What is an Effective Control Plan in Quality Management?

Chris JacksonMarch 29, 2023

Let’s say your company just launched a new product, and you feel great about it. Customers are raving, and the orders are pouring in. But then, something goes wrong. One by one, complaints start rolling in about the product’s quality. Before you know it, you’re hit with a product recall, and your company’s reputation is tarnished

As an expert in quality management, I’ve witnessed firsthand the disastrous effects of poor quality control. According to a recent survey, a shocking 60% of companies have faced product recalls due to quality issues. But the good news is that you can avoid this fate by implementing an effective control plan

In this blog, I’ll dive into what a control plan is in quality management and provide examples to illustrate why your organization must have one.

In this blog, you’ll learn:

A control plan in quality is a proactive approach that helps to ensure that the end product or process meets the required quality standards. It is a documented plan that outlines the methods and procedures used to maintain consistent quality in a product or process. It is a critical element of quality management used to identify and mitigate potential quality issues that may arise during manufacturing or production.

What is the Purpose of a Control Plan in Quality Management?

A quality control plan aims to establish a framework for preventing defects and non-conformities in a product or service

Prototype Control Plan

This type of control plan is used in the early stages of development when a product is still in the prototype phase. It outlines the dimensions, materials, and performance tests necessary for developing a prototype.

For example, a company developing a new smartphone may create a prototype control plan to ensure that the phone’s dimensions, materials, and performance tests meet the desired standards

Pre-Launch Control Plan

Once a product prototype is complete, a pre-launch control plan is used to ensure the product is ready for full production. It includes dimension measurements, materials, and performance tests conducted after the prototype phase.

For example, a company producing a new car may use a pre-launch control plan to test the vehicle’s braking system, acceleration, and fuel efficiency before the car is approved for full production

Production Control Plan

A production control plan is used when a product is in total production. It includes characteristics, process controls, tests, and measurements throughout production.

For example, a company manufacturing electronic devices may use a production control plan to ensure that the products are consistent in quality, performance, and appearance throughout the production process

What is a Control Plan Format?

There is no specific format that a control plan must follow, but generally, it includes the following information:

Detailed description of process steps to identify potential quality issues and ensure consistent production. It may include process flow diagrams, process maps, and process descriptions

Identification of the most important characteristics directly affecting customer satisfaction. The control plan outlines acceptable limits and measurements for each CTQ characteristic

Outline of methods used to ensure the process operates within defined control limits, such as visual inspections, statistical process control, or other monitoring methods

Identification of acceptable ranges for each key input and output in the control plan. This allows for early detection of issues and timely corrective actions

Plan for corrective actions in case of deviations from the control limits, which may include stopping production, making adjustments to the process, or re-inspecting the product

Identify who is responsible for each step of the process and who is responsible for monitoring and controlling the quality of the product or service


For any organization, implementing an effective control plan is crucial to maintain and enhance the quality of their products and services. A control plan offers a systematic approach to monitor and control processes, identify potential quality issues, and take corrective actions promptly. By adhering to the key elements of a control plan, organizations can ensure consistency, minimize defects and rework, boost customer satisfaction, and accomplish their quality goals. With a robust control plan in place, organizations can foster trust and confidence with their customers, enhance their reputation, and gain a competitive edge in their industry

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