Industrial Quality Control
Industrial Quality Control uses scientific techniques to determine product and service capabilities, to enable an organization to economically provide a product or service suitable for its intended purpose. The objective of a good quality-control program is to enable all people and machines concerned to do their jobs right the first time and to provide assurance to the customer that this has been done.
The detailed techniques vary from product to product and from service to service, but the principles remain the same: knowing the requirements for the product, service or process; verifying that these can be met, maintained and improved; and taking corrective action where necessary.
In Canada, quality control started in the military, aviation and electronic fields. For many years, the only standards available were those issued by the Dept of National Defence. In line with the requirements of the early DND standards, many major companies prepared their own quality-control standards, insisting that their suppliers meet these standards.
In the early 1970s the electric power UTILITIES recognized the problem caused to many sections of industry by this mass of similar standards. The utilities, regulatory bodies and major suppliers involved formed a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Technical Committee to develop a common standard. The result was the initial series of CSA-Z 299 Quality Program Standards. The Standards Council of Canada assigned to CSA the responsibility for developing a series of quality assurance standards. Thus, the latest revisions of the CSA-Z 299 series and other related quality and relability standards are known as the National Standards of Canada, falling under the cognizance of the CSA Steering Committee on Managing for Quality and Reliability.
Canadians have been equally active in the field of international quality standards - with NATO for military Standards; and with the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) for non-military standards on quality and reliability, respectively. The chairmanship and secretariat for the ISO Technical Committee on Quality Assurance (ISO/ TC 176) were awarded to Canada at the initial meeting.
In 1946 the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) was formed as the first industrial quality control technical society on this continent. This society now has over 40 000 members worldwide. Canadians have been active in the society virtually from its inception. The Canadian region, comprising sections or subsections in Hamilton, London, Kitchener, Montreal and Winnipeg, is represented on the board of directors by the regional director. Other members have held elected positions on the board and the executive of the society.
Educational courses in the discipline are available at a number of community colleges across Canada, plus a limited number of universities, eg, U of Manitoba and Concordia U.