Even if all of an organization's stakeholders work tirelessly, they will struggle to align their standards and practices in the absence of a company-wide quality control plan. Learn how quality control plans lead to process standardization and improvement.
What Is a Quality Control Plan?
A quality control plan establishes quality standards and accepted procedures for a business or a specific initiative. This document, also known as a quality control plan, quality assurance plan, or quality management system, promotes uniform conformance among all stakeholders so that all team members understand what acceptable outputs look like.
Types of Quality Control Plans
Quality control plans are classified into two types: organizational-wide plans and project-specific plans.
Organization-wide quality control plans: To address quality issues throughout its workforce, an organization can implement a company-wide quality control plan. This type of QCP may include customer requirements, company-wide standards for deliverables, a quality control system, and penalties for nonconformance.
Project-specific quality control plans: A team leader or project manager creates a project-specific QCP when they want to implement process controls for a specific initiative. A QC plan in a manufacturing process may concentrate on product quality objectives and methodologies. A construction quality control plan may include specific work instructions, quality inspection protocols, corrective actions, and an outline of industry standards (such as construction project safety and building codes).
Importance of a Quality Control Plan
Creating a quality control plan is an important component of many organizations' continuous improvement initiatives. Developing and implementing a QCP fosters a shared understanding of what constitutes acceptable work, responsible workplace behavior, and what corrective actions will be taken when stakeholders fail to meet company expectations.
A quality control plan also clarifies organizational work roles. An employee may be aware of their formal title, but they may be unaware of how they fit into the myriad workflows that keep the business running. When they review their company's QCP, it may be the first time they truly understand their role in the larger picture.
How to Write a Quality Control Plan
When creating a QCP for your own organization, use this quality control plan template. Your quality control plan should include the following elements:
Mission statement: Begin your quality control program by clearly articulating your organization's mission. All stakeholders must understand why the organization exists and how it views its mission. When your QC plan aligns with the values in your mission statement, you increase team members' buy-in.
Stakeholder roles: Create an organizational chart for your business or project team. Display the chain of command and confirm all team members' roles.
Supply chains: Summarize the team's process for obtaining raw materials and other necessary inputs. Explain the quality assurance procedures that will be used to guide sourcing and procurement.
Workflows: A description of the company's core business practices is at the heart of a quality management plan. Describe each core work process in detail. Set expectations for everything from work pace to deliverable quality. Establish quality review metrics that you will use to evaluate performance, either for a specific project or for all projects.
Risk management: Define the procedures that the company will use to mitigate risk. Outline your team's expectations for caution and compliance. To do business in certain jurisdictions, the company may need to obtain specific certifications or accreditations; this type of compliance also falls under risk management.
Qualifications for business partners, contractors, and subcontractors include the following: A responsible company holds its partners, contractors, and subcontractors to the same standards as its own employees. Your QCP should outline the criteria for accepting outside partners.
Quality metrics: Create a checklist of metrics and milestones that will be used to assess compliance with the company's QC plan. This could include project deliverable timeframes or a project quality management process (like peer review or external auditing). This item is especially important in a project management plan because the quality process is likely to be specific to the project's outputs.
Corrective action plan: If stakeholders fail to meet the standards outlined in a quality control plan, an organization or project team must hold them accountable. Finish your QCP by explaining what happens when quality standards are not met. Explain what steps must be taken to correct mistakes. Describe any repercussions for team members who are found to be in violation of the organization's quality assurance guidelines.
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