5 ways to measure the cost of nonconformance in quality management 

 December 31, 2022

Written by Yemisi Iyilade, Project Management Consultant, Scientist & Innovation Expert.

In order to manage and improve quality, it is important to understand the cost of nonconformance and take the necessary steps to reduce its impact on your business!

Nonconformance can refer to any deviation from specifications or standards and can have a significant impact on businesses both financially and operationally.

In this article, we will discuss five ways to measure the cost of nonconformance in quality management. We will also explore the various types of costs associated with nonconformance, and how you can go about calculating them.

What are the 5 Ways to Measure the Cost of Nonconformance?

Quality management is a vital component of any business, as it ensures that products and services meet customer satisfaction.

When nonconformance occurs, however, there can be considerable costs incurred, but with proper planning and implementation strategies in place, companies can better manage their risks while still achieving high levels of product or service quality at an acceptable cost level too!

Below are five ways to measure the cost of nonconformance and how you can use a process approach to manage quality in your organization.

1. Measuring the Cost of Nonconformance through Lost Revenue

When products do not meet customer expectations due to poor quality or non-conformity, it can lead to revenue losses due to returns, refunds, or complaints. For example, if a product fails prematurely due to an assembly error, the company may have to cover the cost of replacement and shipping fees as well as lost sales from dissatisfied customers.

The true cost of nonconformance can be difficult to measure since it’s often hard to identify all the factors that contribute to it. However, lost revenue is one way to measure the cost of nonconformance.

Let’s say for example, you produce a product that fails prematurely due to an assembly error. This could result in lost sales from dissatisfied customers and increased costs for customer service, shipping fees, and replacement product costs. These are all measurable ways in which your company may be losing revenue due to the nonconformance issue.

Another way you may lose money due to nonconformances is if customers take their business elsewhere as a result of their dissatisfaction with your product or service. Negative word-of-mouth information sharing has the potential to wreak havoc on your business and cause lost revenue if customers begin complaining about inadequate quality control or unsatisfactory products or services.

Measuring the cost of lost revenue can provide valuable insight into how much money is being lost due to nonconforming products or services. It can also help you understand where improvements need to be made in order for your company’s products or services to meet customer expectations more consistently and reliably.

As such, measuring lost revenue is an important part of successfully managing projects and avoiding costly mistakes down the road. It is a great strategy for any project leader or business owner looking for ways to improve their bottom line, to understand how much money is being lost due to nonconforming products or services.

It can provide valuable insight into where improvement needs should focus when dealing with quality control issues and other forms of non-compliance across an organization’s product lines or service offerings.

Your risk management planning could include measuring this data accurately to address these problems before they occur and become too costly, ensuring that customer satisfaction remains high when you have to mitigate unnecessary losses in both time and money down the road.

2. Measuring Non-Conformance Costs Using Rework Cost Analysis

When it comes to the success of a project, cost management is key. Non-conforming products and services can have a negative effect on the bottom line, resulting in increased costs associated with labor, materials, tools, engineering changes, and product redesigns. But products and services can be reworked or redesigned in order to meet customer expectations.

What is Rework Cost Analysis?

Rework cost analysis is used to identify and measure the overall cost that an organization incurs when dealing with non-conformance issues related to its products and services. This includes both direct costs (labor, materials) as well as indirect costs (time investments such as engineering changes or product redesigns).

By understanding the scope of these costs, organizations can better identify areas where they need to improve their processes and procedures in order to reduce costly reworks.

How Does It Work?

When conducting a rework cost analysis, organizations must first review their current processes and procedures in order to determine which process steps are causing the most issues.

Once these problem areas are identified, organizations can then begin to look for solutions that will help reduce the amount of rework needed in order to achieve customer satisfaction. This could involve streamlining processes or investing in new tools or technologies that allow for more accurate production.

What are the benefits of Rework Cost Analysis?

The primary benefit of conducting a rework cost analysis is that it provides organizations with valuable insight into where non-conformances are occurring within the production process so that they can be addressed quickly and effectively.

Additionally, it enables a business to track progress over time by comparing previous results against current ones in order to assess any improvements they may have made since implementing new strategies or procedures.

Finally, it allows teams to measure their performance against industry standards so that they can gain a better understanding of how they compare relative to their peers.

Rework cost analysis is an invaluable tool for project leaders and managers who want to ensure their projects are not only successful but also profitable.

By understanding where non-conformance issues are most likely to occur within the production process and taking proactive steps toward rectifying them, businesses can save both time and money while still providing customers with high-quality products and services.

Having a rework cost analysis, as part of your project management tool kit you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how best to optimize your processes for maximum efficiency and profitability!

3. Measuring the cost of Nonconformance with Waste Disposal Costs

Poor quality products may need to be discarded rather than repaired or reworked depending on their level of non-compliance. When products are non-compliant, it often means taking additional steps to dispose of them properly.

These waste disposal costs include everything from cleaning up spills and hazardous material disposal fees to transportation and landfill charges for discarded goods.

How to measure the cost of Nonconformance with Waste Disposal Costs.

When it comes to measuring the cost of nonconformance, one of the most effective ways is through tracking waste disposal costs associated with poor-quality products.

Calculating the cost of nonconformance is often tricky because it consists of variables like customer dissatisfaction and decreased sales from product recalls or reworking. To make this easier, many organizations invest in measuring the cost of nonconformance by zeroing in on waste disposal costs instead.

This includes everything from cleaning up spills and disposing of hazardous materials to transporting and dumping items into landfills that cannot be reworked or repaired due to their level of noncompliance.

These expenses should be tracked over time so that you can identify any trends and make adjustments accordingly.

For instance, if you notice an increase in waste disposal costs related to poor-quality items over a certain period of time, you may need to address this issue more directly by investing more resources into quality improvement initiatives or implementing more stringent quality control measures across production processes.

Since these costs are easy to quantify, they often provide a more accurate picture of how much money is being lost due to poor-quality products or services.

Waste disposal costs are one-way organizations can measure the cost of nonconformance in their operations. While these costs may not provide an exact figure for how much money is being lost due to poor-quality products or services, they do provide a good starting point for assessing potential risks associated with noncompliance issues.

4. Measuring the cost of Nonconformance with Internal Auditing Costs

Quality audits are essential for tracking performance metrics and ensuring standards are met when producing goods or services so that they meet customer requirements.

Internal auditing costs include fee payments for third-party auditors, as well as any other expenses related to implementing audit processes within your organization’s operations – such as training and development activities and software licenses required for compliance purposes.

Internal nonconformance costs can be easily tracked with quality audits, and serve as a valuable measure of performance.

It can provide valuable insight into the overall efficiency of a supply chain- from raw materials procurement through to goods delivery- by identifying areas of non-compliance and potential cost-savings opportunities.

Internal auditing costs directly reflect how much a company is investing in maintaining conformance. Working with third parties to keep track of such costs makes it easier to ensure all supply chain procedures fit regulations and requirements.

5. Measuring the cost of Nonconformance through Customer Satisfaction Losses

Quality issues can lead to dissatisfied customers who not only stop buying from you but also spread negative feedback about your brand leading others away from purchasing your products/services, which leads to decreased customer loyalty, brand reputation damage, and reduced market share all leading back into lost revenue again.

When customers are unhappy, it is a definite sign that quality standards have been affected. This most often results in decreased customer satisfaction and loyalty, sometimes may tarnish a brand’s reputation, and may cause market share to drop.

The costs incurred in noncompliance can easily be calculated, calculating the cost of failed delivery times and non-functioning products.

What may be harder to note however are the less tangible costs from nonconformance such as damage to brand reputation, reduced customer loyalty, and decreased market share, leading to overall reduced revenue.

When these failures occur, organizations must move swiftly in order to focus on controlling nonconformance costs while taking rapid steps toward improvement. This is why you need to implement a total quality management program as a preventative or corrective measure in order to keep nonconformance costs low and maintain customer satisfaction.

Final thoughts

In quality control terms, non-conformance leaves companies exposed to quality issues that can create legal liabilities and customer dissatisfaction as well as lost time and money due to returns or rework.

Imagine if you could measure the cost of nonconformance – this would be a huge help to organizations everywhere, allowing them to identify and reduce the cost of poor quality. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to do this.

But measuring the cost of nonconformance is essential for businesses looking to improve their quality management processes and ensure they remain compliant with industry standards while still providing customers with satisfactory products and services.

There are many factors that contribute to the cost of nonconformance, and it can be difficult to isolate and quantify them all, this is what leads to significant loss and costs.

Implementing a formal Quality Management System (QMS), monitoring suppliers closely, and investing in employee training are all important steps organizations should take when trying to reduce their risk from poor-quality products or services.

Ultimately, an effective quality management system should make sure that quality standards are met, so these costly issues can be avoided altogether. Making sure quality systems are in place to reduce the risk of non-conformance and its associated costs should be a top priority for all businesses.

By understanding these five measuring tactics and taking a process approach toward managing quality in your organization you will be able to effectively address issues surrounding non-conformance quickly before any significant losses occur.


What are the costs of non-conformance?

When quality management processes fail to satisfy quality control expectations, non-conformance can have serious financial consequences. A business may have to pay costs such as supplier quality penalties, increased expenses for further quality checks, as well as additional costs for investigation and corrective action.

It’s also important not to forget about potential losses due to reputational damage and customer complaints. Moreover, there is a time investment cost, associated with the extra quality assurance steps and processes that need implementing in the event of any non-conformance.

Therefore, it’s essential for project managers to be proactive in identifying quality issues and ensuring that all processes are effectively delivering quality results on time.

What is the difference between the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance?

In quality management, it is important to understand the difference between the cost of conformance (COC) and the cost of nonconformance (CONC).

COC is the amount of time, money, and resources invested in staying within quality standards, i.e what it costs to do quality activities right. Whereas CONC is what happens when quality standards are not met resulting in instability and lower-quality products.

Conformance encompasses quality controls conducted throughout the development process, such as testing and inspections, to ensure quality standards are met. Nonconformance is the cost associated with an acceptable quality level, or AQL – when quality processes fail and do not meet pre-defined quality specifications.

Understanding the impact of COC versus CONC can give project managers an appreciation of proactive quality initiatives designed to ensure successful quality performance while avoiding detrimental impacts from missed quality standards.

Though it can seem counterintuitive, oftentimes investing upfront in quality assurance can result in considerable savings later when costly errors or re-works are averted.

What are the 4 types of quality management?

Quality control influences customer satisfaction and the overall costs of products or services, hence it is an essential part of any project. Quality management can be broken down into four types:

  1. Quality control – This monitors and evaluates actual performance against quality requirements and standards to identify variances from the design intent. It involves understanding what quality should look like and making sure that you’re meeting those quality standards at every stage of a product or service.
  2. Quality assurance – This ensures that quality requirements are incorporated into the product or service throughout the development process. The goal is to prevent quality issues from occurring in the first place.
  3. Quality improvement – This looks at continuously improving quality over time through targeted actions that reduce costs and improve quality for customers. It focuses on continuous improvements to increase production efficiency, resulting in improved quality.
  4. Quality planning and management – Quality planning identifies ways for quality standards to be met by developing objectives, tasks, and processes that must be completed before executing a product or service. Quality management brings all of these pieces together and emphasizes, keeping the customer happy at all times with a focus on quality throughout the entire system.

What are the 5 principles of quality management?

Quality management systems are the cornerstone of quality improvement and customer satisfaction. Whether focusing on a product, service, or process output, quality management principles remain pertinent.

The five essential quality management principles are – customer focus, quality-oriented leadership, continuous improvement and learning, process-oriented approach, and systematic quality management.

These principles form the basic foundation of quality assurance efforts in any organization and must be used in both planning and execution to ensure success in quality outcomes. By embracing these core concepts in quality management, organizations can guarantee progress toward their original goals for quality assurance and greater customer satisfaction.

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Yemisi Iyilade

Yemisi Iyilade is a Project Management Professional, PMP and Maxwell Leadership Coach and Trainer. She has worked in the environmental, nonprofit, and technology industries, developing new products and services, providing leadership, and facilitating meaningful engagement with stakeholders. Yemisi is driven by a mission to empower young people, women, and immigrant professionals through content delivery, coaching and training. She believes that if given the right tools and tactics, any motivated person can gain the awareness and grit needed to create better opportunities.


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