Quality Control (QC) explained

Quality Control / QC - Toolshero

Quality Control (QC): this article explains the concept of quality control or QC in a practical way. Next to what it is (definition and meaning), this article also covers why Quality control is important and the role of the inspector, the approaches to quality control, Preventing problems with quality checks, the origins and Key aspects. Enjoy reading!

What is Quality Control (QC)?

Quality Control definition

Quality control or QC is the process by which organizations and other entities assess and manage the quality of various factors associated with their manufacturing process. QC principles are laid down in standards such as ISO and are aimed at meeting established quality requirements.

QC and quality assurance is an important part of quality management and is crucial in maintaining high quality in several areas:

Free Toolshero ebook

  • Task management
  • Personnel performance, such as customer service
  • Machine performance (output, component inspection)
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Experience and other qualifications
  • Integrity
  • Trust
  • Organizational culture
  • Motivation

Quality control is important; the role of Inspections by an inspector

Inspection plays an important role in this. In the case of products, they are checked and examined for visual elements, or the end results in the case of services. Inspectors often work using checklists and descriptions of defects. The ultimate goal of the quality control process is therefore to ensure that employees strive for perfection and zero defects.

Approaches to quality control

There are different approaches to controlling and managing quality standards. Some examples of this are:

Preventing problems with quality checks

Quality Control (QC) includes testing products and services to determine whether these services and products meet specifications. Testing is important because corrective action can be taken if deviations are found. Correcting deviations is necessary because creating a product or service is costly, time consuming and unsafe if no checks are made.

In addition, if a company sells and distributes defective products, it may be held liable for damages, such as injuries or problems, resulting from the use of the product. It also damages the reputation of a brand or company, which may be even more costly. Inspectors therefore have the important task of detecting unsafe and defective products and rectifying the causes.

If all goes well, quality checks are carried out at every stage of production. This also occurs in non-production processes, such as in customer service reviews. This is done by means of questionnaires, inspections or audits. Methods such as mystery shopping are also often used.

The origins of quality control and tolerance limits

The tools used in early societies were not made to replace their individual parts. It was not until mass production came along that processes were designed to make individual parts and systems possible. These processes were often not uniform and therefore there was a lot of dissatisfaction among customers about the results.

The simplest form of quality control was a drawing of the desired result. If the drawing did not match the item in question, it was rejected. Manufacturers soon discovered that it was very expensive to make products exactly as pictured.

Therefore, so-called tolerance limits were developed. This was around the year 1840. A design of a product or system could function well if the components that made it fit within these limits.

4 types of quality control

A distinction is made between four types of QC. These can also be seen as 4 phases of QC.

  1. Pre-production inspection
  2. Inspection during production
  3. Pre-shipment inspection
  4. Inspection during container loading or unloading

Pre-production inspection

The pre-production inspection helps to assess the quantity and quality of the raw materials and the various components required to start the process. It is determined whether these raw materials meet the relevant product specifications.

Inspection during production

The inspection that takes place during production itself is usually only carried out when working with a new producer. This inspection helps to improve communication between the company and the manufacturer, especially on issues related to production lines, data and quality expectations.

Pre-shipment inspection

Inspections also take place after the production phase has been completed, for example when a product is ready for shipment. So-called pre-shipment inspections (PSI) are an important step in the quality management process and focus on checking product quality before products are shipped. PSI is performed when at least 80% of the order has been prepared for shipment. Sometimes all orders are checked, sometimes this is done at random.

Inspection during container loading or unloading

Inspections during the loading and unloading of containers ensure that products are handled correctly during shipment. Inspectors monitor this process and ensure that the order is handled professionally.
The process includes evaluating the condition of the container, verifying all shipping information, quantities, and checking the packaging.

Tips for developing a quality control program

Here you will find the Toolshero top 3 tips for developing and implementing effective quality control in your organization:

Incorporate customer feedback

The feedback obtained from customers provides valuable insights into what works and what does not work for the customer with regard to the products. So read the customer reviews. This is only possible if you offer the customer sufficient opportunities to share their opinion. There are several ways in which this can be achieved.

Therefore, consider using a questionnaire or like/dislike button. Make sure that the threshold for sharing feedback is not too great.

Familiarize yourself with regulations and comply with them

The opinion of the customers is crucial, but laws and regulations, including safety regulations, are even more important. Governments and umbrella organizations often publish their advice through the same channels.

So make sure you are aware of the developments in this. For example, determine whether laboratory testing is required, or whether specific customs standards are met before you start selling your products. The costs can be high if it turns out that the shipment is not suitable for distribution.

Take suggestions and advice from factories and partners to heart

The manufacturer of your products is often aware of processes, materials and other aspects that can pose a problem for production or manufacturing business. Therefore, if the manufacturer raises concerns, it is important to listen to them. You are unlikely to know better than the manufacturer. Be proactive!

Key aspects of quality control

The QC process can be summarized in the following key points, each a key aspect of QC.

  • Quality control ensures that organizations and employees work on improving the quality of products and services
  • Quality control includes testing and checking end products and services to determine whether they fall within established specifications
  • Quality controls used depend on the product and the industry in which the organization is active
  • The discipline ensures that measures are implemented to ensure that defective products do not reach customers. An important example of this is seen in the food industry.

Join the Toolshero community

Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognize the explanation about Quality Control (QC)? Does your work environment pay a lot of attention to ensure quality? Does it happen that you purchase products or services that later turned out to have defects? How has the organization concerned dealt with this? Do you have tips or comments? Or do you want to know more about a subject related to quality control? Let us know in the comments or fill out the contact form.

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Ishikawa, K., & Loftus, J. H. (1990). Introduction to quality control (Vol. 98). Tokyo: 3A Corporation.
  2. Juran, J., Taylor, F., Shewhart, W., Deming, E., Crosby, P., Ishikawa, K., … & Goldratt, E. (2005). Quality control. Joseph M. Juran: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management, 1, 50.
  3. Mitra, A. (2016). Fundamentals of quality control and improvement. John Wiley & Sons.
  4. Shewhart, W. A., & Deming, W. E. (1986). Statistical method from the viewpoint of quality control. Courier Corporation.

How to cite this article:
Janse, B. (2023). Quality control (QC). Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/quality-mamagement/quality-control/

Original publication date: 02/06/2023 | Last update: 09/04/2023

Add a link to this page on your website:
<a href=”https://www.toolshero.com/quality-mamagement/quality-control/”> Toolshero: Quality control (QC)</a>

Did you find this article interesting?

Your rating is more than welcome or share this article via Social media!

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 4

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Ben Janse
Article by:

Ben Janse

Ben Janse is a young professional working at ToolsHero as Content Manager. He is also an International Business student at Rotterdam Business School where he focusses on analyzing and developing management models. Thanks to his theoretical and practical knowledge, he knows how to distinguish main- and side issues and to make the essence of each article clearly visible.


Leave a Reply