workflows. Some of the key features that help with quality management include:
- Audit: Schedule internal and external audits, document findings, share with the teams concerned and minimize or eliminate errors and variations
- Risk: Identify potential risks, evaluate severity, prioritize and mitigate risks
- CAPA: Effect continuous improvement by implementing corrective and preventive actions
- Change: Manage changes to minimize disruptions and nonconformance
- Complaint Handling: Address complaints quickly and smartly to improve customer satisfaction
- Document: Automate document management workflows from creation to filing, indexing with metadata, archiving, searching, and destroying as per regulatory needs
- Equipment: Implement preventive maintenance to minimize unplanned downtimes and improve productivity and RoI
- Inspection: Assure quality of products and services by automating quality control processes
- Management Review: Provide management with data for making informed decisions and improving your quality systems
- Nonconformance: With visibility and traceability, improve product quality
- Supplier: Manage partners and suppliers to ensure quality
- Training: Identify skill gaps and empower employees to participate in quality management and create a culture of quality
To know more about how you can improve quality management in your organization, contact us today: https://www.compliancequest.com/contact-us/