The role of quality control in manufacturing ensures consumer satisfaction on thousands of goods, parts, components and finished products that are produced daily. Without a high standard of quality control in place, a design flaw or malfunctioning machine may cause a defect that could lead to thousands of parts being produced before the error is detected. The result is a substantial loss of money, time, material, labor and, ultimately, business.
Quality control in manufacturing seeks to create conformity of quality standards that helps make certain products consistently meet those standards in the production of goods. Through a process of selectively reviewing, sampling, identifying and eliminating defects during manufacturing, the quality of products can be maintained and even improved upon. Effective quality control can find and fix products before they enter the market and are purchased by consumers. Otherwise, the release of defective parts and products will not only hurt business but, in some cases, defective products may result in a recall or class action lawsuits.
That alone is a very good reason to have an effective quality control system in place. However, there are other reasons to consider why quality control protocols during manufacturing processes can help lead a company to success. From preventing defects to customer assurance and satisfaction, here are four reasons why quality control is good for your business:
Quality Control Can Prevent Widespread Mistakes or Defects
During the manufacturing process, one of the most effective ways of preventing mistakes is to anticipate them. In quality control, it means establishing conformity of quality standards—to define a protocol or protocols through a process or processes aimed at ensuring the correct procedure is followed and to identify incorrect procedures as they happen.
Managers as well as regular line personnel need proper training in order to know that they are properly executing processes correctly. Quality control requires manufacturers to create an environment in which both management and employees strive for perfection. This is achieved through training personnel, establishing certain benchmarks for product quality, and continually checking or testing products for any statistically significant variations in quality.
Examining and testing products makes sure they meet benchmarks for product quality, too, and most importantly that they have the specifications as designed. Quality control inspecting and testing is achieved through analysis of sample products and the processes to make them. Quality control inspectors collect and interpret data from sampling and use statistical analysis to determine if the conformity to quality standards is being met. There are a number of tools available. The most fundamental of these is working from a checklist—a good old-fashioned ‘to do’ list—to check off that which needs to be monitored.
Reduce Expenses and Increase Workflow
Being able to quickly identify quality issues in a product can reduce the amount of wasted material that is produced relating to that defective product. That by itself will reduce expenses, but by quickly identifying a problem it will also limit manufacturing downtime that may decrease workflow. Time lost in production and labor will cause an overall drop in profitability.
Quality control protocols can not only prevent errors before they are made, but they also provide a tracking system and traceability of the product through the manufacturing process. Traceability is the accumulation of information that begins from the time the raw material is received at the loading dock until it is processed, packaged, and shipped out as a product. Traceability records the information beginning with the inventory of material, its inspection, preparation and time spent to manufacture through each step of the process. The conformity of quality standards cannot be met without monitoring its source, history, and distribution.
Quality Assurance and Customer Satisfaction
To ensure customer satisfaction, following established conformity of quality standards ensures quality assurance in the finished product, and also that the product has met the company’s quality criteria. Quality assurance is an essential quality management tool and the basis for ISO 9000—the family of international standards of quality management systems. Quality assurance instills confidence in customers that the quality requirements of products they acquire have been fulfilled, and that the design, testing, manufacturing, and quality control processes were done correctly.
A quality control system challenges companies to continuously improve the quality management system that they have in place. It’s a collective goal throughout the organization to maintain and follow a rigorous process that will provide customer satisfaction. Quality control ensures quality assurance that products meet or exceed customer expectations. When effectively integrated into manufacturing processes, quality control leads to success.