Quality control of industrial products

Quality control of industrial products is crucial to ensure compliance, safety and to meet customer expectations. This process aims to ensure that the products manufactured meet precise standards and rigorous specifications. This is essential to detect and correct any defects, errors, or deviations that may occur during production.

What is quality control of industrial products ?

Quality control of industrial products is crucial to ensure compliance, safety and customer satisfaction. This process verifies that each product manufactured meets established standards, requirements and specifications. Beyond validation, it also makes it possible to detect and correct any kind of defects, errors or deviations that may occur during production.

This process has a wide scope, extending to all sectors that produce physical goods, such as automotive, aeronautics, textiles, electronics or food. It includes the evaluation of raw materials, components, spare parts and finished products.

The foundation of industrial products quality control is based on the following principles :

  • Planning : Defining goals, criteria, methods and control tools, and clarifying responsibilities and resources.
  • Execution : Implementation of control actions, such as inspections, tests, measurements and analyses, according to the planned procedures.
  • Evaluation : Analysis of quality control results against standards and specifications to identify any non-conformities or defects.
  • Improvement : Application of corrective or preventive measures to resolve identified problems, avoid their recurrence, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Thus, quality control is a continuous and active process, which guarantees the quality of products throughout their life cycle, from design to delivery, including the manufacturing and storage stages.

Why is it important to control the quality of industrial products ?

Ensuring quality control of industrial products is essential for any company aiming to differentiate itself and retain its customers in the market. The reasons for this importance are many :

  • Build consumer confidence : A product that meets quality standards reinforces the company’s perception of reliability and professionalism. This increases customer confidence, making them more likely to make purchases and recommend products.
  • Avoid customer returns and complaints : Product defects or non-conformities can lead to complaints, returns, and even disputes, thereby affecting the reputation and financial viability of the company.
  • Strengthen brand image : A company’s reputation is not only based on its logo or communication, but also on the quality of its products. Controlling this quality helps to build a strong brand image, illustrating the expertise, seriousness and commitment of the company.
  • Maintain production standards : Quality control verifies that production processes meet company standards, industry standards, and regulations. This makes it possible to identify and correct any discrepancies, errors or waste that may compromise the final quality of the product.

This process is therefore necessary to ensure customer satisfaction, maintain the competitiveness of the company and promote the continuous improvement of production.

Who is quality control for industrial products ?

Quality control of industrial products is essential for all actors in the production and distribution chain, including manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and, ultimately, customers. This process ensures that everyone actively participates in the production, distribution and consumption of products that meet quality standards.

The role of each actor in quality control is crucial to ensure the conformity of industrial products to standards.

Manufacturers, on the front line, must ensure that their products meet the required quality standards, thus meeting customer expectations. They must implement rigorous quality control procedures and may use external bodies for audits or certifications.

Suppliers, who act as a bridge between manufacturers and distributors, are responsible for delivering compliant and quality products. They must scrupulously comply with the requested specifications, including deadlines and quantities.

As for distributors, they ensure that the products received and offered to consumers comply with quality standards and regulations in force. Their key role also includes traceability and security of distributed products.

End customers, at the end of the chain, are responsible for selecting products that meet their expectations and requirements. They must be vigilant about the quality, functionality and performance of the products acquired, having the right to report any non-compliance or defect.

Which bodies offer quality control of industrial products ?

Quality control of industrial products, depending on the type of product, sector, target market and applicable standards, can be conducted by a variety of organizations. These entities may operate from within or outside the company and may be either public or private, national or international in scope.

Below are some of the organizations offering quality control services :

Internal bodies

Within the company, quality control is the responsibility of internal bodies. These are specific departments or departments, composed of technicians, engineers and quality managers, whose task is to supervise, execute, evaluate and improve quality control. Their work is organized around the processes and tools defined by the company and they maintain their independence from the production and sales departments to ensure objective and impartial control.

External bodies

External bodies carry out quality control outside the company. They can be mandated by the company itself, its customers, its suppliers, or the regulatory authorities. Their mission is to confirm, certify, audit or verify the quality of products in accordance with standards and regulations. They fall into several categories :

  • Certification bodies : These entities issue certificates of conformity proving compliance with the standards by the products. Among them are national organizations like AFNOR, and international organizations like SGS or Bureau Veritas.
  • Inspection bodies : They perform visual and technical inspections for defects or non-conformities. Their examples include INAO for the public sector and private entities like SGS or Apave.
  • Test organizations : Responsible for physical, chemical or other tests to assess product characteristics. Among them are specialists such as the LNE or the CETIM, as well as multidisciplinary entities such as the CNRS or the CEA.

Thus, the quality control of industrial products is based on a variety of organizations, equipped with skills, means and methods that meet the various needs and criteria of companies.

What are the different stages of quality control of industrial products ?

Quality control in the industry marks every stage of a product’s life cycle, from receipt of materials to final delivery to the customer. This process includes various phases, adapted to the type of product, sector, target market and current quality standards. Here is an overview of the essential steps of quality control in the industrial sector :

Raw materials inspection

The first phase is to examine the quality of materials or components before they enter production. The aim is to ensure their compliance with technical specifications, quality standards and customer expectations, thus avoiding future problems during production or use of the products.

Production control

This step aims to monitor production processes to ensure the quality of products in manufacturing. This includes controlling parameters such as temperature, pressure, and flow rate, ensuring the conformity of products at each stage of their creation. It allows the immediate detection and correction of defects that can affect the final quality.

Finished products inspection

Before shipment or storage, the finished products are subjected to a careful examination to verify their compliance with quality standards, customer expectations and current regulations. This may involve various functional tests, measurements and analyses to validate quality and prepare delivery documents.

Functional testing of products

The products are tested in real or simulated conditions to assess their performance, reliability and durability, ensuring they meet the needs and expectations of users. These tests can focus on strength, ergonomics, or compatibility, contributing to customer satisfaction and minimizing complaints or returns.

Inspection of appearance and packaging

This step aims to thoroughly examine the visual appearance and packaging of the finished products before they are shipped to customers. It ensures that each product has an impeccable appearance, without any visual defects, and that its packaging is not only aesthetic but also secure and complies with established standards. This practice plays an essential role in strengthening the company’s brand image while ensuring the protection of products during shipping.

Inspection of storage and transport

This step examines how to store and transport finished products from their production site to their delivery point. It ensures that products are stored and transported in optimal conditions, thus avoiding any risk of deterioration, contamination, or loss. By ensuring that the quality of the products is preserved and delivery times are respected, this inspection is critical to maintain customer satisfaction.

Terminal inspection and market feedback

This step involves reviewing products once they have been delivered to customers or consumers. It aims to ensure that the products fully meet the expectations, requirements and needs of the final recipients. It can include collecting customer feedback through satisfaction surveys, market research, and data analytics. Ultimately, this step is decisive for the continuous improvement of product quality and the consolidation of the customer relationship.

How much does a quality control of industrial products cost ?

The cost of quality control for industrial products depends on a variety of factors, including the type of product, sector, target market, standards to be met, and control methods and tools used. The frequency and intensity of controls also play a role. It is difficult to give a fixed formula for estimating this cost, however, it is possible to divide it into two main categories : the cost of good quality, and the cost of non-quality.

The cost of good quality covers expenditure on quality management systems. These include prevention costs, which include everything that is done to prevent defects, such as staff training, product planning and design, and control costs, which include inspection expenses, testing and measurements to ensure that products meet quality standards. Investing in the right quality is beneficial for the company since it helps to reduce the costs generated by non-quality, while boosting customer satisfaction.

The cost of non-quality includes costs related to defective products, repairs, warranty returns, and product recalls. These are costs generated to rectify or compensate for flaws in products or services.

These expenses represent a loss for the company, impacting its profit margin, competitiveness and reputation in the market.

Generally, the overall cost of quality control is estimated to be between 10% and 30% of a company’s turnover. It is therefore important to find an appropriate balance between the cost of good quality and that of non-quality, in order to optimize the performance and profitability of the company.

How long does it take to get quality control of industrial products ?

The time required for a quality control of industrial products varies according to multiple criteria such as the type of product, the industrial sector, the target market, the standards in force, as well as the methods and control tools used. These factors influence both the time spent on checking and the time required for possible corrections, making it difficult to establish a universal timetable for these procedures.

Control time includes all the operations necessary to verify the quality of the product, such as inspections, tests, measurements and analyses. The duration of this phase varies according to the volume and complexity of the checks to be carried out, as well as the required precision.

This time can be optimized through improved control procedures, adoption of advanced technologies and process automation.

On the other hand, the correction time refers to the period devoted to rectifying the defects or non-conformities identified. This period depends on the severity and frequency of the problems encountered, as well as their origin. Reducing this time is possible by implementing adequate corrective or preventive measures, improving production processes and promoting a culture of quality excellence.

In short, the total time required to perform effective quality control of industrial products is the sum of the control and correction times. Depending on the situation, this period can range from a few minutes to several months, highlighting the importance for companies to effectively balance these two components to improve their performance and profitability.

Is there a need to renew the quality control of industrial products ?

Quality control in the industry is not just a one-off act, but rather a constantly evolving process that requires continuous monitoring and updating. Quality standards, as well as customer expectations, regulations and technological advances are constantly changing, which requires constant adaptability of quality control methods.

Several reasons underlie the need to renew the quality control of industrial products :

  • Maintain product compliance : Updating quality control is necessary to ensure that products consistently meet customer standards and expectations. It also helps to identify and correct any non-conformities, anomalies or failures that may occur over time.
  • Guide Performance Improvement : Renewal helps assess current product performance and characteristics to align with desired objectives. It promotes the establishment of a dynamic of continuous improvement, aimed at enhancing the quality, reliability and durability of products.
  • Anticipate market trends : Up-to-date quality control keeps you informed of the latest trends, customer needs, market standards and regulations. It also facilitates adaptation to technological innovations by using state-of-the-art methods and tools for quality control.

The frequency of quality control updates may vary depending on the type of product, sector, target market and current standards, ranging from an annual to daily basis, or triggered by specific situations such as changes in specifications, customer complaints or external audits. The process of quality control renewal is essential to ensure customer satisfaction, maintain competitiveness in the market and encourage the continuous improvement of production processes.