A prelude to quality control


One of the major achievements of the Industrial Revolution has been the ability to mass produce goods of uniform quality. This achievement flourished till recently. In recent years, poor quality has been causing problems and an embarrassment to industry owners. Quality control has, therefore, become highly relevant.

Quality: Quality refers to the sum of the attributes or properties that described a product. These are generally expressed in terms of specific product characteristics such as length, width, color, specific gravity and the like. To be meaningful in an industrial sense, these characteristics must be quantitatively expressed in terms that can be objectively measured or observed. There are instances where, subjective measures will be necessary, but such cases are generally held to an absolute minimum.

The need for quality needs no special emphasis. One benefit of quality is increased productivity. Better quality means reduced costs for repairs, instruction, scrap, rework and product warranties. Increased productivity results in better profits and builds customer loyalty.

The need for quality is felt more in our country than anywhere. For too long, we have been the victims of poor quality goods. Take for example, razor blades. A packet has five blades. Not all the five have uniform quality. Two or three of them give better shave and the rest are use for one use only. Same is the story with what we buy and use. Ironically, our manufacturers are not poor in claims. For them, all blades give best shave, detergents wash whitest and cream makes your skin smoothest. It is time that we stop these claims and improve quality first. We should realize we are facing strategic competition from foreign brands. Quality is the only weapon to fight competition.

Quality creation: Those activities involved in the selection of the specific characteristics, required to achieve the desired quality and the processing or fabrication of materials to conform to the specific characteristics selected. Quality creation involves almost all organizational elements of the enterprise and is the basic objective towards which most activity is directed

Quality Control: Those activities which assure that quality creation is performed in such a manner that, the resulting product will in fact perform its intended function. When used in this sense, quality control can be divided into two fundamental endeavors: Assurance that the product characteristics selected will achieve the intended result and assurance that, items produced contain the specified characteristics.

In a more limited sense, quality control is frequently used to refer to a specific organization within the industrial enterprise which is assigned responsibility for many of the activities necessary to achieve quality objectives.

Contrary to popular perception, quality control does not begin after the goods are produced. Rather, it begins long before goods and services are delivered to customers. An early in the production system, raw materials, parts and supplies must be of acceptable quality before they re allowed to be used. Material must meet the appropriate specifications — strength, size, color, finish, appearance, chemical content, weight, and other characteristics. As the inputs of the production system proceed through production, the quality o these — partly finished units is monitored to determine whether the system is operating on the expected lines. This monitoring is necessary to alert operating managers to institute corrective action before poor quality goods and services are produced. Thereafter finished goods and services are inspected to determine their acceptability.

Quality Assurance: Is another expression which needs a mention in this context. Quality assurance includes quality control and also refers to emphasis on quality in the design of the products, processes, and jobs, an in personnel selection and training.

Of all expressions, it is quality control, which is widely used in the literature on quality.