Control Defined

ISQA Quality AssuranceWhile ‘Quality’ remains a largely amorphous bubble, providing elements of comfort, as well as establishing standards of acceptability, perhaps even purity, it is the ‘Control’ aspect that carries the weight.

1. the power to influence, or direct people’s behaviour, or the course of events synonyms: jurisdiction, sway, power, authority, command
2. a person, or thing, used as a standard of comparison, for checking the results of a survey, or experiment synonyms: benchmark, standard, check

1. determine the behaviour, or supervise the running of synonyms: be in charge of, run, be in control of, manage, direct
2. take into account (an extraneous factor that might affect the results of an experiment)

There are several ways by which to look at control. It can be a management issue, as well as being a tool, by which to exercise power and authority. It can be a simple manual action, such as in the depression of a button to switch a machine on, or off. Equally, a control can be a restricting, or limiting, factor.

Regardless of your comprehension of the noun, or verb, control also demands some form of skill. As we all know skills are not always inherent and they do involve education, or training, at some level, whether introductory, or as a process is being followed.

The level of skill displayed can also affect the quality of the work being carried out. In its simplest form, numeracy, the ability to count and recognise characters, is intrinsic to initiating any form of control. Some people are highly adept at counting things, however tedious the action can be, and it takes immense skill not to be deviated away from the job in hand, which is a country-mile removed from what observers might contemplate.

This is seldom more obvious than in stock control, where a manual count might be the only means by which to ascertain additional aspects, such as lack of compliance in either form, or function, of what is being counted. Operatives picking from boxes of stock may make errors and replacing incorrect items in areas, where minimal material differences exist, can introduce production line breakdowns, which will introduce costly stoppages.

Naturally, control is also a standard, or a level, alongside which all further actions are measured and compared. To run any business efficiently and profitably, controls need to be installed. While they can be less crucial in some commercial areas, industry survives and thrives on control factors.

Internationally, ‘control’ means much the same in any European, Asian and Austronesian languages and, as such, it is a word that is translatable world-wide. This is a useful function in a world market, where cross-border trading is a commercial reality.

In German, ‘Steuerung’ offers up several pertinent definitions, among which ‘Kontrolle’ is but one.
‘Verwaltung’ relates to financial aspects,.
‘Regelung’ relates to traffic.

Catalan, Galician, Roumanian, Spanish, even Latin spell and pronounce ‘control’ as we do in the UK. Virtually all other languages replace the ‘c’ with a ‘k’ but it still sounds identical.

Applied to the word ‘Quality’, ‘Control’ assumes vital and vibrant implications. The practice of “maintaining standards in manufactured products by testing a sample of the output against the specification” is defined clearly by the Oxford Dictionary. Yet, confusion needs to be avoided with ‘Quality Assurance’, which tends more towards a product, or service, under development, usually prior to work being completed, as opposed to afterwards, and that it meets specifications.

The control aspect is related directly to a combination of tactile elements and data collection, with the results being reported to management, as directed. It is followed invariably by an agreed amount of corrective action. In its ultimate expression, it might lead to manufacturing refinements being introduced, to adjust the production, or service, process, focusing on an implementation plan. Truly effective Quality Control must be engaged by the process to ensure that recurrence and new instances of trouble are reduced significantly, or eradicated completely.

Can we live without Quality Control?

No. We cannot.

For a start, it demonstrates that both manufacturer and suppliers care enough to ensure that the consumer receives only the highest standards to be expected of all goods.

ISQA recognises the facts that lie behind its integrity in the production scene, whether bottling beer, baking biscuits, making motorcars, or creating computers. The same basic rules apply and the skills are increasingly evident.

ISQA lives up to its stated ethos and it does

‘Make Quality Count’