Looking through the Lens of Hardware Startups: QC vs QA vs QM

In order to guarantee product quality in hardware startups, quality control (QC), quality management (QM), and quality assurance (QA) are essential components. Although they are related ideas, they serve different functions.



While QM includes a wider range of actions aimed at controlling quality across the whole product lifetime, QC largely concentrates on discovering and correcting flaws during the production process. On the other side, QA is concerned with creating procedures and standards to prevent errors and guarantee consistent quality. In order to provide your customers with reliable high-quality products, you, as hardware startups should familiarize yourself with the differences between the three quality strategies. 


Table of Contents:


Quality Control (QC)

Quality control (QC) involves the audit, testing, and supervision processes of a product’s manufacturing stage. For hardware startups, a QC strategy ensures every product complies with predetermined standards of quality and identifies any flaws.

Visual inspections, functional testing, and statistical process control are examples of typical activities that are included.

QC is crucial for quickly identifying problems and resolving them, which reduces the possibility of defective items reaching the market. QC is essential in maintaining standards to ensure consistent quality and fault prevention by concentrating on the immediate production process.

Quality Management (QM)


As opposed to QC, quality management (QM) has a wider range of applications. It entails the comprehensive planning, coordination, and management of quality-related tasks across the course of a product's lifespan.

In order to guarantee that quality requirements are met at every stage, including design, procurement, manufacturing, and customer service, QM adopts a proactive approach. It entails a number of procedures, including creating quality targets, putting quality planning into effect, evaluating suppliers, and using strategies for quality improvement.

By using QM frameworks like Six Sigma or Total Quality Management (TQM), hardware startups hope to improve their processes, increase productivity, and foster continuous development.

Quality Assurance (QA)


Unlike QC and QM, Quality Assurance (QA) aim to prevent defects instead of identifying and correcting them. This means the QA process makes sure that all products manufactured are manufactured with a consistent quality standard.

A comprehensive QA strategy is obtained by developing various quality procedures, doing frequent checkups, and establishing standardized quality metrics. For hardware startups, a QA strategy is crucial to ensure compliance with the industry’s standards. 



Approach Audit, testing, and supervision of processes Planning, coordinating, and managing processes Developing procedures and establishing standardized quality metrics.
Timing During the manufacturing process Done proactively throughout a product's development process Integrated into the product's lifecycle
Aim Identify defects or deviations from quality standards Ensure quality consistency Prevent quality issues and ensure compliance to standard
PIC QC team Higher management QA team
Integration Inspecting and testing products Aligning quality objectives with overall business goals Planning, implementing, and maintaining quality management system throughout the organization
Tools Checklists, control charts, fishbone diagram, etc. Six Sigma, TPC, SPC, etc. ISO 9001


A comprehensive QC, QM, and QC strategy is essential for hardware startups to deliver consistent, high-quality products. 

  • A set of reliable QC approaches assists startups to filter and repair products from their production stage. Hence, customers will always receive high-quality products. 
  • A strategic QM framework comes useful to establish a quality standard in the design and manufacturing process, throughout the whole product lifecycle. 
  • Finally, the QA strategy takes into account any additional processes and sets up the quality standards to ensure all of your hardware products meet the market’s needs. 

All in all, hardware startups can establish a reputation for dependability, customer happiness, and long-term success in the cutthroat market of hardware technology by incorporating these quality strategies into their daily operations.

Posted by Nadya Lukman

Nadya Lukman

Nadya is a Mechatronics Engineer who had worked on several different projects including PCU design, engine design, and AI image processing systems. Besides having a little bit of caffeine addiction, she enjoys reading and traveling to new places.