WHAT IS QUALITY ASSURANCE?
Quality Assurance refers to any system or process aimed at maintaining a desired level of quality in a service, especially by means of attention to every stage of the process of delivery. Quality Assurance entails systems or processes of determining whether a product or service meets specified requirements. QA establishes and maintains set requirements for developing or manufacturing reliable products.
The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is used to ensure QA practices and processes used to implement it. ISO 9000 is used to ensure that quality assurance system is in place and effective.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF QUALITY ASSURANCE?
Quality assurance plays a crucial role in business by ensuring that products meet certain thresholds of acceptability. There is need for planning, direction or coordination of quality assurance programs and formulation of quality control policies. The resultant factor being improvement in an organization's efficiency by reducing activities.
You can think of quality assurance as the activities and management processes that are done to ensure that services and products are delivered at the required quality level. The process is driven and focused on the delivery of the service or product.
Quality assurance is a way of preventing mistakes, defects and avoiding problems when delivering services or products to clients; which ISO 9000 defines as "part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled".
ISO/IEC 17020 specifies requirements for the competence of bodies performing inspection and for the impartiality and consistency of their inspection activities. The standard defines criteria for assurance of quality in the operation of organisations who perform inspection.
ISO17020, is an internationally recognized standard for the competence of inspection bodies. ISO 17020 should not be confused with ISO 9001, which is specific to quality management systems.
The ZCSA adheres to these international standards when it conducts its inspections in imports and domestic products.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF QUALITY ASSURANCE?
The benefits of quality assurance include:
- Costs are reduced because there is less wastage and re-working at different stages of service delivery as the process is checked at every stage.
- It can help improve worker motivation as workers have more ownership and recognition for their work
- Departmental heads can use it to manage processes
HOW DO YOU PERFORM QUALITY ASSURANCE?
Quality Assurance is the process of auditing the quality requirements and the results from quality control measurements to ensure that appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used. The key benefit of this process is that it facilitates the improvement of quality.
WHY DOES YOUR ORGANISATION NEED A QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAM?
Any failure in the system may result in long-term fallout: loss of confidence in service delivery, several lawsuits, and an erosion of the organisations credibility among the public. All this can be avoided if more attention is paid to quality assurance.
Create quality culture
Quality Culture can be defined as comprising three layers:
i. Quality Assurance is the first layer. It is an accumulated body of standards, regulations, and best practices that the organisation is to use to assess its processes on an ongoing basis.
ii. The second layer is a Quality Plan that lays out a set of standards, regulations, and procedures that the organisation is to follow, as well as the organisational goals and any expected risks.
iii. Finally, there is a Quality Control layer, which involves monitoring the development teams to ensure that they are adhering to Quality Assurance requirements and the Quality Plan.