Quality Control (QC) in manufacturing is the process of reviewing goods produced to ensure they meet a standard guideline. Different methods may be failure testing, statistical sampling, or company quality. These methods require manufacturers to place individuals over the production department and constantly test the products to ensure the quality meets company standards. When conducting quality control in manufacturing, the process is dictated by the type of product produced and the best way to measure those goods in order to ensure the tested sample represents the overall population of goods.
A common framework for quality control in manufacturing is to follow the plan, do, check, act (PDCA) process. Like any business process, quality control requires a plan, generally created by owners and managers. The second step is to enact this plan by actually doing the activities laid out to test product quality. Checking on the system is necessary to ensure the quality control process works as intended and helps the company improve its production process. Finally, the act stage requires owners and managers to engage in actions that consistently improve the quality and quality control of the company.
Failure testing for QC in manufacturing is the process of taking a good produced by the company and testing it until the product fails. This process may also test the expected working conditions in which a customer may use the product. For example, a company that manufactures table saws may list the product as good for recreational use by homeowners. However, the table saw is not intended for commercial use, such as four to six hours of constant work. The company knows this because quality control engineers tested the saw until it failed or began working improperly.
Mass production companies often use statistical sampling for quality control in manufacturing. This involves selecting a random sample of produced products from the production department. Quality control engineers will then compare this sample to a perfectly constructed product to determine how well the new batch compares to the company standard. If too many products in the sample group fail, the engineers may select a second sample to test the batch further. Too many failures in the second batch may result in the entire batch being thrown out or re-manufactured to correct problems.
Company quality is the process of focusing on personnel rather than products. For many companies, training and developing workers who produce products is a more proactive stance to quality control in manufacturing. This process can be more expensive, however, as companies must create a program to train new hires on quality control, rather than a few workers in the production process. Using the company quality method along with another quality control method can create a better production process for goods.