Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Quality assurance and quality control are often used interchangingly by error. these two are different terms and have different meaning.
Quality Control (QC):
►“The operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfil requirements for quality” (ref: ISO 9000)
►QC is an inspection function.
►QC requires the performance of the necessary observations, testing & documentation that verifies the work performed meets or exceeds requirements.
Quality Control makes sure the results of what you’ve done are what you expected.
The processes of quality control involve calibration, sampling and documenting reviews.
Quality Assurance (QA)
►“All those planned and systematic activities implemented to provide adequate confidence that an entity will fulfil requirements for quality” (ref: ISO 9000)
►QA is an audit function, used to verify that QC is being performed and performed effectively & efficiently.
Quality Assurance makes sure you are doing the right things, the right way.
Measurement is a vital aspect of Quality Assurance.
The Quality Assurance is to do with standards, processes, and policies are in place and carried out; to recommend and implement improvements to them, and to ensure that the people that need to know about them know about them. QA “audits” or “reviews” are intended to determine the efficacy of these processes, and policies.
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Originally posted 2011-04-06 01:20:00.

Cost of Quality

  The term Cost of  Quality (CoQ) is generally misunderstood as the cost to create a quality product or service. The real definition of this term is the cost incurred by not creating a quality product or service.
What can be included in cost of Quality (bad Quality)
Cost of Quality includes the cost to the organization to rectify the non conforming product or service. This includes following example
Cost incurred in reworking of a manufactured item, the men, Material and other resources.

costs incurred in skipped delivery schedules, the penalties etc.

Cost incurred in retesting of an assembly, rebuilding of a tool.
The correction of a bank statement.
The reworking of a service, such as the reprocessing of a loan operation or the replacement of a food order in a restaurant.
Warranty Claims
The biggest cost incurred by an organization on account of poor quality is the loss of customer loyalty.
In short, any cost that would not have been expended if quality were perfect contributes to the cost of quality.

The cost of Quality is only a part of Total Quality Costs which includes the following
The costs incurred by
Investing in the prevention of nonconforming to requirements.
Appraising a product or service for conformance to requirements.
Failing to meet requirements.(Cost of poor Quality (COPQ))
The details which can be included in Total Quality Costs
Prevention Costs
The costs of all activities specifically designed to prevent poor quality in products or services.
Examples are the costs of: New product review, Quality planning , Supplier capability surveys, Process capability evaluations, Quality improvement team meetings, Quality improvement projects, Quality education and training
Appraisal Costs
The costs associated with measuring, evaluating or auditing products or services to assure conformance to quality standards and performance requirements.
These include the costs of:  Incoming and source inspection/test of purchased material, In-process and final inspection/test, Product, process or service audits, Calibration of measuring and test equipment, Associated supplies and materials
Failure Costs
The costs resulting from products or services not conforming to requirements or customer/user needs. Failure costs are divided into internal and external failure categories.
Internal Failure Costs : Failure costs occurring prior to delivery or shipment of the product, or the furnishing of a service, to the customer.
Examples are the costs of: Scrap, Rework, Re-inspection, Re-testing, Material review, Downgrading
External Failure Costs : Failure costs occurring after delivery or shipment of the product — and during or after furnishing of a service — to the customer.
Examples are the costs of:  Processing customer complaints, Customer returns, Warranty claims, Product recalls,
Total Quality Costs:
The sum of the costs listed above. This represents the difference between the real cost of a product or service and what the reduced cost would be if there were no possibility of substandard service, failure of products or defects in their manufacture.

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Originally posted 2011-04-02 04:46:00.

MUDA- The Seven Wates

Toyota’s Chief Engineer, Taiichi Ohno identifies the following seven wastes while developing the Toyota Production System.

MUDA is a Japanese term which means that un productive or wasteful. It does not add value. An effective way to increase profitability is reduce waste. It is one of the key wastes adopted by Toyota in its Production system apart from Mura(Unevenness)  and Muri (overburden).


1. Over Production

Over production is To produce Manufacturing too much sooner, too early or “Just in Case” faster or in greater quantities than the absolute customer demand. This  discourages a smooth flow of goods or services, Takes the focus away from what the customer really wants, Leads to excessive inventory

What are the causes of Over Production?

Large batch sizes, Poor people utilisation, Lack of customer focus

What are the effects of over production

It Costs money, Consumes resource ahead of plan, Creates unnecessary inventory

Hides inventory/defect problems and leads to excess Space utilisation

2. Inventory

Excess inventory is defined as “Any raw material, work in progress (WIP) or finished goods which are not having value added to them”

what are the causes of this waste?

un even production schedule, Inaccurate forecasting, Excessive downtime/set up Large batch sizes and Unreliable suppliers

what are the effects of Inventory

It Adds to costs. It needs extra storage space. It takes extra resource to manage Can become damaged and losses due to expiry of shelf life

3. Motion

Motion in this context is the movement of “man”. Waste motion occurs when individuals move more than is necessary for the process to be completed

What are the causes of this waste?

The Main reasons are non availability of standard operating procedure, Poor housekeeping, Badly designed work area, Inadequate training

What are the effects

It adds to costs and increases the production time. It interrupts production. Can cause injury.

4. Waiting

This waste is defined as People or parts that wait for a work cycle to be completed

What are the causes?

Ineffective production planning, Shortages & unreliable supply chain, Lack of multi-skilling/flexibility, Downtime/Breakdown, Quality,design,engineering Issues. Shortage of capacity

What are the effects

Poor workflow continuity, Stop/start production, Causes bottlenecks, Long lead times, Failed delivery dates.

5.  Transportation

Unnecessary movement of parts between processes

What are the causes?

It can be caused by badly designed process/work place, Poor value stream flow,  Complex material flows, Sharing of equipment

What are the effects

It consumes resource & floorspace, Increases production time, Poor communication, Increases work in progress, Potential damage to products.

6. Over-Processing

This is defined as processing beyond the standard required by the customer

By improving processing efficiency we ultimately use less resource to achieve the same customer satisfaction

What are the causes?

Out of date standards,  Attitude , Not understanding the process, Lack of innovation & improvement, Lack of standard operation procedures

What are the effects

It consumes resource, It increases production time,  It’s work above and beyond specification, Can reduce life of component

7. Non-Right First Time (Scrap, Rework and Defects)

A defect is a component which the customer would deem unacceptable to pass the quality standard

Do it Right first time is the key

What are the causes

Out of control/Incapable processes, Lack of skill,training & on the job support,  Inaccurate design & engineering, Machine inaccuracy,

What are the effects

It adds to costs, It interrupts the scheduled. It consumes resources .It creates paper work. Reduces customer confidence if it happens in field. Skipped deadlines.

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Originally posted 2011-03-28 11:43:00.

POKA YOKE – Mistake Proofing

POKA YOKE  is a Japanese term, meaning Mistake proofing is very much helpful in avoiding operator mistake. This is Formalized and adopted by Shigeo Shingo as part of the  Toyota Quality Management System to achieve zero defects and eliminate the quality inspections.
This is not rocket science and can be seen in our daily life.
Some of the examples are below.


  • Automated Shut-Offs on Electric Coffee Pots
  • Ground Fault Circuit Breakers for Bathroom or Outside Electric Circuits
  • Questioning “Do you want to delete?” After Depressing the “Delete” Button on Your Computer.
  • Spell Check in Word Processing Software


  • Dual Palm Buttons and Other Guards on Machinery
  • Tamper-Proof Packaging
  • Bar Coding at Checkout in Retail
  • Hotels wrap paper strips around towels to reduce unnecessary replacements.


  • Potassium Chloride in Intra Venous Bags – premixed to avoid fatal errors
  • Surgical Trays have indentations, preventing surgeon from leaving surgical instrument in patient.
  • Pre-filled syringes in hospitals to avoid mistakes in dosage.
  • To prevent “treatment” errors, banks require tellers to record the customer’s eye color on a checklist as they start transaction.

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Originally posted 2011-03-24 18:35:00.

Flow Chart

What is a flow chart

A flowchart is a common chart / diagrammatic representation that represent an algorithm or process showing the sequence of  steps using various symbols and their order by connecting the operations performed within a system & sequence in which they are performed.

Shows inputs, tasks/actions and outputs of a process.

Can be used for business processes as well as production processes.

Flow-charts are used in analyzing, Designing, Documenting or managing a process or program in various fields.

The first structured method for documenting process flow, the ‘Flow Process chart’ was introduced by Frank Gilberth to members of ASME in 1921 as the presentation process chart and quickly found way in to industrial Engineering curriculum

It describes what operations required to solve a problem. It is akin to blue print of a bldg. A programmer prefer to draw flow chart prior to writing a computer programming. They can help identify process that need improvement

The flow chart helps decide what steps need to be controlled & where the overall process require improving

what are the uses of a flow-chart

Enhances the common understanding of a process.
Standardizes and documents reliable processes.
Helps identify measurement points.
Identifies bottlenecks.
Helps identify sources of variation in the process.
Helps generate ideas for improvement.
Aids in identifying waste and nonvalue-added steps.

Types of Flow-Chart

  1. Decision flow-chart
  2. Logic flow-chart
  3. Process flow-chart
  4. Document flow-chart
  5. Data flow-chart
  6. System flow-chart
  7. Program flow-chart

Types of flow chart commonly used in Quality improvement projects


–DEPLOYMENT  – Shows control in a program within a system

Deployment flow-chart

The main difference in deployment flow-chart is they assign steps of a process to the individual who performs them. Begin by making column for each member of the process.

–E.G. If the process step is ‘Patient arrives at the clinic’ put this step under the ‘Patient’ column with the phrase ‘arrives’ at clinic

How to construct a process flow chart

For Creating a flow chart, it is important you map the process as accurately as possible.

1)Define the process

2)Identify steps in the process

3)Draw the flow-chart

4)Determine time or distance for each step

5)Assign a cost for each step

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Originally posted 2011-03-25 12:37:00.

What is 5S Methodology

The 5S methodology is a technique used to establish and maintain quality environment in an organisation. The name stands for 5 Japanese words
Mr. Hiroyuki Hirano, international consultant called the “5S’s” the Japanese “S” words
Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke). The English translation for these words are Organisation, orderliness, cleanliness, standardised cleanup and discipline.
1. Seiri (organisation)
Organisation means clearly distinguishing between
•What is required and to be kept
•What is not required and to be discarded
Sort out items and discard the unnecessary
5 questions about Seiri:
1.Do you find items scattered in your workplace.
2.Are there boxes, papers and other items left in a disorganised manner.
3.Are there equipments and tools placed on the floor.
4.Are all items sorted out and placed in designated spots.
5.Are tools and stationery properly sorted and stored.

Orderliness means organising the way required things  are kept so that anyone can find and use them easily. Arrange a place for everything. Everything in its place.
2. Seiton (orderliness)
5 questions about Seiton :
1.Are passage ways & storage places clearly indicated.
2.Are commonly used tools & stationery separated from those seldom used.
3.Are containers & boxes stacked up properly.
4.Are fire extinguishers & hydrants readily accessible.
5.Are there grooves, cracks or bumps on the floor which hinder work or safety.
3. Seisoh (cleanliness)
Clean your workplace thoroughly.
•Cleanliness is closely related to the ability to turn out quality products.
•Cleanliness means sweeping floors and keeping things in order.
•Cleanliness also entails saving labour by finding ways to prevent dirt, dust and debris from piling up in the workshop.
•Cleanliness should be integrated into daily maintenance tasks to combine cleaning check points with maintenance check points.
5 questions about Siesoh:
1. Are the floor surfaces dirty.
2. Are machines and equipment dirty.
3. Are wires and pipes dirty or stained.
4. Are machine nozzles dirty by lubricants and inks.
5. Are shades, light bulbs & light reflectors dirty.
4. Seiketsu (standardization)
Standardized cleanup means that organization, orderliness, & cleanliness are being maintained.
Maintain a standard.
Standardized cleanup differs from the first 3S.
5. Shitsuke (discipline)
•Discipline means always following specified (& standardised) procedures.
•Train people to be disciplined
•Discipline refers to social and safety conventions, such as friendly greetings among coworkers and wearing work uniforms, name tags and helmets.
•All of these contribute to safety, a clean work environment, and a positive work attitude.
•The first four S’s can be implemented thoroughly without difficulty if the workplace is maintained. Such a workplace is likely to enjoy high productivity and high quality.
•Discipline is a pivotal factor of the production system as a whole
The first three pillars can be thought of as activities whereas standardisation is a state or condition at certain point of time.

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Originally posted 2011-03-24 10:04:00.

What is Six Sigma – History

Six Sigma Methodology has its origin from Motorola, has an interesting history. Sigma is Greek for the letter ‘S’, and the term ‘sigma’ has been used for many years by statisticians, mathematicians and engineers, as a measurement unit of statistical variation till it was integrated into the quality System and business strategy by Motorola in 1987.

The seeds of this concept go back to 19790 when the Japanese management took over a TV manufacturing division of Motorola.  The Japanese concentrated on the quality of the output and actually reduced the defects to 5% of defects when the same unit was managed by Motorola. This result made the Motorola Management to take serious note of Quality.

The actual push came in Motorola only after 1981, When Bob Gavin became the CEO of Motorola. He targeted a 10 fold increase in performance within a 5 year period.

The Motorola Engineers Bill Smith or Mikal Harry – felt that measuring defects in terms of thousands was Not Sufficient for achieving a rigorous standard. They increased the measurement scale to parts per million, described as ‘defects per million’, which prompted the use the the ‘six sigma’ terminology and adoption of the capitalized ‘Six Sigma’ branded name, given that six sigma was deemed to equate to 3.4 parts – or defects – per million opportunities.

This has caught the eye of Gavin and launched the program Called “The Six Sigma Quality Program” on 15th Jan 1987. Stringent Targets were set to achieve Six Sigma Capability in 5 years. Astronomical Targets like 10 fold increase by 1989, and 100 fold increase by 1991 and Six sigma capability by 1992. A deep Sense of urgency was shown and every part of the organization was made to obsess with Six Sigma.

Soon after the success of Motorola, Allied Signal ( Now a part of Honeywell) plunged into this concept and achieved success.

The biggest push to Six-Sigma was given by Jack Welch the CEO of General Electric (GE) in 1995. He believed the possible improvement that can be achieved by this change and imbibed into the culture of the company. There were rewards, targets and training which were incorporated. By 1998, GE Reported a savings of more than three quarters of billion in profits.

By the year 2000, Six Sigma was effectively established as an industry in its own right, involving the training, consultancy and implementation of Six Sigma methodology in all sorts of organizations around the world.

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Originally posted 2011-03-21 16:55:00.