Quality Assurance VS Quality Control in Outsourced Manufacturing
Are you looking to figure out the difference between quality assurance and quality control?
These different processes are crucial to understanding how your products can be made well, especially if you’re planning on outsourcing your manufacturing.
Let’s take a look at the crucial differences between these parts of the process and how they intertwine together to make for a total quality management system.
Defining Quality Assurance
Quality assurance refers to the process of manufacturing.
This includes the protocols, information, and the manufacturing process itself.
Quality assurance is in place to make sure that products can pass through quality control once a product has been created.
For the most part, it’s more of a managerial process. Quality assurance is actually the “best practices” part of things. With good protocols in place, a greater percentage of the manufactured items will be able to pass through quality control.
The easiest way to think of quality assurance is this: the QA process is the right way to build things.
Quality assurance is about preventing defects by making sure that things are done correctly on the first try. Without it, things can end up making a real mess for those who are doing the inspection of products at the end of the line.
So What;s Quality Control?
Quality control refers to the individual inspection of products to make sure that they’re up to the standards put in place through QA.
Ideally, if quality assurance is up to snuff and the procedures are followed, then a high percentage of manufactured items will make it through quality control without a hitch.
Quality control covers things like inspecting a product after it’s been made. Basically, quality control procedures are used to make sure that defective products don’t end up reaching consumers.
You’ll see it often if you’ve read enough online reviews, bad quality control leads to flawed products making it to the end consumer.
It hurts both the usability of the product and the brand itself’s reputation.
It’s the final line before the product reaches your customers, which makes it extremely important.
However, it works hand-in-hand with quality assurance, since you also don’t want to have to send back a large percentage of the items coming through the manufacturing process.
The Synergy of Quality Assurance and Control
Rather than comparing the processes, as many people seem to want to do, it’s important to understand that there really is no “quality assurance vs. quality control” debate.
Put alongside each other, these two processes are called quality management.
Both of these processes tie together in order to form the marriage which allows for quality products to be produced on a consistent basis.
Quality management, as a whole, is an essential part of any manufacturing process.
If quality assurance is faulty but quality control is great, then you’ll end up with a lot of products being sent back. Vice versa and the risk of faulty products making it out to consumers gets higher.
These manufacturing concepts work together. Both should be at a high level in order to make sure that only fitting products make it to the end consumer.
This intertwining can work to your advantage or not, depending on how well implemented protocols and inspections are.
Quality assurance is most important for the manufacturer, a high percentage of flawed products will lead to a decline in their profits.
Meanwhile, quality control is most important to the end consumer, since if a product doesn’t meet expectations it’ll lead to discontent and safety issues depending on what the product is.
Trying to separate the two is hard since any manufacturer worth their salt knows how intimately intertwined these two concepts are.
Extra Considerations When Outsourcing
Since these two processes are so vital, it’s important to make sure that any company that you outsource two has adequate measures in place.
Asking about QA/QC processes at the company you’re working with is among the top questions you should be asking.
Put together properly, you’ll be sure to have a total quality management control. Your products can be produced correctly, pass quality control at a higher rate, and your end consumers will be much happier with the overall experience.
Since you’re looking at outsourcing many things will end up being out of your hands. That’s why making sure that you understand both the quality assurance and quality control procedures in place is so important.
There are two ways to check on the procedures used when you’re considering a company:
- Ask for hard data, numbers, and documentation
- Check to see if the company you’re using is ISO 9001 certified
These assurances can help to make sure that your contract manufacturer has your product’s best interests in mind.
Remember that your company’s reputation is built on both how useful your products are and how well it performs against expectations.
Looking for a Manufacturer?
If you’re in the market for a manufacturer then the best way to pick is to make sure that you fully understand as much of the process as possible.
Manufacturing isn’t magic, there are people involved at every level which means that failures do happen. Quality assurance and quality control are some of the keys to making sure that you’re happy with who you’re working with.
Before you settle, we urge you to make sure that you understand as much as you can about manufacturing. It’s not as hard as people think.
If you’re looking for more information, then check out our blog and see if we can’t help guide you in the right direction.