Glossary  >  What is Quality Control?

What is Quality Control?

Quality control is an important component of quality management that is used to detect and address defects, deviations, or variations in products or services to ensure that they conform to established specifications and are of consistent and acceptable quality.

Quality Control
Quality Control

Quality control (QC) is a systematic process and set of activities within a company or organization that ensures that the company’s products or services meet certain predefined quality criteria and standards. Quality control measures are integral across various industries to ensure products and services meet predefined standards. In manufacturing, it involves inspecting products on the assembly line to detect defects. In software development, it's about rigorous testing to identify and resolve bugs. Food safety and medical device testing verify adherence to safety and quality standards. In aviation, regular maintenance checks ascertain aircraft safety for flight. These examples illustrate how internal quality control plays a critical role in maintaining product and service quality and safety in diverse sectors.

Request an Online Demo

Key aspects of internal quality control typically include:

  • Inspection: The systematic examination of products or services to check for deviations from specified requirements.
  • Testing: Conduct various tests, measurements, and analyses to evaluate whether the product or service meets the desired quality standards.
  • Sampling: Collect representative samples from a batch or production lot to assess the quality of the entire batch.
  • Data Analysis: Examining data and results to determine whether the product or service meets established quality criteria.
  • Documentation: Maintaining records and documentation of internal quality control activities, including test results, inspection reports, and any corrective actions taken.
  • Continuous Improvement: Using feedback from internal quality control activities to improve processes and prevent future defects.
   Key aspects of internal quality control

Tune into Our Podcast

Enjoyed this episode? Explore more of our podcast series.

Understanding Automated Quality Control

Automated Quality Control is a methodology that harnesses technology and automation to oversee, appraise, and uphold the quality of products or services. It encompasses the utilization of diverse software, sensors, and machinery to execute examinations, measurements, and verifications throughout different phases of production or service provision. Automated systems can rapidly detect defects, inconsistencies, or deviations from predefined quality standards, often with higher precision and speed than manual methods. These systems can include optical scanners, machine vision, robotics, and software algorithms for data analysis.

Automated Quality Control finds extensive use in manufacturing, healthcare, and software development sectors. Its benefits encompass heightened efficiency, decreased human errors, and the capacity to manage substantial data volumes. Nonetheless, the effective deployment of an automated quality control system demands meticulous strategizing, fine-tuning, and upkeep to guarantee sustained precision and trustworthiness. The role of Automated Quality Control is indispensable in elevating product quality, streamlining operations, and fulfilling customer demands.

Automated Quality Control

What is Quality Control Management?

Businesses need to ensure the quality of their products and services. This must happen in a planned and focused way, with the involvement of all employees across functions. Enabling this is Quality Control Management, which delineates the quality standards the organization must follow and sets expectations for the teams to meet.

Some of the key pillars of quality control management include:

  • The establishment of a set of business procedures that are aligned to the organization’s strategic direction
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction
  • Continually improving the operations

This it ensures through:

  • Quality planning
  • Quality improvement
  • Quality control
  • Quality assurance

Each of these has a distinct purpose and criticality for ensuring the overall quality management of the organization.

  • Through Quality Planning, the quality team with the business leaders defines the quality standards and the strategy for achieving them.
  • The quality plan is constantly revised and fine-tuned based on feedback and new requirements for continuous implementation to improve outcomes.
  • Quality Control ensures that the process standards are maintained to ensure the integrity of the outcomes.
  • Quality Assurance ensures the adherence to confirmed specifications and standards by reviewing systems and processes.

Features of Quality Control Management Software

Quality management includes a variety of steps and processes to ensure adherence to quality and the performance and quality of the final product or service. Automating the workflow can improve compliance to SOPs and regulations relevant to the industry.

A good quality control management software must include features such as

Features of Quality Control Management Software
  • Audit management: Internal and external audits are performed to ensure documents, processes, and sites adhere to the systems and processes specified in the quality policy and procedure.
  • Change control: Ensures changes are carried out effectively, after evaluating the potential risks and with proper training and alignment to the new processes.
  • Complaint management: This is a crucial aspect of quality management as it provides customer feedback and input on what works and needs improvement. Complaints also need to be responded to quickly and correctly for customer satisfaction.
  • Risk management: Regulatory bodies need businesses to take a risk-based approach to product development. This improves efficiency, quality, and performance while optimizing resource utilization.
  • Document control: Document management is another critical aspect for regulated industries, as appropriate documents must be easily retrieved if required by the regulatory bodies. A centralized document management system also improves document workflow management while providing suitable access to all stakeholders with appropriate permissions and version control.
  • Supplier management: Quality of input affects the quality of output. Therefore, identifying and onboarding suppliers with the right processes and quality focus is critical for businesses. A good quality control management system enables this by automating supplier qualification workflows, managing scorecards, tracking supplier issues, maintaining applied supplier lists, and managing SCARs, among others.
  • AI-enabled analytics: Analytics have become critical to identifying risks, detecting deviations, and proactively managing quality by accessing data from multiple sources and presenting them in easily readable formats.
  • Training management: Employee training is essential to quality control management as they should continuously keep pace with changing quality and process needs and align with the SOPs. Identifying gaps and providing appropriate training is enabled by the quality control system.
  • CAPA: When an issue occurs, it is not enough to contain. It is essential to identify the root cause and implement corrective and preventive actions to prevent recurrence of the event. Once the capa has been implemented, it must be monitored to assess its effectiveness or course-correcting to derive the desired results.
  • Nonconformance: Timely identification of deviations from specifications will reduce wastage, scrapping, and recalls. Therefore, nonconformance management is an essential component of quality control.
  • Design controls: Product lifecycle management requires design controls to ensure the product meets specifications and delivers on its promise.
  • Security: Providing permission-based controls is essential to protect data and ensure only authorized personnel can access the data.
  • Mobility: In today’s globalized world, it is important for mobile-based access to data for remote workers to be able to access relevant information anytime, from anywhere.
cell and gene therapy

Robust Quality Control: How Intelligent Automation of Nonconformance, Equipment and Inspection Management Processes will Save Time and Costs

Quality Control Procedure

A quality control procedure is a series of systematic steps that has been implemented to ensure the products or services meet the said quality standards and specifications. To create a internal quality control procedure, follow these steps:

Quality Control Procedure
  • Define Quality Standards: The first step is clearly defining the quality standards and criteria that products or services must meet. These standards are based on customer’s needs and industry regulations.
  • Plan and Organize:Create a internal quality control plan which details the entire procedure. The plan should include the methods and tools that have been approved for used, the roles and responsibilities of all the parties involved, and the inspection points in the process.
  • Incoming Material Inspection:If applicable, inspect and test incoming materials or components to ensure they meet quality specifications. Reject or quarantine materials that do not meet standards
  • In-Process Inspection:Conduct inspections at various stages of production to identify and correct any issues as they arise. This may involve visual checks, measurements, and testing.
  • Final Inspection:After manufacturing the product, perform a final inspection to verify that it meets all quality criteria. This often includes detailed examination, testing, and packaging checks.
  • Documentation and Reporting:Maintain detailed records of all inspections and tests performed. Create reports to record the results of non-conformance issues.
  • Corrective Actions:Initiate a Corrective Action when a non-conformance is detected to address the root causes, prevent recurrence. This ensures the product reaches the desired quality level.
  • Release or Reject:Determine if the product acceptable for distribution based on the inspection results, They must be rejected and rectified if found undesirable.
  • Feedback and Continuous Improvement:Use the feedback from inspections performed to improve various aspects of QC procedure, the product itself, or the production process.
  • Training and Education:All employees involved in quality control must be trained to remain competent in their roles.
  • Compliance and Auditing:Regularly review and audit the overall quality control procedure to maintain compliance with regulations and industry standards.
Standard biotools case study

Customer Success

Next-Gen Medical Technology Provider Harmonizes Quality Management with ComplianceQuest’s AI-powered EQMS

Standard biotools case study
Read Case Study

Benefits of Quality Control

Quality control offers numerous benefits to organizations, including:

  • Improved Product Quality: Quality control ensures that products or services meet or exceed customer expectations by identifying and rectifying defects and inconsistencies.
  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: High-quality products result in happier and more loyal customers, leading to increased sales and a positive brand reputation.
  • Cost Reduction: Quality control helps prevent defects and errors, reducing the need for rework, warranty claims, and customer complaints, ultimately lowering operational costs.
  • Higher Efficiency: Efficient processes, fewer disruptions, and reduced rework lead to increased productivity and resource optimization.
  • Compliance and Risk Mitigation: Meeting quality standards and regulatory requirements reduces legal and financial risks and potential liabilities.
  • Competitive Advantage: A reputation for quality sets an organization apart from competitors and can justify premium pricing.
  • Continuous Improvement: Quality control encourages ongoing improvement in processes and products, ensuring adaptability to changing customer needs and market demands.
Benefits of Quality Control

Types of Quality Control

Quality control (QC) ensures the consistency and reliability of the manufactured products. There are different types of quality control methodologies that can be used for different stages of production or service delivery.

Types of Quality Control
Statistical Quality Control (SQC)

SQC uses statistical techniques that allows organizations to monitor and control the overall quality of products or processes. It includes methods like control charts, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis to identify variations and maintain quality standards.

Acceptance Sampling

This method involves inspecting a sample of items from a larger batch to determine whether the entire batch should be accepted or rejected based on predefined quality criteria.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM is a holistic approach that involves continuous improvement, customer focus, and employee involvement. It emphasizes a commitment to quality at all levels of an organization.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology to reduce defects and process variations. It focuses on achieving near-perfect quality by defining, measuring, analyzing, improving, and controlling processes (DMAIC).

Lean Manufacturing

Lean principles aim to reduce waste and improve efficiency in production processes. This type of QC minimizes resource usage and maximizes value to customers.

ISO 9000

ISO 9000 is a family of standards that sets guidelines for implementing and maintaining an effective quality management system. Organizations can obtain ISO 9000 certification to demonstrate their commitment to quality.

Kaizen

Kaizen is a Japanese term for "continuous improvement." It emphasizes small, incremental changes and employee involvement to enhance product or service quality.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

QFD is a methodology that translates customer requirements into product or service features and design specifications, ensuring alignment with customer needs.

CQ Works Great and is a Pleasure to Use

We went live with CQ just a few weeks ago and it works great! We received excellent training and after some playing around and getting used to it we found that it is really easy to use. So far we have implemented Document and Training Management as well as CAPA and both have everything we need right out of the box. After years of cumbersome spreadsheets and databases CQ is a blessing. It makes document management quick and easy… and it’s a pleasure to use.

Helen Cary,
Document Control Specialist

Lin Engineering logo
Lin Engineering logo

Quality Control Problems and Solutions

Quality control problems can arise at various production or service delivery stages, impacting product quality and customer satisfaction. Here are common quality control problems and their corresponding solutions:

Defective Materials

Problem 1: Defective Materials or Components

Solution: Implement thorough incoming material inspection to identify and reject subpar materials. Develop relationships with reliable suppliers and improve communication to ensure the consistent quality of materials.

Process Variability

Problem 2: Process Variability

Solution: Use statistical process control methods to monitor and control variations in the production process. Identify root causes of variability and implement process improvements.

  Adopt Version Control

Problem 3: Inadequate Training

Solution: Provide comprehensive training to employees involved in quality control to ensure they understand the standards, procedures, and the use of inspection tools. Encourage ongoing education and skills development.

Inconsistent Inspection Practices

Problem 4: Inconsistent Inspection Practices

Solution: Standardize inspection procedures and criteria, making them clear and easily understandable. Ensure that all inspectors follow the same guidelines and maintain calibration of inspection equipment.

Poor Communication

Problem 5: Poor Communication

Solution: Foster open and effective communication within the organization. Ensure that quality control teams collaborate with production, engineering, and design teams to address issues and share insights.

Lack of Documentation

Problem 6: Lack of Documentation

Solution: Create detailed records of inspections, test results, and non-conformance issues. Proper documentation helps in identifying trends and patterns, leading to proactive solutions.

Customer Complaints

Problem 7: Customer Complaints

Solution: Actively engage with customers to gather feedback. Analyze complaints to pinpoint recurring issues and address them in the production process.

Change

Problem 8: Resistance to Change

Solution: Promote a culture of continuous improvement and change acceptance. Involve employees in problem-solving and process improvement initiatives.

  • Defective Materials

    Problem 1: Defective Materials or Components

    Solution: Implement thorough incoming material inspection to identify and reject subpar materials. Develop relationships with reliable suppliers and improve communication to ensure the consistent quality of materials.

  • Process Variability

    Problem 2: Process Variability

    Solution: Use statistical process control methods to monitor and control variations in the production process. Identify root causes of variability and implement process improvements.

  • Training

    Problem 3: Inadequate Training

    Solution: Provide comprehensive training to employees involved in quality control to ensure they understand the standards, procedures, and the use of inspection tools. Encourage ongoing education and skills development.

  • Inconsistent Inspection Practices

    Problem 4: Inconsistent Inspection Practices

    Solution: Standardize inspection procedures and criteria, making them clear and easily understandable. Ensure that all inspectors follow the same guidelines and maintain calibration of inspection equipment.

  • Poor Communication

    Problem 5: Poor Communication

    Solution: Foster open and effective communication within the organization. Ensure that quality control teams collaborate with production, engineering, and design teams to address issues and share insights.

  • Lack of Documentation

    Problem 6: Lack of Documentation

    Solution: Create detailed records of inspections, test results, and non-conformance issues. Proper documentation helps in identifying trends and patterns, leading to proactive solutions.

  • Customer Complaints

    Problem 7: Customer Complaints

    Solution: Actively engage with customers to gather feedback. Analyze complaints to pinpoint recurring issues and address them in the production process.

  • Change

    Problem 8: Resistance to Change

    Solution: Promote a culture of continuous improvement and change acceptance. Involve employees in problem-solving and process improvement initiatives.



Taking proactive measures to tackle these quality control problems with efficient remedies can yield improved product quality, heightened customer contentment, and diminished operational expenses. Quality control is a continuous endeavor necessitating attentiveness, cooperation, and a dedicated effort to enhance the overall caliber of products and services.

Benefits of Quality Control System

Implementing a quality management system aligned with standards such as ISO 9001 benefits businesses in several ways. These include:

  • Improved efficiency and productivity, providing competitive advantage

  • Providing customers with consistent and good quality products and services, enabling business expansion and growth

  • Lower cost of production due to eliminating wastage and reducing errors

  • Improved resource utilization, further effecting savings and increasing efficiency and innovation

  • Improved risk management

  • Better engaged employees

  • Enhanced collaboration and communication

  • Better performance of products and services

  • Embedding a culture of quality in the organization

CQ's Quality Control System Software

ComplianceQuest’s Quality Control System Software incorporates several features aimed at compliance to leading standards and regulations. Quality control system software provides features such as:

  • Inspection of raw materials, premises, and products to ensure quality
  • Auditing to identify systemic issues and correct them for continuous improvement
  • Change management
  • Risk management
  • Document management
  • Training management
  • Equipment maintenance for scheduled maintenance and planned downtimes to reduce errors and minimize disruptions
  • Supplier management
  • Complaints handling that helps loop in feedback to improve product quality
  • Design controls to validate and verify design changes, ensure product quality right from the word go, and improve visibility and transparency of the product development lifecycle
  • CAPA to conduct root causes in case of errors and deviations and implement corrective and preventive actions
  • Nonconformance to minimize deviations and ensure only quality products are released in the market
  • Management Review to analyze data and make informed decisions for continuous improvement of quality management system
  • Reports and dashboards to generate and share insights for identifying gaps and areas of opportunities

Quality control to ensure the products or services meet the quality standards and specifications

Request an Online Demo



Quality-centric Companies Rely on CQ QMS

  • affinivax mono
  • verily mono
  • 3m logo mono
  • tupperware mono
  • continental logo mono
  • vyaire mono
  • lifescan mono
  • lundbeck mono
  • cdc logo mono
  • qlik mono
  • csa group mono
  • impossible mono
  • fluence mono

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Quality control is necessary throughout the entire product or service lifecycle. It begins with incoming materials inspection, continues through manufacturing or service delivery, and extends to post-production or service stages. Quality control is essential whenever consistent quality, compliance with standards, customer satisfaction, and risk reduction are paramount concerns.

    • Minimizing Wasted Efforts: Every non-conformance has to be recorded. CQ’s AI-based solution automatically searches for and pulls up all matching records based on the part number, supplier, or criterion. This helps to catch trending issues and detect a core problem before a major event occurs later. If an investigation is needed, the system also serves up any relevant ongoing investigations. This helps to avoid launching an investigation if there is already one underway. Or, if the investigation is complete and action has been taken, without showing any improvement, then this can alert the quality leaders to determine the action to be taken next. This will help save time and effort or find alternatives if a problem has not been resolved as expected.
    • Ability to Better Evaluate Supplier Performance: The QC records can also provide QA with information on supplier performance and identify those with too many failed inspections. This will help to create a more meaningful and targeted strategy to strengthen relationships with those who meet the criteria and put in processes for those who are not to ensure the quality of the raw materials.
    • Reducing Inventory: Predictive analytics can also help with just-in-time manufacturing by reducing inventory and sourcing only as and when needed. Being able to track the quality of supplies and the delivery capabilities of the supplier is absolute gold for the QA people as they can make decisions based on real evidence.
    • Feedback to Design: The information on inspection non-conformances also gets fed back into the design functionality. If they are constantly failing and not meeting tolerance dimensions, the design team can use this input to modify the requirements without compromising product quality.
    • Reducing Inspection Load: CQ is easily integrated with ERP systems to automatically assess each part, relate it with the supplier’s rating on perfect delivery, and decide the level of inspection needed. This reduces the load on inspectors to focus on only the high-risk suppliers.
    • Identifying Trends: It also helps identify the root cause and generate codes for each cause. This helps identify the most common cause and address that on priority.
    • Proactive Maintenance Scheduling: By inputting the equipment details, businesses can receive alerts on equipment calibration and maintenance, initiate planned downtime to minimize disruption, and enhance product quality.
Astronut

Related Insights

Connect with a CQ Expert

Learn about all features of our Product, Quality, Safety, and Supplier suites. Please fill the form below to access our comprehensive demo video.

contact-img

Please confirm your details

spinner
Request Demo

Comments