QUALITY CONTROL (ISO 9000:2000) is defined as :
"part of quality management focused on fulfilling quality requirements"
It involves operational techniques and activities that are aimed both at monitoring processes and eliminating the causes of unsatisfactory performance at all the stages of a quality loop in order to achieve economic effectiveness.
QUALITY CONTROL is of a REACTIVE NATURE.
Techniques such as inspections, monitoring of product characteristics, process monitoring etc. are being used to assess the performance, often using statistical techniques. Should to fall below requirements, corrective actions are implemented to eliminate the causes.
QUALITY ASSURANCE on the contrary is PREVENTIVE in NATURE.
It is a system designed to control the activities at all stages from sales, design, purchasing and production to delivery and service in order to prevent quality problems and ensure that quality will be implemented in the product.
QUALITY ASSURANCE happens upstream of processes , whereas QUALITY CONTROL happens downstream.
Effective quality management however requires a system that will involve both QUALITY ASSURANCE as well as QUALITY CONTROL. It is human to err, and all systems involving the human factor can not be solely based on prevention, and need verification activities and corrective mechanisms. It is human to err, but it is quite unwise to repeat the error.
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