Quality Assurance and Control for Custom Label Orders
What is quality assurance? What is quality control?
Quality assurance and quality control are often used interchangeably to describe the procedural steps taken to deliver a product or service that meets mandated requirements for quality. Although these terms are frequently regarded as the same thing, there is some difference between the two.
Quality assurance refers to the established activities performed throughout the various stages of production for the purpose of quality, which provides manufacturers and consumers with confidence that quality expectations will be met.
Quality control is the examination and review of the result to determine whether quality assurance was successful in its goal.
Quality assurance and quality control work in tandem to manage a system of quality management that facilitates streamlined production of quality goods and services.
How is it done?
Quality assurance is organized into a four-phase process: measures are developed, executed, monitored, and then refined based on results and response. At Sticky Business, it’s an ongoing system that is constantly striving to improve itself.
Begin with developing a plan to avoid potential quality pitfalls right from the start of initiating any project that involves all departments and stages of production.
- Establish relationships with trusted suppliers (quality labels start with quality materials!)
- Identify both acceptable and unacceptable levels of quality
- Ensure all departments understand the criteria and participate in the process
Next, implement the developed strategies across all procedural steps and departments.
- Proper training and maintenance of equipment
- Appropriate care and storage of materials
- Careful review of supplied artwork and request for vector graphics for best quality output
- Discussion about color expectations and request for PMS values
- Initial test print to troubleshoot any artwork or material concerns
- Vigilant adherence to developed methodology
Observe and record the results of the execution stage for success or problems.
- Spot checking quality throughout stages of production (prepress, printing, cutting, lamination etc.)
- Thorough quality control of finished product under special lights
- Maintain quality control checklist for reporting to the refinement stage
- Request feedback directly from customers
- Address drastic quality issues immediately
Finally, after collecting feedback from monitoring stage, identify any adjustments necessary to further the goal of efficient production of quality printed goods.
- Review the quality control reports to identify areas in need of improvement
- Investigate any problem so its root cause is understood and can be avoided
- Compile comments from customers for analysis
- Discuss feedback with entire team for additional solutions
- Consult specialists or suppliers for further insight into any quality issues
With a quality management system in place, why are faulty or misprinted labels still received?
Despite all the checks and balances in place to avoid quality issues with custom labels, there are occasions when quality control misses an issue and it’s the client or end user who discovers the problem. This is a situation we really strive to avoid at Sticky Business! But the system is only as good as the sum of its parts. A problem can be the result of a mechanical or material issue, and/or a technician, csr or client mistake, which was overlooked at the final inspection. Thus, it really boils down to human error. There are SO many things that can go wrong in custom printing, and even though problems will slip through, the system for quality assurance in custom label printing has come a long way!