What is quality control?
Quality control is a process used to check the quality of products or services to ensure that they meet specified standards. The purpose of quality control is to ensure that the respective requirements, specifications and customer expectations are met. Quality control includes various activities aimed at identifying errors, defects or deviations from quality standards. These may include inspections, tests, measurements, assessments and reviews.
How is quality control carried out?
Defining quality standards Clear and measurable criteria are defined against which quality is measured and evaluated. These can be industry-specific standards, customer specifications, legal regulations or internal quality guidelines.
Production or process monitoring Quality control involves regular monitoring of production operations or process steps to ensure that quality standards are being met. This may involve taking random samples, taking measurements or performing visual inspections.
Identification of deviations and defects Deviations or defects are identified by comparing the determined results with the quality standards. These can be, for example, dimensional deviations, faulty components, defects in processing or other quality problems.
Corrective action If deviations are identified, appropriate corrective action is taken to restore quality. This may include repairing or reworking products, adjusting processes or training employees.
Documentation and reporting All quality control activities performed, deviations identified, corrective actions taken and results are documented and recorded in reports. This is for traceability, trend analysis and continuous quality improvement.
What methods are used in a quality control?
Inspection During inspection, the product is visually examined to identify defects, deficiencies or deviations from quality standards. This can be done by manual inspection or with the help of technical aids such as cameras or sensor technology.
Sample inspection Instead of each individual product, a representative sample is selected and inspected. This allows for efficient inspection of larger production volumes. The sample can be selected randomly or according to specific criteria.
Tests and measurements Quantitative measurements or performance tests are carried out to ensure that the product meets certain specified requirements. Examples include dimensional checks, strength or load tests, electrical tests, chemical analyses, etc.
Process control In addition to checking the end product, quality control can also cover the process itself. This involves taking regular samples during the production process and analysing them to ensure that the process is running properly and that the required quality standards are being met.
Fault and root cause analysis When defects or faults are identified, it is important to determine the causes. Failure and root cause analysis methods such as Ishikawa diagrams (also known as fishbone or cause-effect diagrams) or 5-why analyses can be used to identify the underlying causes of quality problems.
Documentation All quality control activities and results should be carefully documented. This allows for traceability, verifiability and analysis of data over time.
Continuous improvement Quality control should not be limited to defect detection, but should also be used to identify potential for improvement. By analysing the results, weak points in the production process can be identified and measures for continuous improvement can be initiated.
What are the advantages of digitized quality control?
Increased efficiency Digitisation eliminates the need to manually capture and manage paper documents. Digital documentation enables quality data to be captured, stored and processed more efficiently. This saves time and reduces errors that can arise from manual data entry.
Easy accessibility Digital documents can be stored centrally and retrieved quickly. This facilitates access to relevant information during quality control. Employees can access documents at any time and from different locations, facilitating collaboration and decision-making.
Better traceability Through digitisation, data can be better tracked. It is possible to log the history of documents, changes and updates. This enables full traceability of information, which is beneficial when analysing errors, recalls or complying with regulatory requirements.
Automated workflows Digital documentation enables the implementation of automated workflows. This means that certain steps or approvals in a documentation process can be done automatically, increasing efficiency and reducing human error.
Integration with other systems Digital documentation can be seamlessly integrated with other systems and data sources. This enables the exchange of information between different areas such as production, supply chain, quality management or customer feedback. Integration creates a more holistic picture of quality and enables better analysis of correlations.
Analysis and reporting Digital documentation facilitates the analysis of quality data and the creation of reports. With appropriate tools, data can be analysed, trends identified and reports generated. This supports the continuous improvement of quality and the identification of bottlenecks or optimisation potential.
Data security and compliance Digital documentation enables the implementation of security measures such as access controls, encryption and backups to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of quality data. In addition, compliance requirements can be met more easily, as digital documents can often be searched more quickly and audits can be conducted more easily.
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