As I stood, staring at my big toe which had somehow poked its way through a layer of polyester, it occurred to me that:
- These 2-month-old running shoes definitely needed to be disposed of.
- I will not be buying from this poor quality brand again.
In this scenario, I had fallen victim to poor quality control measures.
This reaction is to be expected.
A study by Psomas et al, detailed on Emerald Insights, concluded that effective quality control measures, in the form of Quality Management Systems (QMS systems), directly improve employee benefits, business performance, and customer satisfaction.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives” – William A Foster, Forbes Quotes
In this Process Street article, we take a look at what quality control is, and how you can implement effective quality control processes in your business today.
You will be presented with 19 free templates, ready and waiting to be used right away. These templates will help you build and audit your QMS systems, to meet the needs of key stakeholders in your business.
- ISO 9001:2015 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems
- Financial Audit Checklist
- Environmental Accounting Internal Audit
- Environmental Management Self Audit Checklist
- Management Systems Audit Checklist
- ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Integrated Management System (IMS) Checklist
- PPC Audit Checklist
- Google Analytics Audit
- Technical SEO Audit
- UX Audit
- ISO 27001 Information Security Management System (ISO27K ISMS) Audit Checklist
- SQL Server Audit Checklist
- Firewall Audit Checklist
- Network Security Audit Checklist
- ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Audit Checklist
- Diversity Management Monthly Audit
- Hotel Sustainability Audit
- Laboratory Safety Procedure Audit
- Retail Store Audit Checklist
Click on the relevant subheader below to jump to that section, alternatively, scroll down to read all I have to say.
- What is quality control?
- Create your quality control systems in Process Street
- Audits: What are they and why they are needed for quality control
- Audit processes: Incorporating audit processes into a QMS
What is quality control?
In business, quality control is the process of ensuring a product or service standard is sufficient or surpasses customer expectations.
Let’s face it, no one wants to deliver a product and/or service that will cause disappointment. Just as much as we, as consumers, don’t want to splash out on a faulty purchase.
Quality control prevents key stakeholders from becoming disappointed in your product/service.
For your business, the implementation of an effective quality control system will:
- Encourage quality consciousness.
- Ensure quality to enhance consumer satisfaction.
- Act as quality cost control, a subset of quality control to drive down business costs.
- Increase customer loyalty and goodwill.
- Effectively utilize resources.
- Maintain high quality, boosting employee morale.
- Improve techniques and methods by incorporating the idea of continuous improvement.
- Facilitate price fixation via uniformity in products/services.
- Increase sales, with tighter quality standards driving sales.
An impressive list. However, in my opinion, the true value of a quality control system cannot be realized until you explore real-life scenarios, with the question: What happens in the absence of an effective quality control system?
On top of holey shoes and cold toes, with this question in mind, I have detailed the below examples:
- The 2007 global financial crisis: Attributed to quality failures in financial management systems. This resulted in a failure to price the risk of mortgage-related financial products.
- The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion: Labelled as the biggest man-made environmental disaster in US history, caused by quality management failures.
- Exploding Ford Pintos: The 1971 popular Ford Pinto suffered faults in structural design, meaning vehicles risked bursting into flames on the event of a rear-bumper impact. The error was due to poor quality control measures.
As the saying goes…
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”
Considering these instances, it is easy to see how good quality control systems are a vital cog when it comes to maintaining quality, to deliver stakeholder expectations.
Moving on from the what and the why, the remainder of this article will explain how you can implement effective quality control processes.
Enter: 🚀 Process Street 🚀
Create your quality control systems using Process Street
Process Street is superpowered checklists.
If you are new to Process Street and a little unsure about what it is we offer, watch our below webinar: An Introduction to Process Street.
How can you use Process Street as a means of quality control?
When you create a template in Process Street, you have a documented step-by-step guide of exactly how the given process needs to be carried out, to deliver the standards required to succeed. By succeed, we mean delivering, or better, surpassing stakeholder expectations.
Anyone in your team can jump into these documented processes, executing them with impeccable accuracy. For instance, take our content creation process. As a content writer, to begin a new article I follow specified processes:
- I open up my Planning Process Template. I run through this process to produce a detailed article plan, formulating a structural backbone to build the bulk of my article on.
- I then move onto writing the piece. For this, I open up the Blog Post Production checklist. This checklist includes key steps such as editing up HTML code correctly and adjusting image sizes as required. These steps remind me of the defined detail needed.
- Once I have finished writing my piece, I move onto the Editing Process Checklist, which guides me through content self-editing, again a key step to ensure the content I produce is of the required standard.
To summarize, there are three quality control processes I use to fulfill my content creator duties:
- Quality control process #1: The Planning Process Template
- Quality control process #2: The Blog Post Production checklist
- Quality control process #3: The Editing Process Checklist
These individual processes are part of a broader Quality Management System, that includes further team-wide content creation processes that work in synchrony:
- Team quality control, process #1: The Sprint planning process, plans, and schedules all upcoming work within the content creation team.
- Team quality control, process #2: Peer review, a task built into the Blog Post Production checklist mentioned above. This task encourages team collaboration, which acts to enhance content quality.
- Team quality control, process #3: Weekly team meeting, to review posts adding another layer for team collaboration and content improvement.
- Team quality control, process #4: Implementation of maturity model processes for continuous team development and improvement.
- Team quality control, process #5: Editor review, another task within the Blog Post Production checklist. This task gives the opportunity for an additional set of eyes on a piece of content, to enhance content quality further.
Each process supplements the other, controlling content quality at the standard expected from Process Street’s blog readers – 👋 hello 👋. As mentioned, this collection of quality control processes forms a Quality Management System (QMS).
Quality management systems and their role in quality control
In the example used above, you caught a glimpse of the quality management system Process Street uses to consistently produce high-quality content. However, the principle works the same for any business operation and its constituent processes.
It is recommended that each process in a quality management system meets 7 quality management principles, namely:
- Customer focus: Meet and exceed customer expectations
- Leadership: Provide purpose, direction, and engagement
- Engagement of people: Recognition, empowerment, and enhancement of skills and knowledge
- Process approach: Understand processes to optimize performance
- Improvement: To maintain current performance and to create new opportunities
- Evidence-based decision making: Facts, evidence, and data analysis for decision making
- Relationship management: Manage relationships with interested parties to optimize performance
When creating your quality control processes in Process Street, be sure to incorporate these 7 quality management principles.
For more information on how to create and edit templates with Process Street, watch the below video: Basics of Creating and Editing Templates.
With knowing how to implement quality control processes, creating QMS systems, your next step is to judge the effectiveness of these systems. This is where audits, as quality control measures, come into play.
Audits: What are they and why they are needed for quality control
Coming back to the basics, what is an audit?
“An audit is the process of evaluation or analysis of something to determine its accuracy or safety, or is the document that declares the result of such an analysis or evaluation.” – Your Dictionary, Audit
An audit is an assessment of quality.
Setting up processes as a means of quality control is just one step in the production of valuable QMS systems. Who is to say that your QMS systems are adequate?
An audit provides a formal evaluation of your business processes, to highlight areas of concern or areas in need of improvement.
Regarding quality management systems, there are two ways audits should be used:
- To assess the quality of your QMS systems as a whole. To see whether they align with the 7 recommended quality management principles discussed above ⬆
- To assess the quality of individual processes within your QMS. To ensure these processes abide by internal standards, and external standards (standards set by governmental and regulatory bodies)
Audit processes: Incorporating audit processes into a QMS
An audit process is a set of steps taken together to evaluate or analyze something to determine its accuracy or safety.
Audit processes: Assess the quality of your QMS
Use Process Street’s ISO 9001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems alongside your QMS systems, to make sure your QMS systems abide by the 7 recommended principles.
By using our ISO 19001 Internal Audit Checklist, you will:
- Verify opportunities to improve your QMS.
- Verify conformance to applicable standards.
- Verify conformance to documented processes and procedures.
- Verify the effectiveness of business processes.
Audit processes: Assess the quality of individual processes within your QMS
Having assessed your QMS as a whole, the next stage is to look at the individual processes within your QMS. You want your QMS processes to abide by internal and external standards to churn out the quality you need.
For instance, financial audits evaluate an organization’s financial reports and reporting processes in an objective and independent manner. This gives regulators, investors, directors, and managers reasonable assurance the financial statements are accurate and complete. As a quality control measure, your financial processes must supplement each other to meet the requirements set by such stakeholders. It is therefore recommended that your financial QMS includes internal audits to ensure this.
This is true for any business process. Incorporating an auditing process as part of your QMS will maintain maximum QMS control and effectiveness.
To help you with this, Process Street has a wealth of pre-made and free template resources, created to assist internal audit procedures of common business operations. These templates are given below, categorized as per the relevant business area.
In these internal audit templates, you will find the following features, creating dynamic quality control auditing machines:
- Stop tasks to ensure task order
- Dynamic due dates, so no deadline is missed
- Conditional logic, creating a dynamic template that caters to your needs
- Role assignments, to ease task delegation within your team
- Approvals, allowing decision-makers to give the go-ahead (or rejection) on important items. Also, the necessary comments can be provided
Don’t forget, you can create your own internal audit processes, like the ones listed below, using Process Street.
Audit processes: Internal financial audits
The first audit processes were financial, dating back into the 18th century. It, therefore, seems fitting to begin our comprehensive internal audit list, with our internal financial audit process.
Financial Audit Checklist
With regular internal financial audits, you can:
- Maintain consistency
- Help insurance
- Determine profit or loss
- Assist in determining the total tax
- Help in fraud detection
- Help prepare future plans
Use our Financial Audit Checklist to evaluate your organization’s financial reports and reporting processes in an objective and independent manner.
Audit processes: Internal environmental audits
Environmental audits assess business practices with the aim to minimize the harm caused to the environment, in accordance with stakeholder requirements. Environmental audits are an environmental management tool. However, depending on the types of standards and the focus of the audit, there are different types of environmental audits.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management Self Audit Checklist
The ISO 14001 Environmental Management Self Audit Checklist should be run as you perform an internal audit on an Environmental Management System (EMS), against the requirements set out in ISO 14001:2015.
Audit processes: Internal management auditing
ISO 19011 Management Systems Audit Checklist
Here we have our ISO 19011 Management Systems Audit Checklist created from the guidelines set out in ISO 19011:2018 for auditing your management systems.
ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Integrated Management System (IMS) Checklist
This ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Integrated Management System (IMS) Checklist integrates your ISO 9001 internal audit (which has a purely managerial focus) with your ISO 14001 internal audit (which has an environmental focus). Integrating the two procedures provides a single unified integrated management strategy with a sustainability focus.
ISO 9001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems
As already discussed above, our ISO 9001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems template lays out a step-by-step process for you to perform an internal audit on your Quality Management System (QMS) against ISO 9001:2015 requirements.
Audit procedures: Internal marketing audits
As the marketing industry shifts with rapid-paced movement, it can be hard for your business to keep up. It is important to make sure your QMS’s marketing processes are in tune with the business landscape at any given time. Performing regular internal marketing audits means you can do just this as a means of quality control.
PPC Audit Checklist
Our PPC Audit Checklist is an in-depth framework covering core focus areas of your PPC marketing strategy. Using this internal audit, you are guided through goal setting, optimization of campaign sets, budget allocation, keyword review, and proper ad extension choice.
Google Analytics Audit
Our Google Analytics Audit comes in with necessity via ensuring you obtain good data from Google Analytics. Performing regular internal audits assures your data is complete, up-to-date, and configured correctly.
Technical SEO Audit
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a marketing method to boost your website’s visibility online to users of a web search engine. You can use our Technical SEO Audit to audit your domain and generate a comprehensive report on the current status of your website. From this audit, you will find out what is working and what is not in terms of your SEO strategy. With this internal audit, you can improve upon your SEO strategy, and ultimately your online visibility.
You can use our UX Audit to review your website’s user experience. This audit scrutinizes the customer journey through your website, providing an opportunity for tremendous improvement of conversion and engagement metrics.
Audit procedures: Internal information technology audits
The infrastructure, policies, and operation of your information technology systems can be examined with an internal information technology audit. By auditing your IT business operations, you can determine the effectiveness of your IT QMSn systems and ensure data integrity.
ISO 27001 Information Security Management System (ISO27K ISMS) Audit Checklist
Process Street’s ISO 27001 Information Security Management System (ISO27K ISMS) Audit Checklist is designed for you to easily perform an internal audit on your organization’s Information Security Management Systems (ISMS), as per the ISO 27001:2013 requirements.
SQL Server Audit Checklist
As standards for SQL Server logging compliance tighten, due to data security acts such as HIPAA and PCI DSS, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of your SQL Server Audit. This is why Process Street has created the SQL Server Audit Checklist, to ease the process of carrying out an SQL Server Audit.
Firewall Audit Checklist
Our Firewall Audit Checklist provides you with a step-by-step guide, to scrutinize your firewall shield. This internal audit reviews firewall protection with the intention of optimizing security and performance.
Network Security Audit Checklist
Our Network Security Audit Checklist is designed for you to perform effective checks on security measures within your infrastructure. Ths audit checklist is designed to be used by large organizations, to perform in-house audits as part of an on-going risk assessment.
Audit procedures: Internal workplace audit
An internal workplace audit looks into the policies and procedures of a business associated with Human Resources and other areas of the organization. The purpose is to ensure that a given employer’s internal workplace processes are at the required quality, meeting laws and regulations. In addition to maintaining a happy and healthy working environment.
ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Audit Checklist
Process Street’s ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Audit Checklist can be run to perform an internal audit on an organization’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management system, against the ISO 45001:2018 requirements.
Diversity Management Monthly Audit
Having a broad and diverse workforce can benefit your company culture, resulting in high productivity and profitability. You can use our Diversity Management Monthly Audit checklist to manage your diversity operation at the end of every month.
Audit procedures: Industry-specific audits
The audits presented above are applicable to most industries and businesses. However, some business operations and procedures are more unique. This does not mean they should escape internal checks and audits. It is important to make sure you have internal audit measures for all your QMS systems, so they are carried out as required. This could mean the creation of niche internal audits.
👨💻 Create your unique, specialized internal audit quality control checks for your QMS systems using Process Street 👨💻
Hotel Sustainability Audit
Using internal audits such as the ISO 4001 Environmental Management Self Audit Checklist can help you reach your sustainability goals. Sometimes though, it is good to delve into industry-specific details. You can do this by implementing a more specialized audit to assess how sustainable your business operations are.
Here we have our Hotel Sustainability Audit giving you an example of such an industry-specific audit.
Laboratory Safety Procedure Audit
Our Laboratory Safety Procedure Audit exemplifies how you can set up your own specific internal health and safety audit as part of your QMS systems.
Retail Store Audit Checklist
Like our Store Audit Checklist, you can adopt a more unique approach for your internal management audits.
Use Process Street to create your QMS and the audits required to support them
In this article, I have explained what quality management systems are and why they are needed for delivering value to the key stakeholders of your business.
You have found out how you can use Process Street to create quality control processes, which work together and supplement one-another in a Quality Management System (QMS). Incorporating audit processes, as part of your QMS systems is recommended, and you have been provided with our top – free – auditing processes to help you get started.
In addition, you can use our ISO 9001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems audit as a quality control check on your QMS as a whole. That is, certifying that your QMS delivers on the 7 recommended principles:
- Customer focus: Meet and exceed customer expectations.
- Leadership: Provide purpose, direction, and engagement.
- Engagement of people: Recognition, empowerment, and enhancement of skills and knowledge.
- Process approach: Understand processes to optimize performance.
- Improvement: To maintain current performance and to create new opportunities.
- Evidence-based decision making: Facts, evidence, and data analysis for decision making.
- Relationship management: Manage relationships with interested parties to optimize performance.
Quality control: Further reading
For more information on quality control and quality management systems, check out the following resources:
- What is Quality Management? The Definitive QMS Guide (Free ISO 9001 Template)
- ISO 9001: The Ultimate QMS Guide (Basics, Implementation, ISO Templates)
- AS9100: The Quality Management System that Changed Aerospace
- What is a Quality Management System? The Key to ISO 9000
- Maintenance Management: 6 Steps for Scaled Production and Growth
- The Secret to IT Service Management: The ITIL Service Lifecycle
- PDCA: How to Eliminate Error in Your Processes and Products
- FSSC 22000: How to Ensure You Have a Robust Food Safety Management System
- Business Risk: The 3 Main Threats to Your Business and How You Can Manage Them
- Best QMS Software for Quality Management Systems: Which is Right for You?
- Audit Process: 5 Expert Steps for You to Get Your Audit Right
How do you ensure quality in your business? What systems and processes do you use as part of your quality control measures? How do you know that your quality control measures are effective? Please comment below as we would love to hear from you. Who knows, you may even get featured in an upcoming article!