What Is the Difference Between QA and QC?
The key difference between quality assurance and quality control is that quality assurance aims to establish a framework before a product is manufactured in order to ensure that the correct processes are followed, whereas quality control and evaluates and reacts to the efficiency of these processes before distribution.
Quality Assurance Definition
Quality assurance is a subset of quality management. Members of a quality assurance team can expect to discuss and plan tests to validate the quality of a company’s product so that it can be distributed safely to the public.
The quality assurance team will establish a framework before a product is developed to minimise any risk and defects. These frameworks will usually adhere to industry standards, depending on the nature of your company.
For example, if you work in quality assurance for a life science company, then you will be ensuring that every product release meets the standards of The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in line with good manufacturing processes.
Quality Control Definition
Alternatively, quality control is a subset within quality assurance. The quality control team will react to the above frameworks established by the quality assurance team by identifying, fixing or triaging any defects in a product before it reaches the customers.
Essentially, the quality control team will evaluate the effectiveness of the quality assurance frameworks and they will establish whether a product has reached the correct regulatory standards.
Quality Assurance vs Quality Control Examples
Examples of Quality Control Tasks
- Accepting or rejecting developed products
- Reporting inspection and testing data such as weights, temperatures, quantities etc.
- Monitoring operations to ensure that they meet quality assurance standards
- Inspecting and testing materials or products produced
- Operating electronic inspection equipment and software
Examples of Quality Assurance Tasks
- Providing advice to departments regarding GMP (Good Manufacturing Processes) and GMP compliance
- Reviewing and preparing batch release documentation
- Reviewing records and change requests on completeness, consistency, relevance and clarity
- Reviewing documentation relating to raw materials and the release of raw materials
How Do Quality Assurance and Quality Control Help a Life Science Business?
Quality assurance helps life science businesses ensure that they create and distribute products that are clear of defects. Members of a quality assurance team help to organise every process to get the product right first time (or, at least, close to first time!).
Then, quality control evaluates how effective these processes were throughout the manufacturing of a product. This not only provides safe products to the public, but it strengthens the processes of the teams involved in quality management as they can revise and adapt their frameworks accordingly for future products.