Whether your business makes its money importing, exporting, or manufacturing, it already has some form of quality management in place. As a result of safety regulations and material restrictions, businesses around the world must meet exact standards. At first, however, it may be confusing to understand what makes quality assurance different from quality control. As equal parts of a fully operational quality management system, both are essential—but for very different reasons.
What Is a Quality Management System?
A quality management system, or QMS, is the complete and documented plan on how each business assures its products meet the required standards. To be effective, a QMS plan will carefully designate the work involved and provide detailed procedure information to the employees performing checks. It’s the holistic perspective on what a company does to reduce production waste, test prototypes, and create fully operational and reliable goods and parts.
What Is Quality Control?
What makes quality assurance different from quality control is ultimately the timeline. A quality check occurs after an item has completed its journey through quality assurance checks and is fully manufactured. A finished item is assessed using various non-destructive inspection techniques to reveal potential flaws. Items found with construction errors put customers at risk and must be sorted out for recycling or destruction. Typically, external checks on the surface of an item are done with the naked eye, whereas internal investigation requires a type of remote viewing tool.
What Is Quality Assurance?
As noted, it’s the point in the manufacturing process that makes the differences. Quality assurance is more like preventative medicine in the creation of goods. Essentially, it’s the planning and developing of design elements in a factory that help keep production running smoothly. When machines and operations meet safety protocols and are running smoothly, then the quality assurance checks are too. Glitches in the system that cause hard-to-spot quality control flaws are detected using well-planned assurance checks.