What is Quality Control?

Credibility is one of the most important aspects of business when talking about sustainability and continuance. This is because the establishment of long-term relationships with customers, suppliers, and distributors depend on trust and confidence on a business’s branding. Quality control is one of the main factors needed to be considered when selecting a supplier. The need to establish credibility is the underlying reason for quality control.

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Quality control refers to the process of examining which products in the manufacturing or production line would go through the next process or distribution channel. It involves examining which items in the production is good enough go through the next process or be less than desirable and would be subject for disposal or rework. Quality control was initially a process to comply with existing laws and regulations. For instance, quality control on electric appliances have been in place because of strict fire safety codes. It was initially considered a cost of doing business, nothing more. Today, it started being a value-added cost for larger companies with complicated operations. Nestle, for instance, has a quality control point for every finished product they introduce. Apart from making sure that good products make it to the market, it also helps them save costs on product returns or being sued for health hazards. Over time, as the quality of products making it to the market, consumers and distributors would start trusting the consistency of the product. When product sourcing suppliers of a certain item, it would be important to get an idea of the producer’s quality control procedures to make sure that it is a reliable product source. This would help establish the credibility of the item being sold throughout the sales line.

When talking about quality control, one should be looking at the total quality management (TQM) general policy of the supplier. This is usually laid out in public reports about companies, so it would be a practical source of information regarding quality control. In TQM, the company will develop a budget based on past performance. Variances would be identified between actual performance and the budgets developed. The product variances related to certain factors of production would be identified relative to the standards developed by the company. Variances could either be related to materials or labor. For each factor, the variances would be divided into price variances or quantity variances. This would let them break down the current problems with production. Someone in-charge of product sourcing should be able to identify a company with stable quality control policies just by seeing how well they manage these variances.

Quality control involves placing inspection points throughout the production line to make sure that crucial processes applied on the products . It involves the evaluation of the products passing through certain processes to make sure that no substandard items would reach the market. While inspection points were initially treated as bottlenecks, their value to businesses have risen over the recent years. The establishment of several inspection points throughout the production process allows companies to detect more types of defects which may reach the market if unnoticed. It also helps identify more specific problems in the production line. For instance, having separate inspection points for an assembly line and packing line would help managers identify if the production problems are coming from the assembly line or the packing line. Apart from this, potential improvements in the quality of the product would also be implemented if the current process defects have been identified. Inspection points can be quite expensive in terms of cost, time, and labor, which is why these should also be established wisely, to ensure that quality control would not cost more than it would provide benefits.

While some of these things are too specific and specialized to discuss to a general populace, the underlying point here is that knowing whether a policy for quality control is in place. Having a basic understanding of the concepts mentioned above would help equip supply managers in product sourcing more effectively. Knowing about quality control is quite important because it implants trust in the minds of consumers. When product sourcing, it is important to find a product capable of being seen as a valuable purchase. This way, it would be the first option for most consumers in one’s customer base.