What is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance is a management system designed to provide confidence that a product or service meets expected quality standards. Said confidence is relevant to managers and owners as well as third-party stakeholders, such as employees, customers, creditors, regulators, etc.
Quality assurance is largely a preventative measure. In its most basic form, it is a process to limit defects and waste in manufactured products and services rendered.
Quality Assurance is not necessarily a stand-alone process. It may be integrated into other managerial approaches, such as Total Quality Management.
Principles of Quality Assurance
There are two main principles of quality assurance:
- Fit for Purpose: A product or service should be fit for the purpose for which it is designed or developed.
- Free of Defects: The product or service should be free from any defects once created.
The objectives or quality assurance are as follows:
- Identify any causes of non-compliance or failure to meet standards.
- Reduce or eliminate these defects or causes for non-compliance.
Implementing Quality Assurance Measures
Implementation involves directed planning, implementation, evaluation, and compliance with standards. These standards or measures are implemented early in the production process – generally the design phase.
Implementation of these measures into operations entails internal control systems, compliance audits, process controls, training and employee engagement at each stage of production.
Quality Assurance measures are generally implemented by a quality management team. This team is accountable for developing standards, monitoring implementation, and reporting variations or defects.
The difficulty in implementing the quality assurance process is based on various factors including:
- The complexity of the product, and
- The extent and difficulty of the development process