Quality management involves planning, QA/QC and quality improvement. It emphasizes on product or service quality and the manner in which to attain it. It applies QA and QC processes to give consistent quality. Quality management integrates the principles of management, which are embraced by top managerial teams to guide the organization for enhanced performance. Any organization is client-oriented and keeps on researching about their apparent needs, future needs and even goes beyond their prospects.
Customer focus is achieved if there is a way to meet their quality to ensure their satisfaction. The internal environment has to be controlled by every employee to attain the overall goal of the company. Their potential is crucial for the performance of the company and this is only attained when the tasks are managed as a process. Tasks in the organization becomes of high quality by running the process as a single system through analyzing data and information.
In the competitive global marketplace, organizations have to offer products and services of high quality, and yet maintain a competitive edge in the business. Strategic and systematic processes in manufacturing give confidence to suit the product with the intended need, for better business performance (Webber & Wallace 22). QA and QC procedures are therefore, essential to ensure that the products comply with given regulations.
Introduction to the Topic
The QA and QC have undergone several redefinitions by quality experts. The definition also depends with the industry. According to the American National Standard (ANSI/ASQC A8402-1994) QC is “all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system, and demonstrated as needed, to provide adequate confidence that an entity will fulfill requirements for quality” (TQAS pr. 2).
According to American Society for quality (ASQ), Quality assurance is “the planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled” (TQAS pr. 2).
This definition infers that QA are procedures and tasks undertaken prior to production or delivery of a product, to guarantee quality to clients, which comprise of a proactive approach. QC is embraced as a universal managerial process to undertake tasks and ensure steadiness (TQAS pr. 3).
This paper shall give a distinction between QA and QC, how they are applied in the organizations and propose the recommendations of how to incorporate them in business.
Overview of QA/QC
Remarkable differences exist between QA and QC. QA is a set of precautionary undertakings that adhere to processes while QC is a detection activity that identifies the defectiveness of a product, following its manufacturing (Webber & Wallace 11).
QA describes the standard to be adhered to, in order to keep up to clients’ needs while QC guarantees the set standards that are followed to the latter through carrying out several checks & tests. QC formulates systematic reports, for input to QA department that reviews them and comes up with remedial and preventive measures needed for the processes (TQAS pr. 4).
Irrespective of the definition differences for QA and QC, the concepts have frequently been applied interchangeably. However, their importance cannot be underestimated, since QA department establishes the planning methods and procedures, which are aimed at ensuring that the manufactured products or service delivery by an industry have high quality.
However, certain process parameters are beyond control, thus calling for the services of QC. These evaluate the products or even services to determine flaws, which occur as a result of the parameters and eventually assist QC to achieve the overall goal of provision of flaw-free product /service to the clients (Besterfield 78).
QA and QC are interdependent. The QA department is reliant on the feedback given by QC. For instance, when there is a persistent problem with product quality, QC department gives feedback to QA personnel, which in turn evaluate the core cause and define alterations of the process to solve future quality problems. Likewise, the QC department adheres to the strategies as well as standard set by QA department, to determine if deliverables are in accordance to quality standards.
Therefore, the two departments are equally important for sustenance of quality. Even though QA and QC are not similar, they have are highly interdependent. Evaluating their differences is rather difficult since a slim line separates the two concepts. In addition, some businesses take a single department to serve the role of both QA and QC, which further enhance the confusion between them.
Specific Differences between QA and QC
Quality Control (QC)
Quality Control (QC) is a system of routine technical actions to quantify performance process and regulate inventory quality in accordance to a given standard. Activities of QC help to assess an established work product and emphasize on determining defects of a product to improve it.
Therefore, it emphasizes on detecting and includes testing, which certifies that all quality standards are met. It is an inspection function and comprises of activities like calibration as well as analyzing check samples, in determining bias or precision related to sample outcomes.
It includes a procedure of routine testing of samples to determine whether they are reliable, accurate as well as precise in a test system. QC gives routine as well as regular checks to enable data integrity, comprehensiveness and accuracy. In addition, it helps to recognize and handle errors and omissions. QC assists to document as well as store inventories and records for the undertaken tasks (Mangino 8.4). It entails accuracy checks to implement standards for given measurements, calculations among others.
Quality assurance (QA)
QA is a process, which enables to enhance laboratory’s consistency, competence and quality. It is defined by USEPA as “the overall system of technical activities that measures the attributes and performance of a process, item or service against defined standards to verify that they meet the stated requirements established by the customer” (MASSDEP pr.2). It focuses on technical activities. For instance, in analytical laboratories, QC entails a comparison of empirical evidence required by QA, to preset acceptance procedure.
It includes activities to warrant adequacy in process development and upkeep, for attainment of the appropriate goals. Therefore, it involves evaluation of a process to identify defects and enhance it. It focuses on preventing and includes training, audits, facilitation and reviews, which shows that a given entity is in accordance to quality standards. It is an audit function. It is identified by USEPA as
an integrated system of management activities involving planning, training, quality control, assessment, data review, reporting, and quality improvement to ensure that a process, item or service is of the type and quality needed and expected by the user. QA is a management function that deals with setting policy and running an administrative system of controls to ensure the usability of the product (e.g., data) (MASSDEP pr.5).
The definition is flexible and important to entities with different QA requirements. It could also be a written procedure that document information ranging from plan to processing and ultimate acceptance. Another party unfamiliar with the process can use it since procedures are outlined to predetermine quality.
It incorporates three procedures which include pre analytical, analytical & post analytical to determine efficacy of a laboratory guidelines and procedures (Webber & Wallace 14). Besides, it is essential in identifying problems in order to solve them and enhance accuracy in performance as well as tests reports. QA entails a procedural review plan, which is handled by individuals who have no direct link to compiling or developing inventory.
Third parties are often involved and evaluate the product inventory as a result of following QC procedures. The reviews evaluate the extent to which data quality was met. It also facilitates precise representation of inventories with regard to scientific skills and data in place. . QA also helps in the efficiency of QC programme (Mangino 8.4).
QA/QC practice facilitates confidence in the data produced and applied by the department to enhance credibility for concerned parties as well as staff competence (Webber & Wallace 33). Both QA and QC are essential processes to ensure accuracy and consistency of laboratory testing.
The concepts have a close relationship although they vary to an extent. QA is a process approach for effective development, to ensure good quality. On the other hand, QC is a product approach, to determine if certain aspects are in accordance with quality standards where the right steps are undertaken following the outcome.
Before executing both QA and QC tasks, it is essential to identify the techniques to be applied. The choice of this should not only be practical but also technical. Practical considerations put into focus the national situation, which includes resource availability as well as expertise and specific traits of the inventory. QA/QC tasks have to be in line with methods applied to approximate figures for certain groups. The resources have to be streamlined on precedence areas.
Analysis and Interpretation
However, QC reviews every factor of production and focus on controls work, processes management, potential and integrity standards as well as records specifications. Moreover, competence is a key component of the process and entails acquaintance, expertise, experience and credentials.
QC pays attention to soft elements, which involve integrity, self-assurance, organization culture, enthusiasm and teamwork as well as quality dealings. The overall performance of the organization is compromised when these aspects are ignored. QC focuses on product testing to reveal defects. It also reports the flaws to the managerial team, who decide whether to permit or refute their release.
QA on the other hand, tries to progress a steady production and the connected processes, to limit problems which would compromise the quality. QC has the leading role in the renewal of government contracts with certain agencies. For project management, QC prompts the project manager and his team to scrutinize the attained work to facilitate its compliance with project standards. Projects ideally possess dedicated QC team that emphasize on the area (Besterfield 54).
QC encompasses various actions undertaken by a business to ensure quality in line with certain specifications. QC tests a process, product or service with regard to theses specifications and failure to comply with the production could be temporarily or even permanently ceased depending on the extent of the issue. People can also be covered by QC.
Employees are part of running the business and if they lack the necessary skills, cannot understand policies or have misinformation, quality could be compromised. Therefore, QC in relation to the employees emphasize on issues that can be corrected. QC is product oriented while QA is processes oriented and such a clear distinction is often confused by many people (Besterfield 35). Conversely, QA improves confidence since the process can be identified for flaws. QA is characterized by great paperwork, which consumes time.
It is often related to analytical laboratories. QA/QC is crucial in controlling permit submissions, creating fiscal documents and information implementation. For instance, agencies which control documentations on permits application require QA management plan to facilitate their reliable processing. A record manual recognize the documents needed for submission, the guidelines and filing needed to give consistency for people in the program specifications (Owen & Maidment 8).
This guarantees total quality in the business to award maximum customer satisfaction. It requires knowhow, dedication and efforts to pursue quality. The approach is essential to design, develop, manufacture, install or service as quality outcomes that would fulfill the client. The process of managing the stated tasks in various business departments is regarded as QC management. Many businesses have dedicated managerial teams as well as QA staff to manage the whole process.
Various reputed companies contain a good basis of management techniques that go a long way in facilitating business performance. The procedures have taken time to evolve to come up with planning measures in a specific time period, following a number of review processes. Applying the procedures aids the business to undertake a constant growing phase towards its ultimate success. Emerging businesses have as well assimilated the policies to sustain them in the competitive marketplace.
An effective QA management process requires planning quality policies by the quality department. It should identify these policies to sustain QC through documenting them and being distributed in the entire organization for employees to be aware of the range of performance. They should adhere to the stated policies for better performance and maintain ultimate quality within the business (TQAS pr. 3).
Nevertheless, this could be impeded when some employees fails to appreciate the policies and ignore to implement them in their duties. QA management personnel have to warrant uniform understanding for employees prior to the quality process. As a result, the business could see a need in upgrading apparent infrastructure when they have no potential to implement the policies.
Besides, there could be a need to train some of the employees to allow them to keep up to the stipulated quality standards. Following this, the business should engage in checks and audits of the quality policies to enable their implementation. The presentation of the quality policies has to be considered up to when the expected outcomes are reached.
The QA management personnel identify the policies, which fail to perform to either modify or correct them. Hence, periodic audits have to be performed to track the checks outcomes. The managerial teams should stipulate goals for the organization to pursue them. These goals have to be realistic in order to be attained. They should be flexible and modified as time goes by in order to strive towards perfection in quality (TQAS pr. 4).
QA/QC International Bodies
The International Organization for standardization (ISO)
The International Organization for standardization (ISO) set the Quality Management System (QMS) standards since nineteen eighty seven to a series dubbed ISO 9000:1987. They are applied in various organizations with regard to processes and tasks like design, manufacturing and service provision.
These standards are reviewed annually by ISO to draft other standards series such as the one drafted in nineteen ninety four, dubbed ISO 9000:1994 (Owen & Maidment 5). Another review of the standard was carried out in two thousand and eight and was dubbed the ISO 9000:2000 series, while the latest one is the ISO 9000:2009, which contain guidelines to enhance performance through quality management.
QMS stipulated by ISO has covered various industries as food and automotive to facilitate quality management. ISO series program offer standards to enable data documentation as well as audits for QMS. They ensure quality inventories and related agencies could find them timely to develop QA/QC plan (Mangino 8.7).
ISO 9004-1 contain guidelines on implementing a quality system while ISO 9004-4 directs on how to implement steady quality enhancement in an organization by applying techniques reliant on data gathering and analysis. ISO 100005 guides on preparation quality plans to control certain projects while ISO 10011-1 gives guidelines on how to audit a quality system.
Moreover, ISO 10011-2 guides on the requirement procedures for quality system auditors and ISO 10011-3 contain a guide on how to manage quality system audit programmes. ISO 10012 has a guide on calibrating systems as well as statistical controls to facilitate accurate measurements while ISO 10013 has guideline to develop quality manuals to encounter certain requirements (Mangino 8.7).
SGS Industrial services for instance pursue the needs of clients by awarding QA/QC inspection within the SGS Supply Chain Services. Its QA/QC focuses on quality for clients in relation to particular standards specifications. QC emphasize on real measurements, testing or supervision of producer Product by sample tests or inspection of each unit.
SGS QA/QC confirms materials, portions as well as finished product by conducting checks, audits, spectating and inspection. Material inspection follows QA procedures with regard to certain materials, operations and dealer’s QC system. The QA/QC is conducted entirely independent of the manufacturer and consumer (Webber & Wallace 47).
ANSI and JCAHO
A private nonprofit agency called The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) rules and supervises voluntary standardization and conformity evaluation system for every industry in the US. Currently, ANSI initiated the U.S ISO representative and stipulates international standards (Webber & Wallace 25).
Another international QA/QC body is the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), which assess as well participate in the accreditation of hospitals as well as other healthcare bodies in the U.S. It is an independent nonprofit company, which emphasize on quality improvement and health safety, which is acquired from the healthcare facilities (Webber & Wallace 25).
Quality Control: Peer Review
Expert peer review entails calculations and assumptions review, a procedure attained by reviewing documents related to the techniques and results. It does not involve data certification which normal audits entails. The peer review enables that inventory outcomes, assumptions as well as methods are rational in accordance to the judgment of experts in the field.
Peer review process could entail technical intellectuals and incase a nation possess official stakeholder and public review machinery, it could complement rather than substitute expert peer review. Expert peer review lacks given standard tools and therefore, should be put into consideration in each case. Increased uncertainty linked to figure estimate, experts reviewing could give information to develop the estimate or have an improved measure of the uncertainty.
Expert peer review could track the entire source category to award their industrial expertise even when they are not directly being linked to the project. An efficient peer review entails recognizing as well as communicating to main industrial trade organizations linked with particular source category. Essentially, the expert input has to be pursued timely during inventory advance process for them to contribute from the beginning.
Therefore, relevant experts have to be involved to develop and review approaches as well as data acquisition. Their recommendations are essential in determining the extensive acceptance of the eventual inventory. The expert’s reviews have to be properly documented in a report format, which portrays the results and recommendations for further upgrading (Mangino 8.16).
Quality Assurance: Audits
Audits are important to determine the effectiveness of the inventory agencies in accordance to QC standards stated in the QC plan. The auditor has to be liberated of the inventory agency in order to give an impartial evaluation of the processes and data assessed. Audits are carried out when the inventory is being prepared, on prior inventory or after its preparation.
They help when new methods are embraced or when the existing ones have been altered considerably. Inventory agency has to come up with a plan of audits at a particular time during the inventory progress. Audits linked to first data, quantities, transcription, calculation and records has to be carried out. It helps to certify implementation of QC steps and that certain procedures have been adhered to in accordance to the QC plan (Mangino 8.16).
QC and QA is a necessity for organizations that produce medical apparatus, pharmaceuticals, food industry such as the coca cola company, cosmetic industries among others. QC software is essential since it enhance compliance and steadiness of organization’s processes. QA and QC are put as software for approval of documents.
Introducing actual QC process in a business requires several procedures. It is necessary to market approval of the program from crucial stakeholders. Besides communication influence could be essential for a sponsor to articulate necessity for change and one with political control to attain compliance if necessary. Moreover, communicating the motive for change and the benefit it would fetch to the entire organization would be important.
Training employees for organization change would help them to embark on accurate and consistent tasks. QC should be hosted bit by bit, which could be achieved by establishing a pilot project that enables small changes to a portion of the process for determining the impact. When the outcomes are fascinating, they could be implemented for entire organization change. If otherwise the damage impacted is minimal and can be ignored (Webber & Wallace 11).
Therefore it is necessary to plan on improving processes in the business by evaluating the issues which undermine the quality of the products. Consequently, improvements should be made through enforcing minute changes to lessen disturbance of the process.
The production should then be checked for the outcome, to determine if a change was done and therefore, act on in the whole process. Inspecting production as part of QC ensures its conformity to customers’ needs in accordance to their specifications through comparison of the two. The process could however, be expensive particularly for high volume and less valuable products such as shirt buttons (Webber & Wallace 12).
Managing quality in a given project requires an understanding of given expectations of the clients. This is followed by having a proactive plan to rhyme with the expectations. This proactive plan is characterized by undertaking elements regarded as Quality control and quality assurance.
These concepts are very essential but they are vaguely understood by managers. QC focuses on the establishment of project deliverables. It is applied in the verifications of the deliverables to ensure that their quality is satisfactory, complete as well as correct. Peer reviews and testing comprises the QC tasks (Webber & Wallace 9).
Quality assurance focuses on procedures to form variables, which managers, clients or a third party could undertake. Project audits as well as checklists are some of the deliverables that QA entails. Auditing a project helps to evaluate the acceptance of its content (QC). The auditor is able to determine the acceptability with regard to the applied process on its creation (QA).
This is the reason as to why project auditors conduct QA review, even with no information on the particulars being delivered; I.e. they have no awareness of the project but are able to evaluate on its goodness. QC therefore, pays attention to the deliverable while QA on the process to form it. The two techniques are equally important and have to be carried out to make sure the deliverables are in line with clients’ needs (Besterfield 23).
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