Skip to content
    March 24, 2023

    How to Minimize Non-Conformances in Quality Control

    Quality control is a major component of any manufacturing or production company. Ensuring that your products and services are at their best before being placed in the hands of your customers is essential. 

    Part of this is ensuring that any non-conformances with your quality control standards are dealt with promptly and effectively. Here’s how to minimize the impact of non-conformances on quality control.

    What Are Non-Conformances?

    Non-conformances are instances that arise whenever a product, a service, or a process fails to live up to the regulations and standards they’re supposed to. Non-conformances can have a major negative impact on a company, as non-conformance can damage the reputation of a brand, a company’s manufacturing costs, the effectiveness of a product or service, and the efficiency of that company’s workflows.

    There are two types of non-conformances that can happen. There are minor non-conformances, which are those that happen only rarely, can be detected easily, and don’t have a major impact on the product or service you’re providing to customers. The other type, major non-conformances, is much more serious. These tend to happen much more often, are much harder to detect, and will have a major negative impact on customer experience.

    Managing and Preventing Non-Conformances

    There are five components to managing and preventing non-conformances. They are, in order, the following:

    • Containment: The first step is to always separate the non-conforming products from the rest of your inventory. This requires quarantining these products and shifting them to a holding area that is under the supervision of your quality control department. This prevents these products from being shipped to customers inadvertently.
    • Immediate corrective action: Once some non-conforming products are identified and contained, ensure the rest of your production run isn’t harboring other non-conformances. It’s also crucial to discover if any non-conforming products were already shipped; if they have, they need to be recalled immediately.
    • Root cause analysis: Quality control personnel now need to analyze the non-conformances found to discover the root cause that led to the issue. This is the first step in ensuring the problem doesn’t happen again.
    • Long-term corrective action: Once the root cause of the non-conformance has been identified, technical teams need to conduct thorough investigations into the mechanisms behind that cause. Once these investigations have been concluded, strategies for preventing issues in the future are formulated and put into place.
    • Validating effectiveness: Now that corrective actions have been undertaken, it’s necessary to check the entire process again to ensure that these new actions are indeed effective. Careful monitoring for a specified period needs to take place to ensure that non-conformances aren’t repeated. If things continue smoothly, then this is a strong signal that the corrective actions that were instituted are holding steady.