Quality assurance in its broadest form can be defined as the set of actions that companies take in order to be able to deliver goods and services to consumers with the expected level of quality.
Applying a quality assurance system generates confidence and assurance to companies that their products will meet the appropriate conditions of expected quality. Consequently, for this purpose they apply quality standards under a system that allows organization, direction and control within the entire process that is developed.
It can also be said that quality assurance is an audit that verifies that quality standards are met, that is, it controls that all the minimum requirements expected in the product are met.
Then, for companies to comply with quality assurance, it is necessary that they follow a line of actions that are previously planned, systematized and finally implemented as a set of standards that the company has to follow.
However, quality assurance requires that all processes be documented; both the planning, the determination of tasks and responsibilities, the recording of the results and all the inspection mechanisms that are applied within each company.
How quality assurance came about
In reality, quality assurance initially emerged as an important element in companies’ production operations during the 1920s.
Since, Walter Shewhart, who was one of the first to develop control charts, is considered to be the initiators of this system. Similarly to Harold Dodge who developed sampling techniques and George Edwards with his contribution of economic analysis techniques to solve problems.
So, these three characters formulated new inspection methods and theories focused on maintaining and making quality improvements, this they did when they were transferred from the Western Electric company inspection department to Bell Telephone Laborotories; These contributions are considered the basis of what is known as quality assurance.
What is quality assurance used for?
Quality assurance is applied to achieve continuous improvement and with this the following benefits are obtained:
1. Avoid waste and reduce costs
On the one hand, avoiding the occurrence of waste is achieved because the assurance system allows the productivity of the company to be improved, because it allows it to better focus on the achievement of the objectives and on what customers expect about the quality of the product. product.
In addition, waste can be reduced or eliminated, because it is possible to identify those activities that only increase costs and do not provide value to the process, in the same way this favors the achievement of efficiency.
2. Improved quality and customer satisfaction
Likewise, continuous improvement achieves improvements in the quality of the products delivered to the customer, which gives the necessary confidence that the desired quality is being achieved and is being maintained, because everything is documented and certified.
Consequently, the company will achieve satisfied customers, which encourages them to increase their purchase frequency and recommend the products to other people, generating higher sales income and, of course, higher profits.
Components of the quality assurance system
The quality assurance system has the following components:
1. Administration manual
Of course, a project management manual includes the important data that must be considered to be used in the quality management plan of each company, so specific procedures are defined to achieve the objectives in a particular way for each organization.
2. Quality control measures
Of course, quality control measures allow establishing the degree or level of quality achieved in each activity that is evaluated within the process. Criteria such as performance within established deadlines, compliance in the execution of budgets, frequency of appearance of errors or defects within the process, among some that could be mentioned, can be used.
3. Reports on achieved performance
On the other hand, the reports of achieved performance should be made periodically throughout the development of the different parts of the project, because this will allow monitoring how all activities are being carried out and avoid higher costs, if only the final process is inspected.
Above all, it is possible to evaluate if times are being met, based on the schedules already prepared, the course of the delivery process, technical performance and any activity that involves costs.
Development and implementation of quality assurance
In order to develop and implement a quality assurance system, the following should be considered:
1. Leadership conviction
Therefore, for a quality assurance system to be successful, it is important that company managers are fully convinced of the benefits that will be obtained with its implementation so that they support and contribute to the adoption of the system.
2. Choose the system and communicate it at all levels
So, the quality assurance model that will be used by the company must be chosen; but this information must be communicated to all the members of the group that make up the company, so that they all commit to seek the achievement of the objectives
3. Choose a person who will be responsible for the implementation
Therefore, it is important to choose a person who assumes command as the person responsible for carrying out the entire process of development and implementation of the project and then this person will appoint a quality committee, which will be made up of suitable people who form the team of work that will be in charge of carrying out the tasks within the execution of the project.
So, this group of people are in charge of coordinating from the beginning, reviewing and approving the quality manual, establishing procedures, forming the work team and conducting periodic reviews until the final result is reached.
Finally, on some occasions it will be necessary to seek external advice in order to carry out the implementation of the system in its entirety.
In conclusion, we can affirm that the quality assurance system brings many benefits to companies, especially in reducing costs, in delivering products of the expected quality and above all in ensuring that their customers are satisfied. Since this system allows the documentation of processes to maintain the delivery of products and services with the expected quality, it must always be continuously reviewed and periodically updated, because continuous improvement must always be sought.