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Difference between QA and QC

As we've talked in a previous post about the Definition of Quality, with these 2 terms exist the same issue where every single person/organization defines Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) in a bit different way. Also, many people including HHRR (Human Resources) and quality professionals do not know what QA and QC really means, and what the difference is between both terms. For those reasons, these concepts are often used interchangeably, and in some organizations one department performs the activities of both. The truth is that both terms have strong interdependence; QA relies mostly on the QC feedback and both work to deliver good quality products/services; but they are different processes. Next table shows the differences between them.



QC Definition from Control: An evaluation to indicate needed corrective responses; the act of guiding a process in which variability is attributable to a constant system of chance causes. QC: The observation techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality. Other definition

Definition from Assurance: The act of giving confidence, the state of being certain or the act of making certain. QA: The planned and systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled. Other definition QA is a failure prevention system that predicts almost everything about product safety, quality standards and legality that could possibly go wrong, and then takes steps to control and prevent flawed products or services from reaching the advanced stages of the supply chain.

QC is a failure detection system that uses a testing technique to identify errors or flaws in products and tests the end products at specified intervals, to ensure that the products or services meet the requirements as defined during the earlier process for QA.

QA department develops all the planning processes and procedures in order to try to make sure that the products manufactured or the service delivered by the organization will be of good quality.

As some process parameters cannot be controlled, QC department checks the products or services for defects that happen due to these parameters, trying to achieve the overall QC objective of providing a defect-free product or service to the customers.

QA defines the standards/methodology QC ensures that the defined to be followed in order to meet the standards are followed at every step.* customer requirements. *

* This is done by conducting various tests and checks. Based on them, the QC prepares regular reports that act as an input to the QA department which then reviews the same and decides on the corrective and preventive actions required in the processes.

In general, the QA activities are done before the product is manufactured or the service delivered (proactive approach).

The QC activities are done during the manufacturing process and once the product is manufactured.

QA is process oriented.

QC is product oriented.

QA makes sure you are doing the right things, the right way.

QC makes sure the results of what you've done are what you expected.

QA tasks are conducted by managers, QC tasks are executed by experts third party auditors, and customers. * who are directly involved with the design, or manufacture of a product on the shop floor such as engineers, inspectors, etc. * * For this reason, one person cannot perform both activities (QA and QC) because will result in a conflict of interest.

Examples - A QA audit would focus on the process elements of a project. e.g.: Are requirements being defined at the proper level of detail? - Process documentation - Establishing standards - Developing checklists - Conducting internal audits

Examples - A QC review will focus on product elements. e.g.: Are the defined requirements the right requirements? - Performing inspections - Preforming testing

Example - QC detected a recurrent problem with the quality of the products. QC provides feedback to QA personnel that there is a problem in the process or system that is causing product quality problems. QA determines the root cause of the problem and then brings changes to the process to ensure that there are no

quality issues in future.

NOTE 1: Quality Assurance AKA Quality Guarantee NOTE 2: QA/QC are not limited to the manufacturing field, they can be applied to any business or non-business activity such us services, software, banking, transportation, office, education, etc. CONCLUSION Both departments are essential to maintain good quality of the deliverables. And keep in mind no matter how you define QA and QC, the goal is: to delivery good quality. READER'S QUESTIONS 1. QA and QC activities performed by the same person. Read question 2. QA and QC personnel report to the same manager. Read question NOTE If you are a member of the ASQ group in LinkedIn, you can read more about this topic by clicking here.

So, how do you define QA and QC?

Quality Assurance vs Quality Control
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Quality Assurance is process oriented and focuses on defect prevention; while quality control is product oriented and focuses on defect identification.

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Quality Assurance Quality Control QC is a set of activities for ensuring quality in products. The activities focus on identifying defects in the actual products produced.


QA is a set of activities for ensuring quality in the processes by which products are developed.

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Quality Assurance

Quality Control

Focus on:

QC aims to identify (and correct) QA aims to prevent defects with a focus on defects in the finished product. Quality the process used to make the product. It is a control, therefore, is a reactive proactive quality process. process. The goal of QA is to improve development The goal of QC is to identify defects and test processes so that defects do not after a product is developed and arise when the product is being developed. before it's released. Statistical Tools & Techniques can be applied When statistical tools & techniques are in both QA & QC. When they are applied to applied to finished products (process processes (process inputs & operational outputs), they are called as Statistical parameters), they are called Statistical Quality Control (SQC) & comes under Process Control (SPC); & it becomes the part QC. of QA. Prevention of quality problems through planned and systematic activities including documentation. Establish a good quality management system and the assessment of its adequacy & conformance audit of the operation system & the review of the system itself. Verification is an example of QA The activities or techniques used to achieve and maintain the product quality, process and service. Finding & eliminating sources of quality problems through tools & equipment so that customer's requirements are continually met. Validation/Software Testing is an example of QC Quality control is usually the responsibility of a specific team that tests the product for defects.


Statistical Techniques:




Everyone on the team involved in Responsibility: developing the product is responsible for quality assurance.


1 Differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control o 1.1 Definitions of QA and QC 2 Video explaining the differences 3 See Also 4 References

edit Differences between Quality Assurance and Quality Control

edit Definitions of QA and QC

Quality Assurance (QA) refers to the process used to create the deliverables, and can be performed by a manager, client, or even a third-party reviewer. Examples of quality assurance include process checklists, project audits and methodology and standards development. o Quality Control (QC) refers to quality related activities associated with the creation of project deliverables. Quality control is used to verify that deliverables are of acceptable quality and that they are complete and correct. Examples of quality control activities include inspection, deliverable peer reviews and the testing process. Quality control is about adherence to requirements. Quality assurance is generic and does not concern the specific requirements of the product being developed. Quality assurance activities are determined before production work begins and these activities are performed while the product is being developed. In contrast, Quality control activities are performed after the product is developed.

Quality Assurance Is Not Quality Control

I need to get something straight: QA and QC are different. Why must I point this out? Because programmers don't seem to get it and use these terms interchangeably. QA is QualityAssurance but QC is QualityControl The difference is that QA inspects the process and QC controls the process and the end product. Testing, therefore is product oriented and thus is in the QC domain. Testing for quality isn't assuring quality, it's controlling it.

Quality Assurance makes sure you are doing the right things, the right way. Quality Control makes sure the results of what you've done are what you expected.

Why all the fuss? There are lots of reasons to ensure the distinction between the two. Easily, the ones that come to mind are:

You'll need to know the difference for CMM or ISO-9000 QC and QA may at times overlap and at times may be accomplished by the same people, but the QC and QA roles are different and must be addressed separately. QC can not overrule QA and vice versa, they must work independently but together to be effective.