5 common quality control issues (and how to prevent them)

Factory inspector looking at the working machine and taking notes

In order to be competitive in today’s global marketplace, it’s vital that your company has effective quality control systems in place. However, that goal can be undermined by problems with your QC system itself, including incorrect sampling plans, improper testing procedures, incorrect interpretation of test results, poor documentation and record-keeping practices, and a lack of quality management system. How do you prevent these common quality control issues? You can start by following the steps outlined below.

Ineffective sampling plan

An ineffective sampling plan is an improper sampling method where test items are selected in a way that doesn’t accurately represent all possible test items. 

If a sample of 20 items is only composed of test items from one unit, it would be considered an ineffective sampling plan. Sampling plans can also be ineffective when they don’t include tests on specified parts or aren’t drawn at random. 

In general, effective sampling plans are both representative of an entire population and unbiased. 

To improve quality control in your organization, consider using statistically-sound testing procedures for every product you produce—this includes samples for inspection as well as units headed for final sale.

Improper testing procedures

Many QC issues stem from improper testing procedures. 

Some of these improper testing procedures include: not testing all incoming components, testing outgoing products without confirming that they meet specifications, sending a product to a customer before it's been tested (or without properly testing), and failing to spot-check incoming components for defects, etc. 

In most cases, these issues are easily fixed with a simple quality control audit. Have an experienced engineer examine your current processes and check that you're following proper QC standards. 

The effort is worth it: correcting small defects can prevent big problems down the road.

Incorrect interpretation of test results

When testing your product, it’s important that you use a procedure that is able to adequately assess your product. 

This means following all of your company’s standard procedures for preparing for, conducting, and concluding testing. Poor test procedures can lead to incorrect interpretation of test results. 

Every stage of quality control has built-in opportunities for error; some more than others. Knowing which stages are prone to human error will help you minimize those errors when conducting tests.

Poor documentation and record-keeping practices

Poor documentation and record-keeping is one of the most common issues of improper quality control. 

A good quality control program requires accurate records so you can learn from previous results and apply what you've learned to new products. Proper testing procedures are useless if no one follows them, and poor testing can lead to a faulty product. 

If a product fails QC and goes out anyway, it's unlikely that customers will be willing to trust your brand again, hurting future sales and brand reputation. 

Keep detailed notes on every process—this includes everything from design, development, marketing, selling, and service—and maintain high standards throughout all phases of production.

Lack of a quality management system

A quality management system is a set of procedures that ensure a business handles its quality control issues consistently, every time. 

By integrating a well-defined quality control procedure into your process, you're able to reduce or even eliminate common mistakes in any business – from incorrectly testing materials, keeping bad records, or even choosing poor suppliers. 

If there’s anything you should do for your small business, it’s establishing a QMS. The lack of one can easily lead to lost revenue, customers, and even long-term brand damage – or worse. 

Take the time to learn how you can develop an effective quality management system for your business.

In conclusion

Quality control is a key aspect of any business, but it can also be the most challenging to manage. Factored Quality is here to help you improve your quality control processes and stay ahead of the curve. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can improve your quality control practices!

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