Quality Assurance vs Quality Control

By Nandini

Last updated on Jul 20 2020

Quality Assurance vs Quality Control

Difference between Quality Control and Quality Assurance


The success of any project, products, and services largely depends on customers’ satisfaction. Customers are satisfied only when the organizations are able to deliver high-quality products and services and meet the necessities of customers. Adopting effective quality systems can help organizations to cater to the quality needs of the customers.

To adapt and establish a prudent quality management system the key professionals of the organizations and project managers and other authorities should clearly understand the quality systems.


Quality Assurance vs Quality Control 


Most of the time professionals and practitioners involved in project or program management lack an understanding of the difference between quality control and quality assurance. This ambiguity in the concepts may further pose problems and can have a negative effect on activities hence it has become important to know the differences between QA and QC.


We focus on eliminating just that our article - quality assurance vs quality control. 


There are always 4 major constraints in a project that every project manager uses as a yardstick to check the credibility of the project. These 4 constraints are cost, time, scope, and quality. In these 4 constraints Quality plays a major role because as an experienced project manager even if u complete the project within the given time, scope and budget if your project does not meet the quality standards then you may have to rework on the project which ultimately leads to spending more money, time and efforts.


Therefore most of the organizations today are more focused on quality management. Let us know the meaning and concepts of Quality management. And this article also will explain the difference between quality assurance and quality control. Because the most common ambiguity among the people is the difference between the two, quality assurance vs quality control.


What is Quality Management?


Quality management is the process of overlooking all the activities of a project to ensure the required level of excellence is obtained. Quality management is a broader concept, quality management includes formulating quality policy, creating and implementing procedures for quality assurance and quality control. Quality management provides a framework for the organization to handle complex situations in quality issues. Quality management includes activities such as Quality planning, Quality control, Quality assurance, and quality improvement. 


  • Quality Planning: Quality planning is basically setting standards for products or services. This includes planning quality specifications, method of measuring the quality, quality policies, and procedures. It provides a framework within which the activities of the project are to be performed. Quality planning is the first step in quality management.
  • Quality Assurance: Quality assurance is basically maintaining a certain predefined level of quality in all the products and services or any particular project in every stage of the project.
  • Quality Control: Quality control is mainly for products than services, it is the process of reviewing whether the products adhere to the standard set, identifying any defect, and rectifying it.
  • Quality Improvement: Quality improvement is an approach to constantly maintain quality levels. It includes receiving and analyzing the customer feedback and analyze if there is any improvement possible to the existing standards and procedures.


Implementing a prudent quality management system in the organization has a lot of benefits. Let us understand some of the benefits of adopting a good quality management system:


  • Quality management system ensures greater consistency in the quality of the products and services.
  • Implementing a good quality management system in an organization helps in a better understanding of consumers’ needs and necessities.
  • It ensures improved risk management, by preventing the errors at the early stage of production or manufacturing.
  • It reduces the cost of correcting errors.
  • Adopting a good quality management system enhances efficiency by reducing the wastage.
  • A good quality management system continuously regulates the successful working practices.
  • A good quality management system helps to achieve the company’s objective and integrate all the operations, activities, and projects towards the achievement of organizational objectives.
  • Both quality assurance and quality control systems help to establish a continuous improvement culture of product quality, which helps the organization to reduce unnecessary costs.
  • Both quality assurance and quality control procedures help in optimum utilization of resources by enabling you to use the available resources in a most effective way and also avoids going over budget.
  • Quality assurance and quality control helps in lowering your inspection costs because you will be more confident in your process and will have a better understanding of the operations, the data collected in which quality assurance helps you to ensure that the activities are going smoothly.


Both quality assurance and quality control are used in almost all the industries and sectors, both the approaches of quality management have their own significance. 

More often the terms quality assurance and quality control are considered the same and often spoken as equivalents. But there is a difference between quality control and quality assurance.

Even though there are few similarities between quality control and quality assurance, they are different in origins.

For starters, both quality assurance and quality control are two different approaches under the concept of quality management. This article about quality assurance vs quality control gives a brief explanation of quality management and compare quality assurance and quality control to know the differences and similarities in the concepts.

So now that we know the meaning of quality assurance and quality control. And also the advantages that the organizations enjoy by implementing them successfully. Let us try to understand and find answers for the most common question in quality management that is quality assurance vs quality control - which is better. Let us understand the key difference between quality control & quality assurance, through various metrics 


What is the difference between quality control and quality assurance?


Quality Assurance vs Quality Control - Approach


Quality Assurance: Quality assurance is a strategy of prevention. Quality assurance is the holistic approach to determine the factors that may have an impact on the quality of the product. Quality assurance is focused on planning, analyzing, and determining the set of standards and guidelines to maintain the quality standards of the project. The quality assurance plan includes defining the criteria and processes to ensure specified quality is obtained. QA plan is prepared after analyzing the customers’ feedback. 


Quality control: Quality control is a strategy of detection it includes all the activities to determine the level of quality of the products and services delivered. Quality control includes monitoring of the quality and all other operational techniques to improve the quality. Quality control is a reactive process which means it does not focus on the production process it focuses on the quality of the products already produced. The activity of quality control comes into light when the product has passed the development stage. It is used when any corrective actions regarding the quality have to be taken in the manufacturing stage. Quality control includes activities like product inspection, process inspection, etc. Quality control helps in prevention and reducing the wastage of materials by preventing process bottlenecks. Quality control aims to ensure that the product which is ready for sale is free from defects.


Objective - Quality Assurance vs Quality Control


Quality Assurance: The difference between quality control & quality assurance lies in its objective. The objective of Quality assessment is to improve development and test processes so that there are no quality issues in the production processes and when the product is developed. Quality assurance includes quality testing, unit testing, security testing, integration testing, performance testing, and other testing processes. A prudent project manager will introduce Quality assurance processes in the early stages. The main objective of Quality Assurance is to determine and fix the defect found during testing. It focuses on preventing than repairing. 


Quality control: the main objective of quality control is to identify and determine whether there are any defects in the product after the development stage. The organization should make sure that the products produced are prefect and meet the quality standards before releasing it into the market for sales. It is very important for professionals to know the relationship between quality control and quality assurance


Quality Assurance vs Quality Control -Statistical Techniques and Tools


Quality assurance: Quality assurance and quality control are different in their origins. Both Quality assurance and Quality control approaches use different tools. Quality assurance mainly uses cost-benefit analysis, cost and effect charts, design experiments, and many more tools to prevent quality-related issues in the production process. The various quality assurance tools can be centralized which may help in streamlining the companies’ processes, improve the procedures and practices to improve efficiency and reduce wastage. Quality assurance is a process-driven technique focused on delivering products and services at the required quality level.


Quality control: As discussed earlier Quality assurance and quality control uses different tools and techniques for its activities. Most of the organizations use quality tools to constantly monitor the quality standards and to maintain quality standards. There are several quality management tools used by different organizations. However it all depends upon the situations, that is different tools are used for different problem-solving opportunities. Some of the commonly used tools in Quality control are flow charts this tool is used to determine the bottleneck in the processes and breakdowns. Check sheets and other tools are used to analyze customer feedback. Apart from these organizations use tools such as Pareto charts, control charts, histograms, and scatter diagrams to analyze and interpret the information collected from various sources and to know the level of satisfaction regarding quality among customers, etc.


Quality Assurance vs Quality Control - Process


Quality Assurance: Quality assurance is more than just manual testing. The quality framework provides guidelines to ensure the required quality in the initial stage to take corrective measures. The quality assurance process involves various steps, such as:

  • Identifying the objectives and goals of the organization.
  • Identify the internal and external customers
  • Get customers’ feedback on the products and services frequently.
  • Test planning
  • Ensure and implement constant improvement activities
  • Adapt best-suited quality management software.
  • Verify and measure the quality of the output with the set standards.


Quality assurance is a continuous process, both quality assurance and quality control play a vital role in every organization to maintain the quality of the products and services. The above mentioned are the steps involved in the effective implementation of a good quality assurance system in the organization.


Quality Control: When it comes to the question of quality assurance vs quality control the difference between the two concepts of quality assurance and quality control can be explained through their process. Success and business growth require more attention towards quality assurance and quality control the important steps involved in setting a good quality control system are as follows:


  • Setting quality standards.
  • Implement a good operational process to ensure quality.
  • Onsite checks and tests.
  • Identify and classify the defects.
  • Make improvements.


Implementation of a good quality control system can be made by creating awareness of the importance of quality among the internal teams. Effective quality control helps in a substantial reduction in costs and optimizes all the process.


Orientation - Quality Assurance vs Quality Control


Quality Assurance: As discussed earlier Quality assurance and quality control is different in approach and orientation. Quality assurance is a process-oriented that is quality assurance mainly focuses on the production by implementing quality policies and procedures during the product is manufactured or any service is rendered. In quality assurance, the organizations try to detect if there are any issues in quality at each stage of production. If any variations are observed at any stage required measures are taken immediately. Hence quality assurance is called preventive ensures, this approach helps the organization detect the defect in the earlier stages. Earlier detection will help the organization to save time and cost. Because taking corrective measures after the produced may involve more cost than the actual cost of the product itself. Especially for the products which are to be exported, need to meet the quality test any small changes in the quality the products of the organization will be rejected.


Quality control: Quality assurance and quality control both are equally important to an organization to maintain the quality. For some products the quality test is possible only after the product is produced, quality control plays a very important role in such products and services. The company will receive feedback from customers to know the quality delivered and the level of satisfaction among the customers. Based on this data the organization will take measures to improve on the quality. Therefore quality control is called a product approach. The activities of quality control only after the product is produced is after a service is delivered to the clients. Even though the orientation of quality assurance and quality control is different most of the companies use both the approach to ensure they deliver the products to the customers with the best quality possible.


Responsibility - Quality Assurance vs Quality Control


Quality assurance: In quality assurance, everyone in the team who are part of production or manufacturing activity is involved in quality assurance. Because in quality assurance the defects in quality are identified and determined in the production stages itself. When the question of quality assurance vs quality control arises even though there is a difference between QA & QC the ultimate reason behind adopting both the approach is to maintain the quality. Quality assurance and quality control being different do the same work of quality management. In a quality assurance system, the responsibility of maintaining the quality system is on everybody in the team, all are accountable to the inspection officer if there is a difference or variation in the production process and pre-defined quality standard. The production department is responsible for quality whereas the quality control department is responsible for providing tools, processes, and providing consultation.


Quality Control: When it comes to quality control a specific team will be set in almost every organization to take care of quality control activities. The responsibility of quality control is only on the quality control and maintenance team. This team is responsible for testing the output or product. Various testing activities are done by the quality control team members to ensure that the output is within the specification for the final product. The quality control tests include scalability testing, load testing, defect reporting, and many other tests to examine the quality of the final product. The quality control team is accountable to the quality manager. When we compare quality control and quality assurance in terms of responsibility both the teams will have equal responsibility but the for quality assurance is not have a separate team to deal with, but quality control is a separate team set up by the organization. Both quality assurance and quality control responsibilities are equal but accountability is different.


Focus - Quality Assurance vs Quality Control


Quality assurance: Quality assurance is more focused on detecting weakness rather than detecting the defect. It creates the deliverables that are to be performed by a manager. Quality assurance sets the techniques and parameters that are to be followed by everyone in the production process in order to meet quality requirements. The ultimate objective of quality assurance and quality control is the same but the focus of each technique is different. Once you identify the weakness or the issue in the production process which is having a negative influence on the quality of the products and services, then it becomes easy for the quality management professionals to take preventive measures immediately. 


Quality control: Quality control mainly aims to identify the defects in the finished products. Unlike quality assurance, quality control focuses on ensuring that the pre-defined, prescribed process adheres to the final output before the final products are sent to the market, and before it reaches the final customers.  


Duration - Quality Assurance vs Quality Control


Quality assurance: the important difference between QA & QC is duration. Quality assurance takes a bit long time since it is the process of constantly monitoring the quality of the products and services at the time of every stage of manufacturing. Quality assurance is a medium and long term aspect. Quality assurance is at the early designing stage of a product. Quality assurance concentrates on setting and planning the required deliverables.


Quality control: Quality control is an approach and a process that takes place after the process of production. Quality control is implemented at the final stage when output is produced. Quality control always takes place once the organization completes quality assurance. Quality assurance is basically a process for verifying the deliverables. Both quality assurance and quality control is a continuous process, the stage at which quality assurance is completed, quality control is implemented at that stage.


Methodology - Quality Assurance vs Quality Control


Quality assurance: In Quality assurance, the method used for inspection is mostly done manually. Quality assurance requires manual checking of documents, files, and manual inspection of machinery, and other tests take place. Both quality assurance and quality control requires some amount of physical testing. But Quality assurance is more manual when compared to quality control. Quality assurance always involves executing code or any program.


Quality Control: Quality control is a more automated process. Unlike quality assurance quality control is often done automatically by running software or a program, and then certain manual testing and checking are done. Quality control always involves testing those programs and codes. The answer to the question of quality assurance vs quality control lies in the methodology of both the concepts.


Function - Quality Assurance vs Quality Control


Quality assurance: Another main difference in quality assurance and quality control is that quality assurance is a staff function. This means quality assurance involves assisting the line function (quality control) to achieve the quality in the operations of the organization. It includes activities such as research, expert training, etc. Quality assurance can be achieved by introducing an effective quality management system that constantly keeps a check on the quality of products and services at every stage of production. Quality assurance basically focuses on refining the product development to prevent defects as much as possible.


Quality control: Unlike quality assurance quality control is a line function, which means it is the approach that helps the organization in its core work. Quality control can be achieved by identifying defects and eliminating them, through various quality management tools. In quality control the main focus is to identify defects after the product development, but before it is sent to market for sales. 

All the above-mentioned points helps to clearly explain the difference between quality control and quality assurance. It is very important to distinguish between quality control and quality assurance because more often both the words are used as synonyms by many people. Clearly understanding the difference between QA & QC helps in effective planning and implementing a good quality management system in an organization.


What else do I need to know about quality assurance and quality control?


Though there is a difference between quality control and assurance. Both approaches are very important for any organization in order to meet the quality standard and to retain satisfied and loyal customers. Maintain the quality helps the business organizations to maintain a competitive edge and sustain in the market. If you are a key personnel in an organization or interested in quality management or if you are planning to switch your career, then you must consider quality assurance and quality control. In any business, customers are given utmost preference, because the success always depends upon customer satisfaction. Therefore most of the companies today are creating jobs for quality management teams.

There are many quality assurance and quality control training courses available, such as a certified quality inspector, certified quality technician, certified quality process analyst, certified quality improvement associate, etc. apart from these you can take up globally identified and accredited courses like six sigma courses, like:

These are globally recognized and opens the doors for ample opportunities to build your career in quality management. Six sigma professional certificate is an information-driven strategy that is not confined to any particular department or sector. The knowledge of six sigma can be applied and adapted for various sectors. Six sigma basically focuses on improving the process by decreasing the variations and minimizing the wastage without compromising on the quality. 



Today the customers are becoming quality sensitive and this has increased the necessity of quality management in every sector. Quality assurance and quality control are not confined to a particular sector like manufacturing industries, it is utilized in almost all the industries to ensure that they provide their products and services at best possible quality to the customers. As discussed in this article both quality assurance and quality control are two different faces of the same coin called quality management. Depending on the products manufactured by the company, the company may opt for internal or external quality control systems. For any company, their product is their business, so extra care and measures should be taken by the company to ensure they provide the best quality possible.

From this article, quality assurance vs quality control, it is clear that there is a significant difference between quality control and assurance ultimately we can know from the article that quality assurance does not eliminate the need for quality control. In this article, the answer to the most common question that is quality assurance vs quality control is briefed with various points that differentiate quality assurance and quality control. 

To conclude with both quality assurance vs quality control helps in making a product error or defect-free. There is always a debate on quality control and assurance difference but when we compare quality assurance and quality control, we find that there are technically many differences between QA and QC in their approach, primary objective, methodology, and ideology. Both concepts differ in real lifeHence the organizations should adopt these quality management techniques to ensure quality in their products and services.


We, Sprintzeal, are an Accredited Training Partner of the International Association for Six Sigma Certifications (IASSC)


To know about six sigma certifications and to find the six sigma course that fits your career goals, chat with our course expert


Suggested Reads:

Quality Control in Six Sigma Explained 

Quality Assurance in Six Sigma - Explained 


About the Author

Sprintzeal   Nandini

With over 3 years of experience in creating informative, authentic, and engaging content, Nandini is a technology content writer who is skilled in writing well-researched articles, blog posts, newsletters, and other forms of content. Her works are focused on the latest updates in E-learning, professional training and certification, and other important fields in the education domain.

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