Quality control and quality assurance are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between quality control and quality assurance. In this episode of Ask the Experts, Director of Operations Tim Lackey answered this question.
Tim explained that quality control is “looking at the product at the end of the production cycle.” He continued, “At that point if something’s wrong, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
The better approach is to build quality into the product, which is what a quality assurance framework does. “It’s making sure we’re following the standards and procedures that we’ve set and our standard work.”
Old models of production relied on quality control, but as noted, it’s too late to fix the problem. Quality assurance is the continuous effort to adhere to the quality management rules in place. Simply put, quality assurance relates to process performance, and quality control is just an inspection mechanism.
Tim shared that quality assurance “ensures we’re following the processes, and errors don’t happen.”
PCI Group’s use of Lean Manufacturing supports the quality assurance method. With repeatable workflows that don’t deviate, we’ve been able to minimize errors and continue to refine the process so that these issues never make it into production.