Quality Assurance vs Quality Control: Definition & 7 Key Differences

In this article, we will discuss quality assurance vs quality control.

For any organization dedicated to quality, it is essential to understand the difference between Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC). Both parameters are integral to the organization’s quality management plan. The effectiveness of both variables depends on how well both parameters are understood not only by management but employees too.

Efficient Quality Systems ensure the project’s success by ensuring the system is delivered in a specific and strict timeline, Respecting the allocated budget, and maintaining a certain standard. All the opposites are true for inefficient Quality Systems. Especially in the healthcare and life science industry as Quality Assurance and Quality Control are mandated by ISO 9000 & FDA. Even if it wasn’t mandated a good organization will keep its process up to the standards as not following it can result in life-threatening situations.

Before jumping into differences, let’s first understand what Quality Assurance(QA) & Quality Systems(QS) is. It is quite often that both Quality assurance and Quality control are used interchangeably.

What is Quality Assurance (QA) & Quality Control (QC)

quality assurance vs quality control
Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control

Quality Assurance, or QA, is process-oriented and focuses on defect prevention. QA ensures that the methods, techniques, processes, and approaches designed for the projects are implemented correctly.

Quality Assurance(QA) ensures the processes used to manage and create the deliverables have been followed and are operative. Quality Assurance is a dynamic and proactive process and is preventive in nature. While;  

Quality Control, or QC, is product-oriented and focuses on defect identification. Quality Control (QC)  ensures that the methods, techniques, approaches, and processes designed in the product are followed correctly.  

QC monitors and verifies that the project deliverables meet the defined quality standards. Quality Control (QC) is a reactive process and is detection in nature. It recognizes the defects. Quality Control(QC) has to complete after Quality Assurance.

So if you are only focusing on Quality Assurance (QA), then we have a system that delivers only in lab conditions or delivered solutions.

On the contrary, if we focus on Quality Control (QC) only, then we are doing tests without the intention of understanding or eliminating the problems in the system.  

Either way, the only thing we are making sure of is a system destined to fail.

7 Key Differences QA Vs QC

It is a procedure that makes sure the quality
needed is achieved.
It is an executable process that generates the product in line with the quality needed.
It is a defect preventive method.QC’s main objective is to identify and fix.
It focuses on intangibles like setting up the process to
ensure quality.
It focuses on tangibles like tweaking the process to ensure quality.
It is proactive & preventive by nature.It is reactive & corrective by nature.
It is a defect-preventive method.Quality Control (QC) is the procedure that verifies deliverables.
It is Pre-process, which means to meet the customer
requirements, QA defines standards and methodologies.
It is On-process, which means QC confirms that the standards are followed
while working on the product.
QA’s main motive is to prevent defects in the system.
It is a less time-consuming activity because its proactive by nature.
QC’s main motive is to identify defects or bugs in the system.
It is a more time-consuming activity as it is reactive by nature,
so we have to test it multiple times before bugs can be detected.

FAQ: Quality assurance vs quality control

Quality assurance and quality control are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two distinct processes in the field of quality management. Here are three key differences between the two:

1. Focus: Quality assurance is focused on preventing defects from occurring in the first place, while quality control is focused on identifying and correcting defects that have already occurred.

2. Timing: Quality assurance typically takes place during the planning and development phases of a project, while quality control takes place during the testing and inspection phases.

3. Responsibility: Quality assurance is the responsibility of everyone involved in a project or process, from management to front-line workers, while quality control is typically the responsibility of a dedicated team or individual who is responsible for testing and inspecting products or services.

Understanding these differences can help organizations develop more effective quality management strategies that ensure both the prevention and correction of defects.

Both quality assurance and quality control are important aspects of ensuring that a product or service meets the required standards of quality.

Quality assurance typically comes first, as it involves establishing processes and procedures to ensure that the product or service is being developed or delivered in a consistent and reliable manner.

This may include setting up testing protocols, creating documentation standards, and establishing criteria for measuring success.

On the other hand, quality control focuses on monitoring and evaluating the product or service to ensure that it meets these established standards.

This may involve conducting inspections, performing tests, and making adjustments as needed to improve the quality of the final product or service.

Ultimately, both quality assurance and quality control are essential components of any successful project or operation, and they work together to ensure that the end result is of high quality and meets customer expectations.

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