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Common Quality Control Issues (And How to Avoid Them)

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Issues with safety or quality are all too common, thanks in large part to giving QC professionals too many manual tasks, not giving them the support they need, or facing workflow challenges. Discover how to circumvent these issues with automated processes, better operational processes, and more.


What is Quality Control?

Quality control encompasses the processes and procedures a business uses to test units with the purpose of determining whether they are within predetermined specifications. The purpose of testing is to remove unsatisfactory items from production and determine if there is a need for any corrections in the manufacturing process.


Why Quality Control is Essential for Businesses

Creating products and delivering services is time-consuming and costly. It can also be unsafe for a variety of reasons. Here is why quality control is a critical process for businesses.


1. Compliance

The first benefit of quality control is that it helps your business comply with regulatory requirements and industry standards. If you fail to meet these minimum requirements, your business could face costly recalls, lawsuits due to defects, and/or fines from regulators.


2. Cost Reduction

Proper quality control can also help your business cut costs. After all, if you have to toss out a large percentage of products due to poor quality, this will be costly. If customers or employees get injured due to quality issues, this will cost your business unnecessarily.


3. Customer Satisfaction

One of the biggest benefits of focusing on quality control and assurance is the potential impact on customer satisfaction. By ensuring your business’s final products or services meet established standards, you are also meeting customer expectations. This can help boost customer conversion and retention rates.


4. Brand Reputation

The quality of your products and services has everything to do with your brand’s reputation. People purchase from brands they trust. By delivering quality, your brand will establish itself as trustworthy, which will have long-term positive implications.


Different Types of Product Defects

The quality control process should look for any of these types of major defects:


1. Functionality Defects 

A functionality defect is something that prevents the product from doing what it was designed to do. For example, a phone charger that fails to charge has a functionality defect.


2. Aesthetic/Visual Defects

Drink products machineVisual defects can be a scrape on a panel or a rip in a piece of fabric. These defects can be due to issues with machinery or human error.


3. Safety Defects

These are critical. Extensive testing should uncover any safety issues with products that could cause injuries, illnesses, or death.


Common Quality Control Issues (And How to Avoid Them)

Even the most seasoned quality control professionals can face challenges. However, failing to have an efficient quality assurance process could jeopardize your entire business. Here are some of the most common quality control issues businesses face and how you can avoid them.


1. Lack of Communication

Businesses that experience quality issues usually also have internal communication problems. When there is more transparency between departments and more collaboration, this can reduce error rates and improve quality.


2. Too Many Manual Tasks

When a production line relies on too many manual tasks, the potential for human error skyrockets. While some manual tasks will still be necessary, leveraging automation solutions and strategies to reduce repetitive work can increase overall quality.


3. Failure to Establish Protocols or Standards

Failure to create quality protocols and standards can lead to errors and confusion in the production or fulfillment process. It’s vital to establish clear guidelines for aspects of your processes, from production through order fulfillment.


4. Insufficient Documentation

Your business can have plenty of quality control processes and standards in place. But if those aren’t documented and communicated, it will be challenging to identify and fix errors according to those processes.


5. Inadequate Education or Training

An old man talking in a warehouseMany businesses fail to offer their workers adequate education or training on proper production methods. This can lead to inconsistencies and oversights, which impact quality. The solution is to invest time and resources into training.


6. Cutting Corners

Some businesses try to cut corners to save time or money. The result is often a deterioration in quality, which can have disastrous consequences. Avoid taking shortcuts that will cost your company time, money, and reputation in the long run.


7. Improper Calibration

Most production facilities use some type of machinery or automation processes. These solutions can lead to efficiency, provided they are calibrated correctly. If they are not, the output won’t be what you need, and quality will suffer.


8. No Risk Assessment

Some businesses either fail to conduct a risk assessment or do one and ignore the results. This is a vital exercise that can help your business identify weak points in processes that could lead to quality issues.


9. Ignoring Regular Maintenance

Failing to regularly maintain manufacturing or warehouse equipment can lead to product or service quality issues. The simple solution is to place equipment on a rigid maintenance schedule.


10. Lack of Defined Quality Metrics

It’s tough to maintain quality if you aren’t tracking anything. To remedy this, organizations should define a set of quality metrics to establish benchmarks and then measure against these metrics regularly.


11. Rushing Quality Inspections

Quality inspections are essential. But if your team is rushing through them just to check a box on a form, your results won’t be accurate. Instead, there should be adequate time set aside for quality inspections to ensure the highest possible standards.


12. Disregarding Customer Feedback

If something is wrong with your products, your customers will let you know. They’ll call, send emails, and post terrible reviews online. When you pay close attention to this customer feedback, you can address unknown quality issues quicker and salvage valuable customer relationships.


To be competitive in today’s global marketplace, it’s essential that your business has effective quality control systems in place. However, many common issues can undermine that system. By understanding these challenges, your organization can create more efficient and effective processes.





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Topics: Process Improvement Automation Quality Control