For any organization dedicated to quality, it is essential to understand the difference between Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC). Both the parameters are integral to the organization’s quality management plan. The effectiveness of both the variables depends on how well both the 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 is Quality Assurance(QA) & Quality Systems(QS). It is quite often that both Quality assurance and Quality control are used interchangeably.

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

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 are 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 are 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.
Quality Assurance (QA) is the procedure to create the
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.