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What is Quality Assurance ?

 

This is the text of an article published by Peter Griffin

WHAT IS QUALITY ASSURANCE ?

The official definition is:-

"ALL THOSE PLANNED AND SYSTEMATIC ACTIONS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE CONFIDENCE THAT A PRODUCT OR SERVICE WILL SATISFY GIVEN REQUIREMENTS FOR QUALITY"

This definition does not expand the understanding of the term Quality Assurance, and the accepted meaning could be expressed by the definition:-

"THE ABILITY TO DEMONSTRATE CONSISTENT COMPLIANCE WITH REQUIREMENTS"

The requirements are those specified by the customer, or for the purposes of external recognition, those specified by the Standard for Quality Systems, ISO9000.

ISO9000 specifies the minimum requirements for a Quality Assurance system, this can be extended to achieve greater improvements in efficiency and profitability by "Cost Effective Quality Management".

Quality Assurance is repeating good performance on every contract by the use of a system of documented procedures which are known, understood and operated by all personnel. These procedures are used when no other criteria are specified by the Customer. Obviously, Customer specified criteria must take precedence if satisfaction is to be achieved, and in these circumstances a degree of liability is assumed by the Customer.

Quality Assurance has developed over a long period from more traditional Quality Control activities like final inspection and test. If an item is rejected at the final stage of a process it represents a large investment which cannot be sold to the Customer, and rectification at this stage is expensive, difficult, and fully visible to the Customer.

Quality Assurance offers control at each stage of the process such that it becomes very difficult to create a reject. If faults exist, they are identified and corrected prior to any further value being added.

Editor's Notes

Peter Griffin is managing consultant of P Griffin & Associates (PGA); one of the leading quality management consultancies operating in Europe and the USA.

P Griffin & Associates have assisted 260 companies (ranging from 3 employees to multi-national corporations) to achieve improvements in quality and ISO9000 Registration.

While the majority of companies fail to achieve ISO9000 certification at the first attempt, 98% of PGA's quality assurance clients have achieved first-time success.

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Last Updated November 19, 1995
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