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What’s the Difference Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control?

Short Answer:
Quality assurance and quality control are often used back-and-forth in conversation as if they are the same thing. Many times they are used interchangeably to describe actions that one takes to ensure a product or service is of quality. More specifically though, quality assurance (QA) is based around providing confidence to employees and customers that quality needs and requirements will be met. Meanwhile, quality control (QC) focuses on fulfilling those quality requirements.

Long Answer:
The reason QA and QC often get smooshed together is because while they seem like two sides of the same coin, they also fall under the same umbrella: Quality Management, or the effort and care put into working towards quality at an organization. QC then also goes one step further, under QA. (It’s kind of like how all squares are technically rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.)

Think of quality management (QM) as the foundation of a house. It sets up your goals for everything inside the house with parameters for what is expected. It’s hard to set a house up for success without a good foundation, the same way quality would suffer in a company with poor QM.

Quality assurance is then like the house itself. It sets up more specific ideas around how the house will look and function. It’s also what most people see and admire, what they put their confidence in as to whether or not they believe the house will meet their needs.

Lastly, quality control is like the roof. With either poor quality control, or even none at all, the house would be exposed to the elements and degrade over time, just as a system without quality control would likely not meet its quality needs and the external confidence would decrease. Although the foundation (QM) might still stand at the end of the day, the house (QA) would no longer be something to admire.

How Does Qualtrax Fit into All of This?

Going back to our house example, Qualtrax, and other quality management systems, play the role of a contractor who checks your home, all the way from the roof to the foundation to make sure everything is in working order and that you are meeting your quality needs. However, not all contractors are one-in-the-same. Some focus more on one area of the house than another, or might skip an entire section altogether.

Qualtrax is an all-in-one solution that is flexible to meet your needs, which means we help you with all three areas at once.

Just by using Qualtrax, you are already addressing the foundation of your house, or quality management. (It’s even in our title, Quality Management Solution!) By working with Qualtrax, you are working with a team that has direct industry experience and works hand-in-hand with several accrediting bodies. You are therefore setting yourself, and your company, up to create a great system for consistently ensuring quality.

To address quality assurance, or the body of the house, Qualtrax has the Standards-Based Auditing feature, which lets you set up standards that you would like to be held accountable to. You can run a quick report at any time to see what areas of those standards you have already met and which ones you need to make more robust. All the while, our services and support teams are helping to answer any questions and concerns you have throughout the process. This helps not only you and your team, but everyone else in the company, feel confident about meeting your quality needs.

The roof, or quality control, is where Qualtrax ties it all together. Document Control, Testing and Training, and the Process Management Engine allow you to prove you are following all of those standards and quality requirements that you set yourself up for earlier. Everything is then associated to those standards and cataloged in the system for easy proof and follow-through. It makes quality control, internal, and external audits easy and stress-free.

Therefore, while having a house that runs smoothly without the help of a contractor is always possible, you will save a lot of time, heartache, missed opportunities, and updates, by having a QMS like Qualtrax help you manage your compliance and quality.

If you want to know more about the Qualtrax solution, join us for a 30-Minute Introductory Webinar. We’ll answer all your questions and discuss the how Qualtrax can make quality management easier and more effective for your company and you.

If you want to read more on the topic of QA vs QC, ASQ has a great article you can read here.

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Category: Compliance Management

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