This memo is designed and disseminated in order to educate people about the difference between quality control and continuous improvement and how continuous improvement is a better asset to have in the long term than just quality control
Quality control is an outlined procedure which has the main objective to maintain and increase the standard and operational quality in a process. Through the use of quality control a set of quality criteria is established with which future production and process flow is evaluated in order to determine whether the quality is standardized across the entire process. However where there are any discrepancies between the established standard, benchmarks and the actual operation evaluations, then a controlling and rectifying action is undertaken to correct the discrepancy. This process of quality control is often an ongoing process and needs to be updated periodically in terms of standards and benchmarks in order to be effective.
The advantages of quality control pertain to establishment of a process which delivers high quality and often standardized outputs. There are reliable in terms of their functionality and characteristics. Moreover the process is maintainable for quality and safe to employ. In regard to business activities the advantages of quality control can be depicted by the increase in sales triggered from the assurance achieved by the dealers and customers pertaining to the quality of the goods being traded. A standardize output is achieved and waste and inefficiency are minimize reducing costs. Moreover a better wage incentive can also be determined for the compensation of the workers according to the quality of the output produced and delivered to the customers.
Continuous improvement on the other hand is a systematic approach towards improvements which are based on the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen. The Kaizen approach highlights minimizing waste and perpetual upgrading and evolution of business processes to keep up with the dynamic business envelopments. Continuous improvement is an ongoing activity which aims at seeking incremental improvement in the products, services and the processes in a business. “Continuous improvement, in regard to organizational quality and performance, focuses on improving customer satisfaction through continuous and incremental improvements to processes, including by removing unnecessary activities and variations.” (‘Continuous Improvement’, 2007) The Six Sigma, Lean, and Total Quality Management are based on the concept of continuous improvement.
The advantage of the continuous improvement approach is that it is a long term and incrementally evolving concept which can be used in a dynamic environment. Aside from this it focuses on monitoring results, making further changes and then monitoring results again for any more improvements that can be made, thereby employing control and command simultaneously to the business processes Large scale organizations also can operate in a similar manner as the smaller and much more flexible and dynamic organizations by employing continuous improvement strategies. The other benefits that are attained from the continuous improvement approach pertain to differentiation in the market, reduced costs from better and leaner business processes and the competitive advantage through reduced wastage and time required for manufacturing and delivery of products as ell as services.
Through the above depicted information is has been determined that it is better to aim for continuous improvement rather than simple quality control as the continuous improvement approach is more long term and can be utilized in diverse and differentiated environments. Moreover the cyclical nature of the continuous improvement approach makes the businesses improve itself time and again resulting in a highly strategically aligned business which is able to minimize its losses and costs and therefore achieve higher profits through operation and investment. Quality control only aims at seeking out discrepancies and rejects while continuous improvement is much better and aims at incrementally improving the process and the outputs.
(2007), Continuous Improvement, Free Management Library,