For something to be tagged quality, it means there is a conformity to set standards and given requirements. reduced variation making it fit and excellent for use. It means a desired level of attention was given to every stage of the process of delivery or production to ensure standards are met. Meaning from the development stage to the pilot production stage up till the mass production stage there was no compromise in the standard of the product or service. Simply stated, quality is meeting customer requirements. Thes system that guarantees this outcome is called quality managment.
Quality management today (ISO 9000)
Quality management is a system of activities that includes the overall management function that determines the quality policy, objectives, and responsibilities and their implementation. This is exactly what the ISO 9000 standard is set to achieve. The ISO 9000 family of quality management systems standards is designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders while meeting statutory and regulatory requirements related to a product or program.
While ISO 9000 deals with the fundamentals of quality management systems including the seven quality management principles upon which the family of standards is based (QMP 1 – Customer focus, QMP 2 – Leadership, QMP 3 – Engagement of people, QMP 4 – Process approach, QMP 5 – Improvement, QMP 6 – Evidence-based decision making, QMP 7 – Relationship management), ISO 9001 deals with the requirements that organizations wishing to meet the standard must fulfill.
Quality assurance VS Quality control
Quality assurance and quality control are two key aspects of quality management. Many argue that the mean the same thing, but they don’t. They are simply interrelated activities.
This Consists of all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfill requirements for quality. It is that part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled. The confidence provided by quality assurance is twofold-internally to management and externally to customers, government agencies, regulators, certifiers, and third parties.
The operational techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality. It is that part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements.
While quality assurance relates to how a process is performed or how a product is made, quality control is more of the inspection aspect of quality management.
Testing, Auditing, and Inspection
To achieve quality, three functions that must be carried out are:
Testing should be carried out to verify that the proposed components will satisfactorily operate in the intended environment with acceptable reliability. This verification usually takes the form of a qualification test and screening. However, other methods may be proposed, such as extensive field experience of the proposed parts in similar applications or previous contractor qualification data which is valid for the intended application. This is achieved by testing every proposed component the intended environment with acceptable reliability and taking measures to prevent recurrence of detected problems. Quality assurance also addresses those techniques that will give the customer confidence that future components and assembly processes will have equivalent or better reliability than current components and assembly processes
Auditing is part of the quality assurance function. It is important to ensure quality because it is used to compare actual conditions with requirements and to report those results to management. In The Quality Audit: A Management Evaluation Tool (McGraw-Hill, 1988), Charles Mill wrote that auditing and inspection are not interchangeable: “The auditor may use inspection techniques as an evaluation tool, but the audit should not be involved in carrying out any verification activities leading to the actual acceptance or rejection of a product or service. An audit should be involved with the evaluation of the process and controls covering the production and verification activities.
Inspection is the process of measuring, examining, and testing to gauge one or more characteristics of a product or service and the comparison of these with specified requirements to determine conformity. Products, processes, and various other results can be inspected to make sure that the object coming off a production line, or the service being provided, is correct and meets specifications.
Industry perspectives on assurance and control
For some organizations that offer services rather than manufactured products, the concept of quality control may be foreign. Because there is no tangible product to inspect and control. The quality assurance function in a service organization may not include quality control of the service. But may include quality control of any products involved in providing the service. A service may include products that are documents (such as a report, contract, or design) or tangible products such as a car or machine part. It may be necessary to control product quality in a service organization to ensure that the service meets customer requirements.
Excerpted from “Appendix E: History of Quality Assurance and Auditing,” from The ASQ Auditing Handbook. The ASQ Audit , editor, ASQ Quality Press, 2012, pages 299-301.