The definition of quality control testing, also called QC testing, is a process in which a variety of factors that deal with a products production, packaging, and shipping are reviewed in order to find potential problems for product failure and put solutions in place to prevent or solve any issues that are determined.
Proper quality control testing can help to prevent product failure. During product failure a contamination, loss of active ingredient, or other issue to cause concern over the products safety has already happened. Depending on what quality control checks are put in place is can vary on how long it will take to identify and fix the cause of the problem.
For instance if a manufacture switches their raw material supplier but the quality of the materials was never independently tested then a manufacture may be producing products of lesser or unsafe quality and may not realize it until customer complaints start coming in. At this point due to the rush and lack of baseline information it is more expensive to have the testing preformed to identify and solve the problem and is most likely also a PR nightmare for the company having to deal with product recalls and the loss of faith in their products from customers.
A quality control laboratory can determine the cause and solve current product failure and if used properly can even help to prevent future problems. Occasional batch to batch testing will help to ensure that over time your products viscosity, color, odor, performance, and composition remain consistent over time. As mentioned before it is also smart to check the quality of raw materials with an independent testing laboratory whenever parts suppliers are changed or if you believe you notice a sudden difference in the quality of raw materials being received.
These can be expensive tests, but it is a lot less expensive to maintain proper quality control over time then gamble with a higher possibility of a product failure or possible product recall. Some analytical testing laboratories can actually help to create proper method development and validation protocols in the early or late stage of product development. This can be especially useful for those in the pharmaceutical or supplement industries or for those that deal with different kinds of metals or polymers.
Proper packaging testing is sometimes forgotten even by careful manufactures. Once your product and its manufacturing process are perfected it is still important to preform proper testing for its packaging items. Instead of only looking at a packaging products appearance and size it is important to also consider its chemical composition.
Extractable and leachable testing can test packaging products in order to determine what chemicals within a packaging product may leach out into the product it is holding. This is especially important for products that are either ingested or go onto the body like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and soaps. Sometimes according to industry and regulatory standards it may actually be a requirement to perform these tests. Product packaging testing can also have the added bonus of identifying the proper type of packaging in order to maintain or increase a products shelf life.
For more information on quality control testing please take a look at our manufacturing and pharmaceutical quality control testing page.
Dr. Shri Thanedar, Ph.D, is the CEO and Chief Chemist at Avomeen Analytical Services. He has over 20 years of experience serving as chief scientist or expert witness on over 20 litigation support projects involving chemical analysis, product failure analysis, reverse engineering, and polymer and rubber analysis.
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