In manufacturing, quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) are processes that are part of the ecosystem that ensures customers receive high-quality products devoid of any defects. While both processes are important in any manufacturing environment, quality assurance is critical for the automotive industry and high-precision component suppliers due to the possibility of injury or fatality if manufacturers fail to maintain a high standard of quality.
To ensure you are receiving the highest standard of quality, this blog post illustrates a meaningful industry quality assurance process so that you know how to identify one in your components manufacturer.
The Difference Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
QA and QC are both necessary components for an effective quality management system, but there are a few differences between them. To better understand the differences, it is helpful to understand that QA is proactive while QC is reactive.
QA refers to the processes utilized by manufacturers to maintain consistent quality levels in the components and products they produce. QA focuses solely on the manufacturing process, taking place throughout the production process. It establishes standards of quality management, including team training, education on tool selection and auditing.
QC follows the manufacturing process and refers to the reactive practice of checking components for defects through inspection, testing, reviewing and analysis. The final products are inspected to ensure that they achieve the desired standard of quality. Inspection can include testing, walkthroughs and checkpoint reviews.
The Benefits of Quality Assurance
While there are many benefits to manufacturers who are committed to a stringent industry quality assurance process, here are the three major benefits.
1. Cost Savings
As a proactive component of a quality management system, QA is intended to prevent quality issues. By implementing a strong QA, manufacturers can avoid losing revenue due to many factors, including scrapped components, returns and other byproducts of low-quality components.
2. Boosts in Efficiency
When processes are in place to produce high-quality components and products, manufacturers deal with fewer defective components and products. This allows manufacturers to redistribute more resources, such as time, money and facility space, to create more quality components and to focus on innovative projects to bring in more revenue.
3. Improved Customer Satisfaction
It goes without saying that a higher quality product will satisfy a customer more than the alternative. Customers receive better components and products when a manufacturer employs effective quality assurance techniques that emphasize faster timelines and greater consistency. Customers who purchase quality components see the benefits further down the line, when they use those high-quality components to build high-quality products that operate effectively.
Quality Assurance Best Practices and Methods
Standardizing best practices and methods for quality assurance can be accomplished through implementation based on existing standards and creating a culture for constant improvement.
Standardized Quality Assurance Processes
Two of the main standardized quality assurance processes include the following:
- ISO 9000 is a set of international standards on quality management and quality assurance that help companies document the quality system elements needed to maintain an efficient quality system. ISO 9000 is not specific to any one industry.
- Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a structured process that aims to ensure customer satisfaction with new products and processes for customers in the automotive industry.
Individual Manufacturer Quality Assurance Processes
While these standards are excellent starting points and guides to return to, manufacturers are encouraged to develop their own internal practices. Each plan might look different based on the type of manufacturer, but consistency is key. By using a standard operating procedure, manufacturers can reduce variability, keep equipment in good condition and document areas that require updates to better abide by the QA standards.
As part of these internal practices, manufacturers should also encourage a culture of ongoing improvement that fosters curiosity and collaboration in their teams. Doing so will help the manufacturer experience improvement through innovations that will lead to higher quality production procedures.
Our Dedication to the Highest Industry Quality Assurance Process
In a partnership with VPIC Group, you will work with a company that is dedicated to the highest industry quality assurance process. Our commitment to QA and QC standards is evident in our ability to consistently satisfy our customers with high-quality components and cost reduction through less raw material waste and fewer returned components.
Ready to work with a company with the highest industry quality assurance process standards? Contact us today.