In the manufacturing industry, products are produced in accordance with a standard set of rules and procedures. Strict adherence to these procedures leads to quality improvement. Many manufacturers have embedded standard sets of practices into their systems to ensure quality. This leads to the elimination of wasteful procedures.
Many manufacturers mistakenly assume that quality control generates standards for maintaining quality. Instead, the quality control program simply maintains an existing standard of quality and aims to improve it. An effective quality control system continually monitors product quality according to established standards and removes any undesirable deviations.
In the earlier days of technology, quality control was implemented in the final stages of product manufacture. Products that were defective were excluded, and products that passed quality control tests were passed along for packaging and shipping.
However, with the help of modern technology, it is possible to introduce quality control before, during, or even after a product is manufactured. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and planning to establish a quality control program. Therefore, some manufacturers insist that potential failures should be singled out at the beginning of the manufacturing process.
Quality control processes, now mostly automated, use a variety of sophisticated sensing techniques such as automatic sensing, computerized quality checks, and a variety of other complex preset mechanisms. Despite the high degree of automation in manufacturing, the importance of manual checks and visual inspection cannot be ignored.
The need for more quality-conscious products results in the establishment of more stringent quality control measures. However, additional quality control means the product spends more time in the manufacturing process before it hits the market. Therefore, it is vital to determine what is essential and what is acceptable.
Despite the abundance of information on manufacturing quality control, many professionals confuse it with quality assurance. Quality assurance is actually a specific part of the quality control process wherein the quality control officer retrieves information from a variety of sources associated with the manufacturing process to analyze what quality control steps are required.
Many manufacturers utilize quality control departments in which personnel simply segregate acceptable goods from non-acceptable goods. However, quality control requires a practical and upbeat approach. Quality control should be able to effect change rather than simply sorting or controlling production activity. Similarly, inspection is just one part of quality control and not the entire process of quality control itself.
Lastly, quality control cannot be implemented without a proper budget. Simply instituting a quality control department without allocating enough funding will prevent the department from fulfilling its purpose.