February 11, 2021

Quality Assurance vs Quality Control

Assurance and control are the two main factors in quality management. These are both aspects that should be of utmost importance to any company. Adhesion to these two aspects is even more critical in companies dealing with the public. Quality is king. Always has been, and always will be. However, when you are looking at Quality Assurance Vs. Quality control, what are the differences? What do you need to look for to change?
You can find high quantities of many things. Think about buying something in a large amount. No matter what it is, you will always be expecting lower quality standards than you would if you paid for a lower amount. Quantity over quality is even more valid when it comes to paying a set amount. no matter how many items you receive. This article is going to look at the difference between assurance and control and how they will benefit your company.

Quality Assurance Vs Quality Control – Complete A Quality Audit

Before you look at what the differences are between Quality assurance and Quality Control, you need to look at your requirements. Each business has different ideas, expectations, and plans. To understand your own quality requirements, you need to do a few things, first:

  • Decide what your standards are. – What do you want your end product to look like? That doesn’t have to be a physical item, but a defined outcome, such as happy customers with their issues resolved.
  • Determine the extent of control needed. – How much deviation are you allowing for the end product? Physical products are easier to determine, but you can decide on the percentages of sales per call, for example.
  • Collect real data for analysis. – Check how close you are to your goals and any defect identification. The more data that you have, the better you can gauge what you need to do to change the outcome.
  • Take corrective action. – Make changes to your processes to get your end product as close to your goals as possible.

We will look through these steps in a little more detail, though.

Standards Of Quality

Each business sector will have differing end-product requirements. There are many examples of quality, too. For example, you can see high-quality products as physical items that may have defects or tolerances, or as a service that provides customer satisfaction with nothing more than an answer to their question.
Wherever on that spectrum, your business is, you need an effective product with an aspect of quality that your competition does not have.
Understanding the level of quality that you want will require design documents, technical reviews, and quality management. A project management team is at the core of quality, no matter what industry you are in.

Statistical Quality Control

This step of your quality audit is where you decide what the finished product quality should be in terms of the customer requirements and expectations.
Each sector will have its own conformance to requirements for quality. Whether that is a software quality or ensuring that the project deliverable meets the needs of the customer. The quality process can involve extensive software testing or thorough inspection of the manufacturing process by a testing team for defect prevention.
However, the end goal is to understand what tolerance you are happy with.

Collecting Data

One of the primary quality control activities is the collection of real and useful data for root cause analysis. You need to collect as much real-life data as you can to spot any defective products or quality issues that produce nonconforming products.
Understanding the operational parameters of the product or service you provide is the key to quality improvement. However, that product testing doesn’t only need to be completed by a quality assurance team. You can complete project audits to spot process gaps with the use of your customer’s feedback and deliverable peer reviews.
While you may already have standard operating procedures, you will need to complete periodic conformance audits using statistical tools for process improvement and product development. all of that data will ensure that you keep your practices up to date and ensure quality for your customers.

Continuous Improvement Through Corrective Action

One of the primary quality assurance responsibilities of a project manager is to ensure the constant prevention of defects. Reactive QC can use a selection of tools, plans, and control charts to certify standardized procedures through a rigorous testing process.
Understanding how process inputs affect process outputs should be a proactive process. You should always be looking for ways to improve your practices based on the data that you have gained, thus improve the actions you take.
While preventive action is often a reactive process to failures seen in the past, everyone in the entire team should complete a thorough quality training program to learn to spot issues before they happen instead of leaving it all as a reactive measure.
The more process checklists and control tools you have within quality management, the better you can forecast issues. After a while, continuous improvement should become more of a validation activity than a corrective tool.

So, What Is The Difference Between Quality Control And Quality Assurance Activities?

Believe it or not, there are many differences between quality control and a quality assurance plan. Control is a proactive approach to getting quality improvement. However, assurance is a reactive approach to things that may have gone wrong and other quality issues. For instance: One of the main examples of quality control is to find out when a followed process has gone wrong, and the outcome was not satisfactory.
Then, for effective quality assurance, it would be best if you altered the processes to stop the same consequences from happening again.

  • QA focuses on the process with a prevention system, while QC focuses on the product or outcome with a corrective system.
  • It is the staffs’ responsibility to assure quality. However, it is a line function to control assurance of quality.
  • The design stage of any function should include the implementation of assurance into all steps, whereas all of the steps should be monitored and controlled.

Quality Assurance (QA)

How do you reach your desired outcome? The best way is through the use of Quality assurance. Also, the process must be the correct one for the result that you wish. As I pointed out above, quality is king. It is something that all customers are wanting. Call centers are no different in this respect. You can have thousands of operatives waiting for your call. They can even answer you in a millisecond, but if there is no quality to that quantity, then what use is it?

The Definition of Quality Assurance is This:

A set of well designed, highly organized activities that are set out in an easy to follow manner to produce the highest quality possible. As a result, QA is a pro-active approach that can take years to perfect. Assurance focuses on every step of a set-out process to ensure that from the beginning, right through to the end of that process is as efficient and effective as possible given a set of defined parameters. Above all, the concept of assurance is for the protection against defects in a process.
Defined parameters are all subjective, and can be anything from what quality the customer expects, to the time frame that they expect it in, and anything in between that may affect it. When our primary focus here is customer service, it is the customer that is the primary subjective parameter. Their initial contact is where it starts, and the resolution of their issue is where it ends. Everything between those two points is also an individual. However, this raises the question of how do you complete quality assurance and the training that goes along with it when there are so many ways that a customer can react?

Quality Control (QC)

Quality control is in place to continuously improve quality assurance. Therefore, through a set of predetermined techniques and procedures, you can identify and resolve identified flaws in the system. Consequently, QC is in place to seek out the continuous improvement of QA. QC implementation is critical in every step of QA. QA implementation, in turn, needs to be in every step of the process of production.

The Definition of Quality Control is This:

Quality control (QC) is a procedure, or set of processes, intended to ensure that a manufactured product or performed service adheres to a defined set of quality criteria or meets the requirements of the client or customer.

The Quality Assurance and Control Link

Quality Assurance and Quality Control must go hand in hand. If you have one without the other, you will still have issues. Let’s take a look at why.

Assurance Without Control

Perhaps you have taken a long time to set out the best process for doing what your company needs to do. You have it all right. However, as I explained earlier, there are a lot of variables in quality. So what happens when something goes wrong? You have no system for changing the initial process. Therefore, you will continue to have the same problem time and time again.

Control Without Assurance

When you have no process of assurance, the tables turn. As I have already said: Quality control is in place to continuously improve quality assurance. Therefore, if you have nothing to control, you will be continuously firefighting. 

Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control – Conclusion

You may have been reading this article thinking: “where does this fit into customer services in call centers?” Firstly, there is an absolute requirement for both QA and QC within every provided service. Here at Call Criteria, we have rigorous standards and procedures to ensure quality. We give continuous training to improve quality assurance. Furthermore, we monitor all of our staff to enable accurate quality control.
Contact us here to find out how our assurances and controls can help your business thrive in the modern world.