Having worked a significant part of my career in quality management, I have come across several questions. One of the most common queries is the difference between quality assurance and quality control. Of course, it is easy to forget everyone isn’t a quality management expert. This blog will assist you in understanding the difference between the two aspects of quality management.
7 Differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Quality assurance and quality control are both major components of quality management for every product and service. Recently while at a weekly get-together at my neighbor’s place, I realized that despite widely available Spectrum internet packages in our neighborhood, very few of them knew the difference. Since they sound similar, many confuse the distinction between the two. Yet the fact remains that quality assurance and quality control are two very different elements.
Quality assurance deals with making sure that production processes are performed correctly. On the other hand, quality control deals with making sure the product meets defined standards. To put it simply, quality assurance focuses on preventing defects in products. Quality control focuses on identifying defects in the products.
Of course, this does not begin to explain the whole picture. While both are very important parts of the larger quality management function, quality assurance and quality control have very different areas of focus. This blog looks at the following major differences between the two:
- Quality Creation
Let’s briefly discuss the differences between quality assurance and quality control in these specific areas below.
A huge difference between quality control and quality assurance lies in their approach towards managing quality. Quality assurance is a proactive approach to quality. It involves actively improving processes and ensuring their correct execution. Quality control, on the other hand, is a reactive approach. It looks for and deals with defects in products AFTER they have been manufactured.
Another major difference between the two elements of quality management is their area of focus. Quality assurance focuses entirely on the processes that create products. It is concerned with the correct performance of these processes to ensure a sound product. On the other hand, quality control focuses on the product itself, making sure it is up to the mark.
If you examine them closely, you will find that the concept behind quality assurance is very different from the one behind quality control. The concept behind quality assurance is to protect the final product from defects due to incorrect execution. On the other hand, the concept behind quality control is to locate the defects in the final product.
Both quality control and quality insurance involve very different sets of activities. Quality assurance is more of verification activity. Your quality assurance personnel will verify that the final product was created through the correct execution of the right processes. On the other hand, quality control is a validation exercise. Your quality control personnel will validate if a product is free from defects and meets standards.
A major difference between quality control and quality assurance is that they are very different functions. Quality control is a line function, meaning it is the core work to meet business objectives, in this case, a defect-free product. Quality assurance, on the other hand, is a staff function, which supports the line function in meeting its objectives.
One of the biggest differences between the two elements of quality management is the stage in which they create quality. Quality assurance creates quality in the designing stage. It helps in creating the correct, most efficient processes to make a product. On the other hand, quality control offers quality in the control stage. This helps ensure only products that meet the defined standards get off the assembly line.
The final difference between the two is their area of emphasis. Quality assurance emphasizes on customers. It helps make sure that the product being created will meet customer needs efficiently. On the other hand, quality control lays more emphasis on standards. It tries to ensure all manufactured products meet a set of standards, with the same quality throughout.
The common purpose of all businesses is to earn profits. To earn profits, you need revenue or sales. To get sales, you need to satisfy your customers. Everybody knows consumers get more sensitive to quality as time goes on. In the early days of my internet subscription, downtime was fairly common and I didn’t think much of it. But these days, even a minor annoyance prompts me to immediately call Spectrum Customer Service. Both quality assurance and quality management can help ensure you offer your customer a quality product to their satisfaction.