The Ambiguity Of Explaining Quality Management

Quality management, quality control, quality assurance - it all sounds like ambiguous jargon, doesn’t it? You’ve probably heard of one or more of these terms or you may even have a quality system in place. But, it can still be tricky to explicitly explain what quality management actually entails. 

Knowing what quality management is can help you find ways to maintain good standards. A company-wide explanation ensures that all employees have the same understanding of your expectations and quality standards. This helps to ensure that they consistently meet them. So, here’s how you can explain quality management more clearly.

The three elements of your QMS


Quality management has many different elements that intersect to form your quality management system (QMS). These elements are threefold: 

  1. Conceptual. Ideas, rules, guidelines, policies, legislation and regulations, techniques, compliance requirements, and other abstract elements.
  2. Physical. Fixtures, equipment, tech and software devices, and other kinds of infrastructure.
  3. Human relations. Employees, service providers, suppliers, departments, cleaning and maintenance, and other people contributing to your quality levels. 

Quality relies on human factors and how well they can understand and implement the conceptual, utilise the physical, and fulfil their roles.


Defining the difference between QA & QC


It is important for you to create a clear definition of the specific elements in your business that influence your quality control and/or quality assurance. In creating this definition, you also need to understand the distinction between quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) and how they feed into your QMS.

Quality assurance focuses on the process or methods involved in developing the product. It is about making sure that your techniques result in a good final product or service. This includes managing the standards, policies systems, procedures, and processes that your company has as a part of its deliverables. It is also about ensuring the physical and human components successfully implement the conceptual processes.

Quality control is about the standard of the final product. It involves analysing the result and correcting it where necessary.


Include clear definitions everywhere!


Defining this difference helps the various actors in your product cycle understand their place in the system. You can ensure and promote this understanding by making information on quality procedures available to all employees. 

Explain their roles in quality maintenance in their job descriptions. Include it in your vision and mission or code of conduct. Put up posters and signs as a reminder.


Final thoughts


While these concepts are more commonly used in manufacturing, you can utilise them across different industries. Meeting quality standards is an integral part of all institutional and organisational structures. It ensures that the company and its products or services are always up to par and of high quality. 

All businesses have a quality policy in place, but not many fully understand the different layers of quality control and management. When you better understand the terms, you can use them more effectively to improve your business.

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Continuous Auditing Quality Management

Camilla Petersen

Country Manager, Denmark