Quality control in industry is a vital part of maintaining consistency. Most businesses employ quality control (QC) methods to help ensure that products are as uniform and as close to the ideal standards as possible, though QC methods may also be used to maintain worker safety and manage production or service efficiency as well. There are many different types of quality control in industry; the methods used will depend on the needs of the business and the specifications of quality required.
Most quality control methods begin with crafting a definition of an ideal process or product. This may be in terms of physical specifications, such as manufacturing hammers that have an exact head to shaft ratio, or may be in terms of meeting quotas and standards, such as producing a hundred silk screened t-shirts per week, or getting 90% positive feedback from customers. Once the ideal goal is determined, quality control in industry becomes a process designed to keep production or performance as close to the ideal as possible.
Inspection is a common method of quality control in industry. Often, this takes the form of random sampling, which involves taking any given product and testing it against the standard to determine how close it is to the ideal. Checking samples randomly ensures that the chosen product has not been inadvertently made with more care or attention than any other sample, thus giving a more accurate picture of overall batch quality.
Charting involves the use of a graph that reports the variation from the ideal within a batch of samples. Most products that are manufactured have a margin of error from the ideal that allows slight, but not significant variations. If too many samples fall outside the margin of error, or sampling produces a widely varying chart where quality is all over the place, it suggests the the process is in need of better management or new solutions.
Some methods of quality control in industry revolve around employee management. Many industry experts believe that the level of both training and employee morale can have a significant effect on quality. Training helps teach employees to be on the lookout for potential threats to quality, and be better prepared to address issues in a correct and safe manner. By making employees feel valued in the workplace, loyalty to the company develops, which may make employees more apt to care about their job and thus about maintaining quality standards. In addition, management stands to gain a lot by letting employees have a voice in the quality management program, as workers will typically have ground-floor knowledge and specialized training that makes them able to identify process and production issues and come up with practical solutions.