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Quality control techniques for manufacturing

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In manufacturing the quality control aspect of the business is there to ensure that the end product meets the requirements of the customer. If the product is not acceptable to the customer's standards, they will not purchase the product. This means the manufacturer not only received no compensation for the product, but that he must absorb the costs of the materials, labor and equipment use that it took to create that faulty or defective product. As with many steps and employee roles in manufacturing and business as a whole, quality assurance is a natural step that is needed to ensure that the product or service being produced will be accepted and paid for by the consumer. After all, if there is no pay there is no reason to produce in the first place.

Quality control techniques for manufacturing will vary from plant to plant as processes, equipment and human skill will vary from plant to plant. Small variations in quality control methods are in some cases a "secret weapon" used by manufacturers to give them an edge over the competition. In general however there are some basic quality control techniques that most other strategies stem from. Here are some brief descriptions of these quality control techniques:

  • Failure testing - In a failure testing quality control technique, the end product is put through a series of tests to determine the circumstanced under which it will fail to perform its function. For example, increasing factors of material stress, vibration, temperature, and other forms of wear and tear will eventually reveal any weaknesses the product has. These weaknesses can then be researched and improvements can be found. In some cases this process of improvement can be simple with only small modifications a product can be made to perform much better. But in cases where improvements are needed extensively, the process can be very time consuming and financially straining.
  •  Statistical control - Statistical control is a quality control technique that uses mathematics to uncover the likelihood of product failure. If the probability of failure is extremely low, than the whole batch of products may be passed off as acceptable. If there is an indication that based in the sample product, that there may be a higher probability of failure, the product is re-evaluated and any errors are corrected. In ideal circumstances the probability of error or defect is found before the products are produced and the problems are corrected.
  •  Company quality - This quality control technique involves the entire company's participation when it comes to quality control. This technique is certainly not limited only to those in the field of manufacturing either. Principles of job management, adequate processes, performance and integrity criteria and identification of records as well as competence in areas such as knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications and elements, such as personnel integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team moral and quality relationships are all terms that are pertinent to the application of the company quality control technique.
  •  Total quality control - The total quality control technique is usually used in cases where other methods of quality control have still not corrected the quality concerns or there is still some sort of sales decrease. In cases like these the total quality control team would place more emphasis on giving the customer what they wanted and less emphasis on trying to perfect a product that even in its perfected state is not pleasing the customer. Customer specifications would be re-evaluated to see if there are any areas of importance that have been neglected or not addressed with as much emphasis as may be needed. Management teams would ensure that their employees are sufficiently qualified for the work that they are being asked to perform.

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