Fact Checked

What are the Different Kinds of Quality Control Tests?

Larry Ray Palmer
Larry Ray Palmer

In the world of manufacturing and industry, quality control tests are as varied as the products for which the tests are designed. Quality control tests are used to determine whether a product is safe for the consumer, is manufactured to specifications and meets guidelines for usefulness or other measures of quality. Quality control tests are an important part of the manufacturing industry because these tests ensure the end-users' safety and satisfaction with their purchases.

Quality control tests and methods are usually divided into three basic categories. These categories are in-house, outsourced and user test panels. Although not all manufacturers utilize all three types of quality control testing, nearly all manufacturers implement some form of quality control auditing in the manufacturing process.

Quality control employees inspect milling equipment for irregularities that could damage products.
Quality control employees inspect milling equipment for irregularities that could damage products.

In-house quality control tests might be something as simple as visual inspection of the product for the correct number of pieces, correct coloration or visible damage, or this type of testing might involve a complex series of carefully calibrated laboratory tests to determine chemical compositions and other properties of a manufactured product. In-house quality control testing is the most commonly employed form of quality control. A manufacturer might choose to have a separate quality control department, or quality control testing might be done along various parts of the production line.

The food industry uses quality control measures.
The food industry uses quality control measures.

Outsourced quality control testing is a method of quality control used commonly in industries such as the food industry or medicine production industry. An outside quality control auditor is assigned to run a series of tests on the products to determine whether the product meets the quality guidelines and claims of the manufacturer. In the case of specific industries, this outsourced quality control testing might be mandated by the government to ensure consumer safety of pharmaceuticals or food products.

The third category of quality control testing is user test panels. In this type of quality control testing, the product, or a functional prototype of the product, is given to a user to test and then deliver a report based on his or her personal experience. This test is almost always the last test in the series and is used to better understand how consumers will use a product and what concerns the product might present. When products are tested in user test panels, the sample product usually is given to the test panel members in exchange for participating in the quality control test. In other cases, the test panel member might receive other rewards or cash payment for his or her services.

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Discussion Comments


@everetra - Well, if you really like computer testing, maybe you would love software testing. In my opinion software testing is something that is simply inadequate.

A lot of it is done in house, and that’s okay, but I think you need outsourced testers who can try out your software and see if it does what it’s supposed to.

In house testing is done by people who are somewhat familiar with the product line, and therefore they may not push every single button, so to speak.


@everetra - I wouldn’t care too much for the food industry, but give me a job testing flat panel televisions any day! That would be my dream job.

Believe me - I know how to put flat panel televisions through their paces. For that matter I think I would enjoy being a computer hardware quality control tester too.

I love technology. I think I would do well with that, or anything else that is technology related. That would include home theater systems too, although I suspect I would need access to testing equipment to do well there.


@NathanG - I’d be less worried about your reputation and more concerned about who got sick, and were you liable.

I am sure you couldn’t get sued personally but the company you worked for could. That would be a terrible thing to have on your conscience.

However we have to put things in perspective. No quality control team, no matter how good, can inspect every single product in a batch of food. My understanding is that they take samples. It’s quite possible that your sample was good but the rest was bad. That’s just the way that works.


I think that food related quality control inspection is the most important of the different kinds of quality control listed in this article.

The last thing we need is news of another outbreak of E Coli bacteria or some other food borne virus. When this stuff happens it spoils a whole bunch of food and of course it creates a situation where people get sick and possibly die in some circumstances.

Can you imagine being the quality control inspector who let slip through your hands a batch of food containing a virus or bacteria? I’d tender my resignation after such an episode. It would be hard to recover and regain your reputation.

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    • Quality control employees inspect milling equipment for irregularities that could damage products.
      By: RGtimeline
      Quality control employees inspect milling equipment for irregularities that could damage products.
    • The food industry uses quality control measures.
      By: Kadmy
      The food industry uses quality control measures.