Using quality control in manufacturing will ensure customers receive high quality products.
Quality Control in Manufacturing
In the rush to get products out the door quickly while minimizing cost and maximizing profit, many manufacturers neglect the quality control testing of their products. The failure of some companies to use a quality control system are well documented, as seen in product recalls from Toyota, Firestone and other large manufacturers. Even the great Titanic suffered from quality-control issues; many believe she sank so quickly in part because of faulty rivets weakening the part of the hull that collided with the iceberg.
In manufacturing, quality control is a process used to ensure products meet a company's quality requirements before they are sold into the external market. Quality control in manufacturing emphasizes the importance of thoroughly examining and testing the quality of products to find defects. Companies that use quality control in manufacturing processes typically have a team of workers who focus on testing a certain number of products at random to determine whether they meet the company's standards.
Benefits of Using Quality Control in Manufacturing
The most obvious beneficiary of quality control is the customer, who receives a high-quality product. This in turn benefits the company by ensuring customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business, customer loyalty, and spreading the word about the quality of the company's product. Therefore, quality control in manufacturing pays off for a company in both reputation and revenue.
Companies with quality control procedures in place are far less likely to face product recalls or safety hazards from poorly constructed products. The cost associated with these recalls can be steep: In 2009, Toyota had to recall 12.4 million cars for sticky gas pedals and floor mats that could jam accelerators, at a cost of approximately $2 billion. This could have been avoided had quality control been properly implemented.
Incorrect Implementation of Quality Control in Manufacturing
Quality control in manufacturing is usually performed at the end of the production process, before products go out to other companies or consumers. This approach has limited effectiveness, because defects are uncovered only after the product is ready to be packaged or shipped. Therefore, time and resources are wasted creating defective products.
Using Quality Assurance with Quality Control in Manufacturing
The aim of quality assurance is to streamline a production process such that finished products are more likely to meet the company's quality criteria. The difference between quality control and quality assurance is that quality control evaluates the finished product, while quality assurance ensures the manufacturing process will produce high quality products. Quality assurance can be combined with quality control to avoid the limitations of using only quality control in manufacturing.
Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Lean Manufacturing
Companies that use quality assurance to prevent problems during production and quality control as a final check before distribution will benefit by wasting less resources. This is a component of lean manufacturing, which aims to get rid of any part of the production process that is unnecessary, resulting in a more efficient production process. By using both quality assurance and quality control, a company can guarantee they are sending out the highest quality products possible while saving time and money because of gains in efficiency.
How to Implement Quality Control in Manufacturing
Quality assurance along the manufacturing process should adequately prevent defective products. However, a quality control process should still be in place as a final check for product quality. To implement an effective quality control program, a company should first decide which quality standards the product is required to meet. Then, management must select what percent of each batch of products will be tested for quality. Next, designated employees will test the products and report the results to management. Product quality testing methods will vary greatly depending on the type of products the company manufactures.
If defective products are found, management must decide whether to repair or reject those products. If a large percentage of products have defects, management will bring production to a halt until whatever is causing the problem is corrected. They will look over the quality assurance process and see why the problem was not prevented. Management must ensure the quality assurance and quality control in manufacturing processes are ongoing to ensure all defects have been fixed and to detect new product defects as they come.