Quality Assurance (QA) vs. Quality Control (QC)

    There is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to Quality Assurance and Quality Control. Many times these two terms are used interchangeably.

    This post summarizes the similarities and differences between Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC).

    Let's start with the official definitions of Quality Assurance and Quality Control as defined in ISO 9000:2015.

    Quality Control:

    Part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements.

    Quality Assurance:

    Part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled.

    Other Definitions and Explanations

    In addition to the formal definitions by ISO 9000 above, there are some informal definitions about Quality Assurance and Quality Control as well.

    Quality Control:

  • The operational techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality.
  • The physical verification that the product conforms to the planned arrangements by inspection, measurement.
  • Quality Control ensures that the final product meets the requirements.
  • Quality Assurance

  • All the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfill requirements for quality.
  • Quality Assurance is fundamentally focused on planning and documenting the processes to assure quality, including the requirements of quality plans and inspection and test plans are met.
  • Quality Assurance is a management approach to ensure that quality standards and customer requirements are met.
  • What do these do?

    Quality Control:

    Quality Control activities and techniques are used to achieve and maintain the product quality, process and service.

    Quality Assurance:

    Quality Assurance activities and techniques are used to prevent problems through planned and systematic activities, including standardized processes and documentation.


    How are these achieved?

    Quality Control:

    It is achieved by testing, inspecting and eliminating causes of quality problems, so that customer's requirements are continually met. Quality Control is achieved by the inspection and testing teams.

    Quality Assurance:

    It is achieved by establishing a Quality Management System (QMS) which focuses on meeting internal and external requirements, conducting quality audits and the periodic review of the system. It requires the involvement of all team members in the organization.

    What is common between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

  • Both of these (QA and QC) are intended to meet customer requirements, produce quality products and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Both of these are an integral part of the organization's Quality Management plan.
  • Summary

 

Quality Control

Quality Assurance

The focus is on 

Product

Process

Timing

Reactive

Proactive

Function

Line function

Staff function

Who is responsible?

Dedicated QC team

Everyone in the organization

What does it do?

Find defects and prevent them from happening again

Prevent defects from happening in the first place.

Tools used

Inspection and testing etc.

Planning, process audits and process documentation etc.


quality assurance vs quality control