What Does Quality Control Mean in the Corrosion and Coatings Industry?
Quality control is the comparison of measurements, taken on an industrial coatings job site, to predetermined industry standards in order to ensure personal and environmental safety as well as a quality product.
Between my time spent working in the industrial coatings industry and my time spent building software dedicated to quality control, "What is quality control?" is a question I get a lot.
Non-profit groups like the Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC) and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) have codified best practices for industrial coatings specialists based on criteria such as management and training procedures, and compliance with safety, health and environmental regulations.
Simply put, quality control—to me—is the comparison of measurements, taken on an industrial coatings job site, to these predetermined industry standards in order to ensure personal and environmental safety as well as a quality product.
Normally, quality means different things to different people, but quality control on a job site is often standardized by regulatory agencies in a way that makes it completely objective, and hence measurable.
The Telephone Effect
In traditional quality control, an employee in the field takes measurements and records the results by hand. From there, they are usually sent via hard copy to the home office, where they may be rewritten. Often, they will be rewritten again or entered into a computer before being examined for quality assurance purposes (more on that later).
The problem with this method is that there are plenty of opportunities for error during any one of these steps. Like a game of telephone, where an original message is warped by retellings until it hardly resembles the original, quality control measurements can be completely derailed when a seven is mistaken for a four or a zero is missed.
Quality control measurements are at their most accurate when they’re done frequently and recorded immediately. When conditions on a job site just aren’t conducive to a pen and paper, measurements are sometimes saved to be entered later, leading to lost or forgotten figures.
This was something we took into consideration with our software. TruQC records the exact time, date and GPS coordinates when readings are input, preventing against reports being skipped and filled out later (perhaps at a hotel or mobile office). This assures accuracy and consistency in the way that measurements are gathered and recorded.
Quality Control and Quality Assurance
Whereas quality control refers to the practice of documenting your work, quality assurance refers to the use of that data to improve company practices. The smartest companies don’t stop with the information regulatory agencies mandate they collect. Instead, they make use of that data to streamline practices and improve efficiency. (Related reading: Corrosion Knowledge Management versus Corrosion Management: An Essential Tool for Assets Integrity Management.)
With TruQC, all of your data is kept safe and in one place, making it easy to review in the future. And because it’s stored securely in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about losing or damaging the device it’s stored on.
This article originally appeared on TruQCapp.com. It has been republished here with permission.
Written by Ross Boyd