Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What is Quality Assurance?

Quality assurance is the process of verifying or determining whether products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Quality assurance is a process-driven approach with specific steps to help define and attain goals. This process considers design, development, production, and service.

The four quality assurance steps within the PDCA model stand for:
Plan: Establish objectives and processes required to deliver the desired results.
Do: Implement the process developed. 
Check: Monitor and evaluate the implemented process by testing the results against the predetermined objectives
Act: Apply actions necessary for improvement if the results require changes.

PDCA is an effective method for monitoring quality assurance because it analyzes existing conditions and methods used to provide the product or service customers. The goal is to ensure that excellence is inherent in every component of the process. Quality assurance also helps determine whether the steps used to provide the product or service is appropriate for the time and conditions. In addition, if the PDCA cycle is repeated throughout the lifetime of the product or service, it helps improve internal company efficiency.

Quality assurance demands a degree of detail in order to be fully implemented at every step. Planning, for example, could include investigation into the quality of the raw materials used in manufacturing, the actual assembly, or the inspection processes used. The Checking step could include customer feedback, surveys, or other marketing vehicles to determine if customer needs are being exceeded and why they are or are not. Acting could mean a total revision in the manufacturing process in order to correct a technical or cosmetic flaw.
Competition to provide specialized products and services results in breakthroughs as well as long-term growth and change. Quality assurance verifies that any customer offering, regardless if it is new or evolved is produced and offered with the best possible materials, in the most comprehensive way, with the highest standards. The goal to exceed customer expectations in a measurable and accountable process is provided by quality assurance.


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