Quality Costs: Why They Matter and How to Manage Them

Learn what quality costs are, why they’re essential to manage, and how you can keep them under control in your organization.

Costes de calidad

What are Quality Costs?

The costs associated with making sure that your product is of good quality are called quality costs. It includes preventing, detecting, and fixing any issues with the product. It’s crucial to ensure that your product meets the customer’s expectations, which is not just a matter of making it look nicer. For example, if someone spends very little money on a car, they will not expect it to have leather seats or air conditioning. But they will expect the car to run well. In this case, quality is considered a car that works rather than a car with luxury features.

Quality costs can significantly impact a company’s bottom line, so companies must carefully track and manage their quality costs.

Why Implement Cost of Quality (CoQ)?

The Cost of Quality (CoQ) is an essential tool that organizations can use to track the number of resources consumed for both the Cost of Good Quality (CoGQ) and the Cost of Poor Quality (CoPQ). COQ provides a systematic way to identify, quantify, and improve the quality of products and services. Moreover, CoQ can help prevent future quality problems.

To implement CoQ effectively, organizations need to have a clear understanding of their quality objectives. It is also necessary for them to establish processes and procedures for tracking and reporting quality. Using CoQ, organizations can determine where to allocate resources, improve the quality of their products and services, and improve their bottom line.

Impact of Quality Costs on Profitability

Quality costs might account for a substantial portion of a firm’s overall expenses. However, they are hidden within its usual cost recording system, oriented more toward recording by the responsibility center than quality concerns. Reducing quality problems can significantly improve a company’s profits and customer retention.

Calculating Your Cost of Quality

To calculate your company’s Cost of Quality, you will need to track the costs associated with both the Cost of Good Quality (CoGQ) and the Cost of Poor Quality (CoPQ). The CoGQ includes the expenses incurred to prevent, detect, and correct quality problems. The CoPQ consists of the costs associated with the scrap, rework, and warranty work that results from quality problems.

Adding the CoGQ and CoPQ together can provide an organization’s total cost of quality; here’s what the equation looks like.


Several factors determine the Cost of Good Quality (CoGQ). And some things can increase the Cost of Poor Quality (CoPQ) products.

Determining the Cost of Good Quality

Appraisal Costs (AC) and Prevention Costs (PC) are the categories that make up the CoGQ. AC and PC costs include any controls put in place by the organization to prevent issues from arising in the first place.

Appraisal Costs

Appraisal Costs are the costs incurred to examine products or services to ensure they meet quality standards. It includes costs for inspection, testing, and quality audits.

Prevention Costs

It refers to the costs associated with preventing quality problems from occurring. It includes expenses for training, process improvement, quality assurance, product development, risk management, supplier management, and quality planning.

Cost of Poor Quality (CoPQ)

Cost of Poor Quality (CoPQ) refers to the cost of scrap, rework, and warranty work that results from quality problems. There are two types of CoPQ: Internal Failure Costs (IFC) and External Failure Costs (EFC).

Internal Failure Costs

A product or service incurs internal failure costs due to quality problems before delivery. It includes expenses for rework, repair, and testing.

External Failure Costs

A product’s external failure costs are associated with repairing its defect after delivery. It includes warranty work, returns, customer service, and field repairs expenses.

External failures are the most costly to businesses in all categories mentioned above. These failures put your reputation and consumer loyalty at risk.

Where Are Quality Costs Relevant?

Quality costs can occur in any process or activity within an organization. Consequently, they can occur during the design phase, production, or delivery to the customer. Quality problems can also arise from supplier issues, material or component sourcing, and human errors.

Organizations need a system to track quality costs, determine where problems occur, and correct them.

How to Reduce the Cost of Quality?

It’s challenging to deliver high-quality solutions to customers while reducing overall CoQ and improving the bottom line. It requires preventing quality problems in the first place and identifying and correcting them as quickly as possible when they do occur.

Organizations can reduce quality issues by doing the following:

Improve Training Programs

For employees to do their jobs and operate the equipment and tools they will be using, they must receive adequate training. Training should focus on quality standards and procedures. And this should be ongoing and include both new and experienced employees.

Invest in Quality Control

It is the process of ensuring that products or services meet quality standards. Various methods are available for doing so, including inspections, testing, and audits.

Organizations should invest in quality control measures to prevent quality problems from occurring. In the long run, it will save money by preventing scrap, rework, and warranty work.

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Develop a Culture of Quality

Organizations need to develop a culture of quality throughout the company. Quality needs to be a top priority for everyone, from the CEO to the front-line workers.

Creating a quality culture will require changes in how the organization is managed and operated. Every aspect of the business must be quality-driven, from products and services to employee treatment.

Use Quality Tools and Techniques

Numerous tools and techniques can improve a product or service’s quality. These include Six Sigma, Lean, and the Deming Cycle. Organizations should use these tools and techniques to identify and correct quality problems and continuous improvement of processes.

Invest in Software That Focuses on Quality

Quality software can help organizations automate quality control processes and improve employee communication. The reduction of manual quality control procedures will save time and money.

FAQs about Quality Costs

Quality cost analysis is identifying, quantifying, and classifying quality costs. Organizations can use this process to determine where the problems are occurring and take steps to resolve them. There are several techniques used in cost analysis, including.

  • Index Numbers – This technique compares quality costs between different periods or departments within an organization.
  • Trend Analysis – Trend Analysis is when you compare how something changes over time. It can help you see problems with something getting worse or better over time.
  • Pareto Analysis – According to the Pareto rule, 80 percent of the problems result from 20 percent of the people. If you can identify these people, you can fix the problem with a high return on investment.

A quality cost system is a way of representing the costs associated with ensuring quality. It can help show the return on investment for quality improvement efforts. Essentially, they provide a way of putting a financial value on quality. It can be helpful in terms of making decisions about where to focus quality improvement efforts.

This Cost of Quality concept is vital for managers because it can help them decide where to focus their attention and resources. In the case of a company that spends a lot of money and time on rework to address defective products, the manager might prioritize efforts to improve the quality of the product or process. 

On the other hand, if the company spends a lot on pre-production activities such as design reviews and process audits, the manager might focus on reducing these costs without compromising quality. The ultimate goal is to find the right balance between quality and price. The cost of quality can be a helpful tool for managers in making these decisions.

In general, quality should come first because it is more important to produce a quality product than to produce a high quantity of products. However, there may be situations where productivity must come first to meet customer demand or deadlines. Managers are ultimately responsible for determining which is more important in any given case.

Rob Paredes
Article by
Rob Paredes
Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.