Quality control is that branch of engineering and manufacturing,which deals with the assurance and failure testing in design and production of products or services,to meet or exceed customer requirements.
Quality assurance covers all activities from design, development, production, installation, servicing and documentation. This introduced the rules: "fit for purpose" and "do it right the first time". It includes the regulation of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components; services related to production; and management, production and inspection processes.
One of the most widely used paradigms for QA management is the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) approach, also known as the Shewhart cycle.
During the 1980s, the concept of “company quality” with the focus on management and people came to the fore. It was realized that, if all departments approached quality with an open mind, success was possible if the management led the quality improvement process.
The company-wide quality approach places an emphasis on three aspects :-
Elements such as controls, job management, defined and well managed processes, performance and integrity criteria and identification of records
Competence such as knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications
Soft elements, such as personnel integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team spirit and quality relationships.
The quality of the outputs is at risk if any of these three aspects is deficient in any way.
The approach to quality management given here is therefore not limited to the manufacturing theatre only but can be applied to any business activity:
Total quality control
Total Quality Control is the most necessary inspection control of all in cases where, despite statistical quality control techniques or quality improvements implemented, sales decrease.
The major problem which leads to a decrease in sales was that the specifications did not include the most important factor, “What the customer required”.
The major characteristics, ignored during the search to improve manufacture and overall business performance were:
As the most important factor had been ignored, a few refinements had to be introduced:
Marketing had to carry out their work properly and define the customer’s specifications.
Specifications had to be defined to conform to these requirements.
Conformance to specifications i.e. drawings, standards and other relevant documents, were introduced during manufacturing, planning and control.
Management had to confirm all operators are equal to the work imposed on them and holidays, celebrations and disputes did not affect any of the quality levels.
Inspections and tests were carried out, and all components and materials, bought in or otherwise, conformed to the specifications, and the measuring equipment was accurate, this is the responsibility of the QA/QC department.