Quality control is an essential part of doing business. It shouldn’t be an afterthought or implemented only after an incident. Product quality and packaging represent the ethos and reliability of a brand, which in turn influence consumers and employees. Read on to learn more about testing and improving the integrity of your inventory.
What Is Quality Control?
Also known as QC, quality control is the process of ensuring that a product has maintained or improved its quality. Certain goods may need to be adjusted, revised or upgraded in order to keep their place in the lives of consumers.
Although quality standards vary from company to company, they typically involve personnel training, benchmark creation and product testing. For example, the food industry uses these methods to prevent contamination and the spread of disease. By increasing safety standards and limiting the margin for error, businesses can produce better products, maintain their reputations and potentially protect the lives of their customers.
The Difference Between Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Although they may sound similar, there are key differences between quality assurance and quality control. Both refer to the activities that guarantee a company is giving its consumers the best possible product or service. However, quality assurance aims to prevent defects while quality control aims to identify and fix any defects.
Quality assurance is a proactive technique that attempts to stop any defects before they happen. Quality control, on the other hand, is more reactive, using corrective measures to fix any issues.
Maintaining and Improving Quality Control
When it comes to inventory management and quality control, it’s important to remember that there is almost always room for improvement. Not only can this concept keep your company accountable, it prioritizes the safety and satisfaction of consumers. Here are some ways to make sure quality control is always front and center in your business practices:
- Define and redefine standards of quality. The definition of quality often varies depending on the industry. Identifying the standards that are specific to your company should allow managers and QC specialists to establish control methods within your production process. Because there are many steps to analyze, it’s important to determine the big picture before targeting specifics.
- Employees are an asset. Machinery may seem like the solution to most quality discrepancies, but properly training your staff can help increase vigilance, decrease defects and limit the number of errors on the floor. Employees — along with the standards of quality — can help make sure that abnormalities do not leave the warehouse.
- Upgrade technology and equipment. While employees are being properly trained to identify any mistakes, remember that technology does play a part in the process. Data gathering, sensors and software can help with quality control. Technology is always advancing, so replace outdated equipment when necessary to improve efficiency.
- Plan for emergencies. Accidents happen, and a bad product may slip through the cracks. When this occurs, it may be beneficial to have a quality control officer or correction specialist on-hand to fix issues and conduct inspections along the way. Identifying the issues before they get out of hand and having a response plan should help in the long run.
- Cleanliness is crucial. A seamless production process doesn’t mean much if cleanliness standards are not put in place first. Cleaning procedures and guidelines can help hold a company accountable for a safe environment for your employees, clients and customers.
Boosting Your Brand
Another aspect of quality control that can improve your profits and your communication with consumers is packaging. Regardless of the industry, packaging is a direct line to customers and, when done properly, an optimal way to reduce production costs. Here are some ways to improve your packaging:
- Choose better materials. In order to make sure the product arrives safely in the hands of the consumer, quality packaging materials are crucial. This might come in the form of stronger cardboard and security tools, such as zip ties and tape.
- Test durability. Forty-eight percent of Americans believe a package quality reflects the value of the product. If the packaging is dingy and falling apart, it can deter sales and hurt the reputation of the company. Make sure your packaging reflects the quality of your products.
- Reduce your carbon footprint. Seventy-four percent of Americans believe in taking the environment into consideration when purchasing items. Not only does this apply to the type of material used in packaging, but also in reducing the amount of packaging needed to safely transport a product.
Depending on the strategies used to guarantee quality control in your inventory and packaging, the final product is the responsibility of the company. Aspects such as paper and bonding properties, product testing, verification systems, and durability against the elements are just some of the requirements needed to create an excellent product. Implementing these procedures can help build trust between business and consumer while lowering unforeseen expenses and inspection costs.
About the Author
Miriam Tovar is the Marketing Manager for Chicago Tag & Label, which manufactures custom forms and labels. She has 12 years of experience in the industry and focuses on delivering innovative print solutions to a broad range of industries including retail, ecommerce, distribution and medical.