Quality Assurance refers to any process by which quality requirements are ensured either prior to or during the production process. In auto repair this would equate to definition of quality standards and communication of those requirements to technicians (pre-production). Secondly it would refer to the process by which technicians ensure that quality requirements are met during the performance of repair work. If the standards are clearly defined and the processes by which the standards are applied are sound then desired quality levels should be achieved. The application of quality assurance can be viewed as building quality into the product at the point of production.
Quality Control refers to the process by which all aspects of the production process are reviewed and examined to ensure that quality standards are met. Probably the most impactful element of quality control is the inspection process. In auto repair the quality control inspection process is performed after work is completed on a vehicle to make sure that all required repairs were performed and that they meet quality requirements. Inspections are performed post production and are focused on identifying problems before vehicle delivery.
Quality assurance focuses on improving and stabilizing processes by which service is delivered thus minimizing quality problems during the repair process. Quality control focuses on identifying and correcting problems after repair work is performed and ensuring that it’s corrected before the vehicle is returned to the customer. Both areas are critical to delivering quality auto repair service.
Quality assurance and control principles can be applied to all areas of a business. In the auto repair business the repair process receives the most focus but quality management principles can also be applied to parts procurement, points of customer interaction and other areas of the business. Applying quality principles in this manner can be referred to as Total Quality Management.