The single most important attribute people look for in a product or a service is quality. For the same reason, it becomes mandatory for all business organizations around the world to understand the concept of quality, which has got many layers to it.
The term quality is usually used as a synonym for “good.” Leading brands project their offerings as “high quality”, “top quality”, or “superior quality”. However, this is just a superficial understanding of the subject, as the concept of quality is much more complicated than it appears.
It is not just a term to be used in the marketing material, but an attribute which should be an inherent part of the integral business processes or policy documents. It is a much broader aspect to understand than what it sounds. Here, we make an attempt to decode it for you:
First things first, what’s Quality?
Interpreted as a parameter to judge the inferiority or superiority of a product or service, Quality is simply a measure of goodness to understand how a product or service meets its specifications, and satisfies customer’s expectations. It is a subjective attribute, and is generally understood differently by different people.
Quality has different interpretations in business world too. For the producer, it is the degree to which the product was manufactured correctly, while for the consumer, it is the degree to which a product or a service meets their requirements, or to how it compares on different parameters to its competitors’ offering.
ISO 9000 defines quality as the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.
Quality covers everything, and has its own intangible benefits!
The scope of quality covers everything. Each and every product, service, process, action, or decision in an organization falls under the umbrella of quality, and can be judged on its terms – how good is it, is it good enough, or how can it be made better?
Businesses strive for quality in order to not just survive, but to thrive as well. How well they manage quality determines their reputation at the marketplace, as well as in the eyes of their customers.
What’s more, quality is that shield for them which protects against potential risks, increases their efficiency, boosts profitability, and help them attain a position of competitive advantage. Not to mention, the happiness and satisfaction it brings for their staff as well as customers.
Different aspects of quality
When it comes to the businesses, there are many aspects of quality. Some of the terminologies that are often used in this context include Quality Assurance (QA), Quality Control (QC), and Quality Management. As a matter of fact, these terms are used alternatively to refer to ways of ensuring quality of a service or product. However, they are intrinsically different.
Quality Management is that mechanism through which the organizations maintain uniformity and consistency in their products and services. It focuses on end-to-end processes, right from the quality of products and services to the activities and means to achieving it and consistently managing it. QA and QC, apart from Quality Planning & Quality Improvement, fall under it.
Since this blog aims to focus only on the difference between Quality Management and Quality Control, we shall not touch upon the other aspects. Quality Control, essentially, refers to a set of procedures implemented to ensure that a product or a service complies with the quality criteria defined by the company and the requirements of the customers.
How Quality Management and Quality Control are different?
ISO 9000 identifies QC as a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production, and defines it as “a part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements“. The operative part of this definition happens to be “a part of”, which clearly suggests that Quality Control is a subset of Quality Management.
A process to review quality in every aspect of production focusing solely on the pre-defined requirements, Quality Control is more about the operational activities. Inspection is its major component, as Quality Control is also referred to as the inspection process in quality management.
Quality Management is the planning stage; where quality standards are set and agreed upon, specifications are decided, and key metrics are defined to determine how well the project meets the outlined specifications. Quality Control, on the other hand, is about evaluating how well the project conforms to the specifications decided during the quality management phase.
Should the terms be used interchangeably?
The terms Quality Management and Quality Control are often used interchangeably because of the general perception that QC is responsible for quality planning as well. While this might hold true only for organizations that don’t have separate departments for QC and quality planning, quality management and quality control are handled by different people at all other places.
Additionally, both Quality Management and QC require a set of tools to ensure quality and run all the complex quality operations smoothly. Most organizations turn towards a quality management software to achieve the same. Thanks to such advanced total quality management system, many organizations have found a successful way to manage every process from quality planning to quality control in a hassle-free manner.
BM QualityMaster is one such quality management software that covers both the quality planning as well as control aspects. It handles the broader concept of quality management, and also quality control, which is a part of the former. Curious how this quality control system can help your business manage quality? Get in touch today for a free demo of this best-in-class QMS software.