Quality assurance is an integral part of any business. Delivering quality service is essential to business success. Most quality problems are the result of poorly defined business processes. If procedures are defined so that quality assurance is included the product delivered will have quality built into it. Quality problems occur at the point of production however the underlying cause may not be production related. Production is fed from various sources such as work requirements definition and parts to be used. Superior quality is ensured by building quality checks into all processes that are part of service delivery. Following are points on quality assurance:
- Define the Scope of Quality Assurance – In order to be effective in quality assurance the extent of requirements must be laid out. For instance if a vehicle requires a minor repair the extent of quality assurance requirements may not be that great. But some repairs may require testing and confirmation in more than one affected area based on inter-relationships.
- Balance the Cost with Profit Requirements – Time spent on quality assurance has a cost associated with it. Parameters must be set to ensure that time spent on quality doesn’t result in losses. However, the cost of poor quality far outweighs the cost of ensuring good quality on delivery.
- Be Process Oriented – Most quality problems are the result of poorly defined processes. Quality at the point of production is always the most effective. If processes are clearly defined and followed quality will be built into the end product as work is performed and assurance processes will serve as confirmation.
- Define Procedures – Quality assurance procedures enacted at the point of production or as an inspection function should be defined and followed. Check lists outlining tests and expected results are the most reliable tools to use in quality assurance. Test plans make sure that nothing is missed.
- Utilize Constructive and Destructive Testing – Constructive testing makes sure that something works the way it’s supposed to. Destructive testing involves attempting to make something malfunction. Both forms of testing should be employed for the best results.
- Keep Audit Trails – It’s important to know who performed inspections and how they did the inspection. Thus weaknesses in the inspection process can be overcome. The objective should be to identify flaws in the process – not to assign blame.
- Focus on Prevention – Quality assurance should be about preventing problems from having to be corrected not about finding problems. Quality issues originate during the processes of work specification, production and delivery thus designing processes that prevent problems from occurring are the strongest factors in ensuring quality.
- Strive for Customer Satisfaction – The entire purpose of providing products and services is earning and retaining business. At the heart of quality assurance is the customer. The goal should always be customer satisfaction.