“Quality control” and “quality assurance” sound like they mean the same thing, but ask a quality control engineer and a quality assurance engineer what they do and you’ll get two very different answers.
We’ve seen it described like this: quality assurance is process oriented, while quality control is product oriented. Or to put it another way, quality assurance makes sure you are doing the right things the right way, quality control makes sure the results are what you expected.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between the two fields.
This is the first level of quality: testing and inspecting products before they go out the door. Let’s say a client needs a company to make metal gears. You’ve drawn up plans, which call for them to be six centimeters wide.
Five hundred of them go into production. Of those 500, 497 are six centimeters wide, the other three are 5.6 centimeters. Quality control would reject them. It’s not a process that ensures quality, but it does spot inferior products and prevents them from getting to customers.
Quality assurance (QA) engineers are focused on planning, documenting and agreeing to guidelines that will ensure quality. This is all work done at the outset of a project, and relies on industry and company standards as well as the specifications of the work.
QA was a concept developed as a way to enhance quality control, and is aimed at preventing defects earlier in the production process.
If we return to the example of the 500 gears, the QA engineer would investigate how and why the three faulty gears got that way. Was there a problem with the machine? Does it need to be repaired or replaced? Was there an error in the specifications? And so on.
Think about it this way: Quality control is like the night watchman at a business. Quality assurance are the people who come in to make sure the security cameras are working.
By taking an approach that involves quality assurance engineers and quality control engineers, businesses can achieve greater levels of customer satisfaction and thus, gain repeat business. This approach also allows businesses to boost productivity by spending less time addressing bugs.
No matter what field of quality management you work in, Maxpro can make sure your torque equipment functions the right way. Our calibration lab can ensure your tools are working to the right specification. We also provide repair services, as well as tool sales and rentals.
There may be a difference between quality control and quality assurance, but they both work to the same goal: providing quality solutions. Let Maxpro help you reach that goal.