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The definition of quality assurance and quality control has been re-framed and re-worded by different quality experts from time to time. It also varies from industry to industry. Let us take a look at some of these definitions to understand the concept.
As per American National Standard (ANSI/ASQC A8402-1994), quality control refers to all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system, and demonstrated as needed, to provide adequate confidence that an entity will fulfil requirements for quality.
American Society for Quality (ASQ) defines assurance of quality as the planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled.
From the above definition of quality control, we can say that quality guarantee or assurance is the set of procedures developed and activities done before the product or service is manufactured or delivered to assure of good quality to the customers. This is a proactive approach.
Definition Of Quality Control
After having understood the definition of quality assurance , lets see what the definition of quality control is. Juran says Quality control is a universal managerial process for conducting operations so as to provide stability – to prevent adverse change and to maintain the status quo.
As per American Society for Quality, quality control is the observation techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality.
From the above two definitions, we can say that quality control is the set of activities performed to ensure that the products or services meet the requirements as defined during the earlier process for assurance of quality. These activities are done during the manufacturing process and once the product is manufactured.
Difference Between Quality Control and Assurance
Clearly, there are marked differences between quality guarantee and quality control. Assurance of quality is a set of preventive activities, which are focused on processes whereas quality control is a detection activity, which is focused on detecting the defects once the product is manufactured. Assurance defines the standards to be followed in order to meet the customer requirements whereas quality control ensures that these defined standards are followed at every step. This is done by conducting various tests and checks. Based on these tests and checks, the quality control prepares regular reports that act as an input to the assurance of quality department which then reviews the same and decides on the corrective and preventive actions required in the processes.
Despite the differences in the definition of quality assurance and quality control, these terms are often used interchangeably. But whatever you term it as, the importance of both cannot be undermined. Quality guarantee department develops all the planning processes and procedures that try to make sure that the products manufactured by the organization or the service delivered by the organizations will always be of good quality. Despite all these, some process parameters cannot be controlled and here is where quality control comes into picture. They check the products or services for the defects that happen due to these parameters and hence help quality control in achieving the overall objective of providing a defect-free product or service to the customers. So whether you call it assurance or control, quality is the goal.