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Quality Control in Manufacturing and Its Importance Across Industries

An aerial view of nine steel coils, bound for shipping. On the left, a male worker wearing a hard hat, safety vest and gloves inspects the center coil as a woman on the right, wearing similar attire, also inspects the coil.

Why is manufacturing important?

We rely on manufacturers for mass-produced products — from toiletries and consumables to toys and bedding. The manufacturing industry is often taken for granted. You might think it’s easy for manufacturers to create masses of products with their factories, machinery, and robots, but there’s a lot more to it. Management and quality control are what keep manufacturing steady and up to par.

Manufacturing companies have a reputation to maintain. If customers aren’t satisfied with a product, the company may not achieve their business goals. Quality control in manufacturing is one of the final opportunities to catch potential flaws before a product reaches the consumer — making it one of the more essential roles in manufacturing.

We spoke with Director of Strategic Sales Kimberly McHugh who has over 24 years of experience in the life sciences space where quality control is essential to the manufacturing process. She explained the role of quality control in manufacturing and the career outlook for the profession. 

What is the importance of manufacturing quality control?

“A lack of quality control in manufacturing can damage a company’s reputation, cause them to lose customers, and even create serious safety issues. If a company manufactures a pharmaceutical, a lifesaving medical device, or an infant car seat with a defect, these can be life-threating mistakes. This makes quality control in manufacturing important - it identifies these mistakes before a dangerous product goes out the door,” says McHugh.

No matter the sector of manufacturing, employers want to maintain their company’s reputation and ensure factory quality control. If their product falls below consumer expectations or errors cause delays in production, companies put themselves at risk of missing business goals. Additionally, many products have government regulations and standards to conform to, such as automobiles, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.


The manufacturing quality control process

Manufacturing quality control personnel ensure that goods meet specific standards which varies by product. For example, if the company produces a steel alloy, quality control personnel are expected to know the mandated industry standards. They’ll pull samples of product from batches and test their composition, physical properties and other metrics to make sure it meets regulations. The tests may differ with each product a company sells and may be done according to a protocol, but the premise of manufacturing quality control is mostly the same. 

What are the responsibilities of quality control in manufacturing?

As mentioned above, quality control personnel are responsible for ensuring the product conforms to regulations & standards, and to adhere to factory quality control standards. Here are the general responsibilities of quality control in manufacturing:

  • Receiving and inspecting raw material
  • Testing the product for quality
  • Reporting and recording testing metrics and results
  • Giving feedback to quality auditors and the manufacturing floor
  • Stay up to date with standards and protocols
  • Discarding products and batches that fail to meet quality expectations

Is quality control in manufacturing a good career?

Quality control in manufacturing is a promising career. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a slight decline in quality control jobs — they also project an average of 67,800 openings for quality control jobs each year due to workers new roles or retiring. The manufacturing industry is showing no signs of slowing down, and quality control is a vital part of the field.

McHugh notes that manufacturing quality control jobs can be a natural transition if you already have some manufacturing experience. 

“We often see that workers are promoted from more entry-level manufacturing roles into quality control roles. A quality assurance job in manufacturing is a great path for upward mobility within a manufacturing environment,”

What qualifications do I need for quality control jobs in manufacturing?

The qualifications for quality control jobs in manufacturing  — like the quality standards — depend on the manufacturer and specific product. Generally, they require a high school diploma or GED equivalent to be considered. Then, most employers will provide some level of on-the-job training. 

McHugh also states that some experience or education in the field you’d be working is also valuable.

“Manufacturing experience within the industry in which you are seeking a position is always helpful — especially in highly regulated industries. It’s helpful for workers to gain critical knowledge and experience working within industry regulations whether it be GMP environments, ISO environments, cleanroom environments etc.” 

Those seeking quality assurance jobs in manufacturing should also consider some of the soft skills that can contribute to their success. Skills like problem solving and adaptability will be useful, but McHugh emphasized one specific soft skill.

“Regarding soft skills it probably goes without saying but attention to detail is a must! Manufacturing quality control workers must have a good eye for something being amiss and must understand the importance of speaking up and taking action,” says McHugh.

How do I start a career in manufacturing quality control?

There are plenty of quality control assurance jobs in manufacturing and more are on the horizon. The best thing to do if you’re interested in a manufacturing quality control career is to find a field that interests you. 

What experience is needed for a quality assurance job in manufacturing?

“The experience required for a quality assurance job in manufacturing varies with the complexity of the product. Some positions don’t require experience and are willing to train on-the-job given the right attitude and interest. Complex products in more regulated industries may require workers to start in an entry-level manufacturing role with the opportunity to be promoted into a quality control role once they understand the product and industry regulations,” says McHugh.

Millions of people everyday use products that they trust to be held to rigorous standards by manufacturing quality assurance personnel, so it’s a well-respected and important position no matter the product. It’s a good career choice for those interested in entering the manufacturing industry and the skills transfer well between sectors.

Ready to start looking for quality control jobs in manufacturing? Search our job board today.