Analytical quality control procedures are statistical measurements that a company implements to determine how well it consistently produces goods. Manufacturers use these procedures to ensure their quality matches both customer expectations and the current standard of goods sold on the market. Analytical quality control procedures require companies to take a sample from a larger population of goods, apply a regimen of tests, tweak production procedures to correct problems, and train employees accordingly.
Specific quality control procedures come from the type of good a company produces and the processes used in production. For example, job order costing tracks the use of direct materials and labor for each job or individual project produced. Analytical quality control procedures can be harder to implement for these manufacturers, as each project is slightly different. Rather than comparing the project to historical guidelines, quality control managers will often take an analytical approach to measure the project against the company’s production standards offered to clients.
Process costing systems are better suited to analytical quality control procedures. The company produces goods in large batches of homogeneous goods in a mass production system. To ensure that products in a large batch or population meet or exceed production standards, the company will implement quality control procedures at each process.
Because it is improbable to test every good produced in a process costing system, manufacturers must select a sample. Random sampling is best; this can result in taking every third item produced or gathering two gallons of liquid from a 100 gallon batch. With random sampling, companies need to ensure they test each batch following the same sampling procedures. If the sampling technique does not accurately reflect the large population batch, sampling techniques need adjustments.
Test procedures for analytical quality control represent the basic baseline in terms of pass or fail. Products may be compared to a perfectly produced product or against a chemical test to ensure the liquid produced matches the appropriate levels expected by the company. Manufacturers may have a bevy of tests that increase if the batch fails the first few tests. This ensures the manufacturer does not throw out a batch because of a false positive quality control test.
While analytical quality control procedures help maintain product quality, it also represents a teachable moment for employees. Owners and managers may need to recalibrate their production equipment or train employees on how to use the equipment. In some ways, quality control tests allow for an internal inspection to find production errors. Failing to solve the real issue behind poor quality controls will continue to result in poorly produced products.