Food contamination costs the United States around $55 billion every year. That amount goes to medical treatment and illness-related mortalities. It also includes the cost of lost productivity.
There’s also the huge problem surrounding faulty consumer products. In 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued 410 product recalls. Total recalls made by federal agencies amounted to 4,217.
Worse, these defective products led to 359 injuries. There were also 345,000 injuries associated with faulty clothing pieces. These incidents resulted in emergency room visits.
Many of these, proper and strict quality control and assurance policies could’ve prevented. That should already tell you how vital QC and QA are to any and all businesses.
But what, why, and how exactly does it come into play? All these questions and more we’ll cover in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
The Lowdown on Quality Control and Quality Assurance
Many people tend to interchange quality control and quality assurance. They’re both focused on ensuring quality, but they’re two distinct processes.
QC is the part of total quality management aimed at satisfying quality requirements. It involves testing parts, units, and final products before they reach the market. The tests determine whether they meet the final product’s specifications.
In short, QC is a way to discover any product fault that resulted from the manufacturing process. This then lets businesses carry out necessary corrections. Without quality control, defective products can pose serious dangers to the public.
Whereas quality assurance focuses on the manufacturing process itself. The goal of QA is to prevent defects that may arise from problems during the manufacturing. Although it’s more process-oriented, it’s as vital as quality control.
Proper QC Procedures Can Save Lives
This is no doubt the biggest importance of quality control and assurance. You only have to think of the 48 million people in the U.S. who get sick every year because of food contamination. Of this number, 128,000 end up in hospitals, while 3,000 lose their lives.
But the food sector isn’t the only industry where QC is necessary. Whichever industry your business belongs in, you need to have strict QC and QA policies in place.
For the simple reason that they can prevent defects in your products. Problems that can injure or even kill.
Consider the case of the Samsung Note 7, which kept exploding. The tech giant admitted they failed to “identify the issues” behind its battery design. They weren’t able to correct manufacturing problems before its launch.
As such, they pushed through with the Note 7’s release in October 2016. This was then followed by almost 100 dangerous exploding battery incidents.
Scary, isn’t it? What’s more, that Samsung catastrophe is only one of the many others that arose from quality failure.
But they should be enough to make you realize how QC and QA prevent consumers from facing such dangers. That should be enough of an answer to the question, “why is quality assurance so important?”.
Ensures Products Meet Customer Demands
Total quality management (assurance and control) is the key to creating an excellent product. And producing and providing excellent products is key to satisfying your customers.
Keep in mind that in the U.S. alone, there are already 30.2 million small businesses. If you can’t meet consumer demands, there’s no way that your business will survive, much less thrive.
That’s why you have to make certain your products are of top-notch quality before rolling them out. You have to ensure they work as specified and that they’re safe before giving people access to it. This’ll keep your products from becoming part of the long list of product recalls.
These Policies Prevent Incidents that Can Tarnish Your Business’ Reputation
Today, a single mistake can already tear down a business’ reputation. After all, we live in an increasingly-connected world. That mistake can become known in a matter of minutes and spread like wildfire.
For one, because product and business reviews are now so important to consumers. 97% of adult consumers in the U.S. alone read these reviews. If you get a negative review or complaint, it won’t be long for a lot of people to learn about it.
Let’s use a restaurant business as an example. The advantages of quality assurance and control are well-known here.
For starters, proper food QA and QC prevent food contamination and food-borne illnesses. Both processes focus on providing not only a safe, but an exceptional dining experience.
They ensure that ingredients are safe and hazard-free. They also make certain the finished products meet the diners’ nutritional requirements. Of course, they play vital roles in guaranteeing exceptional taste too.
But quality assurance and control in the food industry go beyond that. As important is ensuring your facilities meet cleanliness, sanitation, and hygiene standards. One way to achieve this is by including professional cleaning services to your quality management policies.
Without QA and QC, food contamination can occur. Consumers can develop food-borne illnesses. Filthy facilities are sure to put off diners.
All these can turn up in customer reviews, which can do serious damage to a restaurant’s reputation.
Make no mistake though. All businesses are at risk of reputation damage without quality assurance and control. That applies to all industries, whether manufacturing, construction, or service.
Keeping Legal Liabilities at Bay
Reputation isn’t the only thing that incorrect or lack of quality management can damage. A business can face legal liabilities and lawsuits due to quality management failures.
Aside from Samsung, there are many other organizations that faced such charges.
There’s the case of General Motors Co. (GM), when they manufactured faulty ignition switches. This resulted in 275 reported injuries, and another 124 fatalities. The company had to pay $2.5 billion in settlements and penalties for this product defect.
Philip Morris’ tobacco products also had a $28-million liability case back in 2002. This case arose due to the company’s failure to warn smokers of the product’s dangers.
The list of product liabilities goes on, but you get the gist. Many of these unwanted incidents are due to poor quality management. The bottom line is, lack of proper QC and QA procedures can deal so much damage to your business.
Avoid Unnecessary Additions to Your Overhead Costs
Without quality assurance and control measures, your business is sure to generate waste. All those defective products won’t find use anymore. That means thousands, even hundreds of thousands of wasted dollars.
QA and QC processes allow you to lower variability. This then prevents wasting finished, yet unusable inventory. By ensuring all finished products are of top quality, you don’t have to throw away labor and materials.
They also let you identify faulty materials before they contaminate useful ones. This then saves you time and resources you’d otherwise spend on backtracking and damage control.
In construction, quality management procedures allow you to identify defects in every material. It ensures that you use the right equipment, say the correct type of crane, for the project.
In the food industry, correct quality management is key to preventing food wastage. Testing and grading of ingredients and finished products ensure their safety for consumption. You can read more about it here, but the bottom line is, QA and QC cut down overhead costs.
Key to Exceptional Customer Experience and Satisfaction
Quality control and assurance are crucial to generating high-quality products. Products that meet and go beyond customer expectations.
Think about it.
How do you think customers will react when they use products that do what they’re supposed to? When they work like specified? When they taste like or even better than expected?
For sure, they’ll be happy. Especially if these stellar qualities are consistent through all products.
This then leads to repeat business. Your business starts earning the respect of customers, and from there, their loyalty. You still need creative marketing strategies, but loyalty can help lower advertising cost.
After all, satisfied customers are sure to refer and recommend your business. FYI, consumers who receive exceptional customer service tell an average of 11 other people about it. Whereas almost six out of 10 customers won’t do repeat business after a bad experience.
Turn Your Brand into a Household Name with Correct Quality Management Practices
Make your customers feel they can depend on your product’s quality all the time. This is vital to making them want to keep working with you. To assure them that your products and offers are safe, hazard-free, and satisfactory.
With proper quality control and assurance, you can expect repeat business. From here, you have more chances of getting your brand known for exceptional quality. That’s how you can stay afloat in today’s business-saturated market.
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