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Introduction of QC PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cecilia Chee, Singapore   
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 15:51

 

 

Introduction of Quality Control

Quality control is a process employed to ensure a certain level of quality in a product or service. It may include whatever actions a business deems necessary to provide for the control and verification of certain characteristics of a product or service. The basic goal of quality control is to ensure that the products, services, or processes provided meet specific requirements and are dependable, satisfactory, and fiscally sound.

Essentially, quality control involves the examination of a product, service, or process for certain minimum levels of quality. The goal of a quality control team is to identify products or services that do not meet a company’s specified standards of quality. If a problem is identified, the job of a quality control team or professional may involve stopping production temporarily. Depending on the particular service or product, as well as the type of problem identified, production or implementation may not cease entirely.

Usually, it is not the job of a quality control team or professional to correct quality issues. Typically, other individuals are involved in the process of discovering the cause of quality issues and fixing them. Once such problems are overcome, the product, service, or process continues production or implementation as usual.

This article is about the project management process.

Quality control, or QC for short, is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. This approach places an emphasis on three aspects:

1.    Elements such as controls, job management, defined and well managed processes, performance and integrity criteria, and identification of records

2.    Competence, such as knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications

3.    Soft elements, such as personnel integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team, and quality relationships.

The quality of the outputs is at risk if any of these three aspects is deficient in any way.

Quality control emphasizes testing of products to uncover defects and reporting to management who make the decision to allow or deny product release, whereas quality assurance attempts to improve and stabilize production (and associated processes) to avoid, or at least minimize, issues which led to the defect(s) in the first place. For contract work, particularly work awarded by government agencies, quality control issues are among the top reasons for not renewing a contract.

 

ISO 9000

 

The ISO 9000 family of standards relate to quality management systems and are designed to help organizations ensure they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders (Poksinska et al, 2002 ). The standards are published by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization and available through National standards bodies. ISO 9000 deals with the fundamentals of quality management systems (Tsimet al, 2002), including the eight management principles (Beattie and Sohal, 1999; Tsim et al, 2002 ) on which the family of standards is based. ISO 9001 deals with the requirements that organizations wishing to meet the standard have to fulfill.

Third party certification bodies provide independent confirmation that organizations meet the requirements of ISO 9001. Over a million organizations worldwide are independently certified, making ISO 9001 one of the most widely used management tools in the world today.

Reasons for use

The ISO family of standards is the only international standard that addresses systemic change, the idea of system change is best summarized by W.E. Deming, the holistic transformation of the organization is the single most important factor and is often overlooked. The global adoption of ISO 9001 may be attributable to a number of factors. A number of major purchasers require their suppliers to hold ISO 9001 certification. In addition to several stakeholders’ benefits, a number of studies have identified significant financial benefits for organizations certified to ISO 9001, with a 2011 survey from the British Assessment Bureau showing 44% of their certified clients had won new business.Corbett et al (2005) showed that certified organizations achieved superior return on assets compared to otherwise similar organizations without certification. Heras et al (2002) found similarly superior performance and demonstrated that this was statistically significant and not a function of organization size. Naveh and Marcus (2007) showed that implementing ISO 9001 led to superior operational performance.Sharma (2005) identified similar improvements in operating performance and linked this to superior financial performance. Chow-Chua et al (2002)  showed better overall financial performance was achieved for companies in Denmark. Rajan and Tamimi (2003) showed that ISO 9001 certification resulted in superior stock market performance and suggested that shareholders were richly rewarded for the investment in an ISO 9001 system.

While the connection between superior financial performance and ISO 9001 may be seen from the above, there remains no proof of direct causation, though longitudinal studies, such as those of Corbett et al (2005) may suggest it. Other writers such as Heras et al (2002) have suggested that while there is some evidence of this, the improvement is partly driven by the fact that there is a tendency for better performing companies to seek ISO 9001 certification.

The mechanism for improving results has also been the subject of much research. Lo et al (2007) identified operational improvements (cycle time reduction, inventory reductions, etc.) as following from certification. Buttle (1997) and Santos (2002) both indicated internal process improvements in organizations leading to externally observable improvements. Hendricks and Singhal (2001)  results indicate that firms outperform their control group during the post implementation period and effective implementation of total quality management principles and philosophies leads to significant wealth creation. The benefit of increased international trade and domestic market share, in addition to the internal benefits such as customer satisfaction, interdepartmental communications, work processes, and customer/supplier partnerships derived, far exceeds any and all initial investment according to Alcorn. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 18:11
 
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