Quality control is a matter of checking and re-checking various components in the manufacturing and marketing process to ensure the product or service being provided is satisfactory and safe for all involved. There are different types of quality control methods based on the industry and also the company structure. These include checking products for durability and safety, implementing total quality control programs and considering customer input.

What Are Quality Assurance Methods?

Quality assurance is a basic method of quality control, used in multiple industries including call centers (when you call an automated system and it states your call may be recorded for quality assurance). Individuals are listening to the call to ensure you receive the best service.

During quality control in the manufacturing of vehicles and other items, there may be inspectors who test the product to ensure it meets the company's set standards. Also, companies test all the individual components that make up the individual product or service for quality and satisfaction.

For consumable products such as food, inspectors may use electronic systems to look for harmful chemicals. Inspectors also look for the presence of mold and bacteria that could indicate the food is spoiled.

Product Failure and Safety Testing

Product testing usually includes purposely breaking or damaging a product to see how well it holds up. An example of this is when brand-new cars are put under rigorous crash tests to determine how safe and effective they are before selling them to customers.

Pharmaceutical industries test and retest drugs before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states they are safe for human consumption. Another testing option is to use a product multiple times and place it under extreme circumstances and conditions until it fails, in order to see how it holds up; this is failure testing.

Companies that manufacture computers run physical hardware durability and functionality tests to ensure the systems turn on properly and do not have flawed components. They can also run software that scans for hardware and software issues before shipping the computers out to sellers.

Total Quality Control

The marketing department or finance departments within a firm may notice a dip in sales or a decrease in stock price. As a result, the company might test every department or product component to find out if the quality has depleted, which may explain the decrease in sales or consumer demand.

For example, a sales company might examine the customer service department to determine whether sales agents provide prompt and quality service to customers. At the same time, it may look at the marketing department to evaluate the effectiveness of the company's promotional activities.

Customer Feedback and Input

Consumers use the product or service and can provide input. Focus groups, surveys and test subjects may be necessary to determine if there are any problems with the item that the company can correct. For example, retail stores sometimes mention a shopper's survey on the customer's receipt and offer some reward, such as a discount, to increase the likelihood of feedback. Client input and suggestions exist in virtually any industry including entertainment (video games and movies), vehicles and appliances.