Before we start our subject, let’s define briefly some key words that will be used in our studies. We will describe quality management, quality assurance as well as quality control. For a better understanding of our subject we will run all these quality types with more details in the next pages. Quality management, used by many companies, has a specific meaning within many business sectors. The quality management doesn’t especially promote a good quality for a firm, but rather to ensure that a product or organization is consistent, can be considered to have four components: quality planning, quality control, quality assurance, and quality improvement. Quality management focuses not only on product or service, but also in the way to achieve it.
Therefore, quality management is using quality assurance and control of processes as well as products to achieve a better quality. We will describe clearly these two types in our subject. However quality assurance known as QA; refers to engineering activities that are implemented in a quality system so that requirements for a product or service will be accomplished. Quality assurance is associated with feedback loop that confers error prevention, systematic measurement, comparison with standard and monitoring of processes. Additionally, there are two principles included in quality management: “Fit for purpose”, the product should be suitable for the intended purpose; “Right first time” mistakes must be eliminated. Quality assurance manage quality of assemblies, product and components, raw materials, production and inspection processes. In the other hand, quality control knows as QC is more general. It is a process by which companies review the quality of all factors involved in production.
This approach can be described on three aspects: 1- Elements such as controls, job management – defined and well managed processes, performance and integrity criteria and identification of records 2- Competence such as knowledge, skills, experience, and qualifications 3- Soft elements such as personnel, integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team spirit, and quality relationships. Controls is also a product inspection, in different way every product is examined visually and often using a stereo microscope for deep details before the product is sold in an external market. Usually inspectors provide lists and descriptions of defected products such as surface blemishes or cracks for instance.
After defining all these terms, we can obviously examine our subject with more details. Let’s start with quality assurance. Remember the basic principle of a quality assurance, is working out the best course of action beforehand and communicating it to all department concerned, applying this concept whenever a planned process is complex. Beyond this, the decision to follow a quality assurance depends on your organization’s decision; however the firm should answer the following questions: * Is your organization prepared to invest time to follow the formal discipline required? * Does the regional law require your organization’s compliance with a specific standard such as pharmaceutical manufacturers?
* Do your customers insist on your organization’s compliance with a standard; (nowadays many companies prefer to deal with supplier with quality assurance certification)? After answering all these questions positively, and making the decision to implement quality assurance. We can start in general way by identifying the tasks, processes or systems critical to the business and writing clearly a guidelines and instructions for employees. Use a guidelines and instructions for training and day-to-day reference. For processes and systems covered will basically reduce: * Wasting time and materials associated with error
* The number of errors;
* The number of problems to fix and customer complaints;
* The time spent on giving day-to-day instructions;
* The time needed to improve processes and systems by establishing a stable base. However, you can also take this general principle of clearly documenting tasks, systems and processes to the next level, by using ISO 9000, which is related to quality management systems and to help organizations assure that they meet the right needs of clients and other stakeholders, while meeting statutory and regulatory requirements related to the product. We could also establish another appropriate quality assurance system code as a model to cover all aspect of quality, using formal discipline for controlling information accuracy, and reviewing and improving systems. Therefore quality assurance is deeply involved in any commercial product, from MP3 players, to children’s toys, to video games.
A specialist needs to test and use almost all items you buy. Is not performed by one person but by a group of people, and it has many level of testing, from the minute, testing tiny pieces of code, to the gigantic, testing the final products. In United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal and states regulatory agencies have instituted rules and regulations regarding manufacturing practices and products. In large measure, it is the responsibility of the quality assurance department to maintain compliance with these regulations. After all, companies using quality assurance get benefice from it.
This system basically increases customers’ confidence and companies’ credibility, which very important nowadays in the current market. Improving work processes and efficiency will definitely enable to better compete with other competitors and increase earnings. Today’s quality assurance systems emphasize catching defects before they get into the final product. The quality assurance team uses a popular tool commonly called PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) to evaluate and determine excellence and provide improvement. The principle is, once a hypothesis is negated, beginning and implementing the cycle again will further extend knowledge, bringing about perfect output and operation within the company. In the other hand, quality control is similar to, but not identical with quality assurance. As described before, it is a procedure or set of procedures intended to ensure that a manufactured product or performed service adheres to a defined set of quality requirements or meets the needs of the clients and/or customers. In order to install an effective quality control program, the firm must first decide which specific standards the service and/or product must meet.
Then the extent of quality control actions must be determined – for instance, the percentage of units should be tested from each lot. After that, the real-world data must be collected – the percentage of unit that fail, and the result should be reported correctly to the management personnel. Next, the corrective actions take place and decided upon and taken – defective units must be repaired or rejected, and service repeated at no charge until the costumers are satisfied. In some companies, if too many failures or instances of poor service happen, the plan must be devised to improve the production process and then that plan must be put into action. However, quality control process must be ongoing to assure the remedial effort by producing satisfactory results, and immediately detecting recurrences or new instances of trouble.
The quality of product or service is ensuring if proper designing process is followed. This designing process needs to be back by an appropriate process design which confirm to requirement of customers. Quality control also ensures error and defects are prevented and finally deleted from the process of production. However, quality control should include: Planning, designing, implementation, gaps identification and improvisation. The benefits from an organization which is implementing a stringent quality control are as follow: * Reducing product defects lead to less variable cost associated with labor and material; * Increase in employee motivation and awareness of quality; * Increase in productivity and overall efficiency.
* Reduction in wastage, scrap and pollution;
* Ability to produce quality products over longer period of time; * With quality maintenance needs for inspection reduces leading to decrease in maintenance cost; * And finally ensure customers satisfaction;
However the quality of any giving product and service determines success of failure of the company. All consumers expect the company to maintain high-level of quality and consider it one of the most important aspect of satisfaction. Therefore, quality management becomes very important as far as any organization is concerned.
It can be accomplished through various quality control techniques. Quality assurance and quality control are objectively oriented and can be achieved through statistical quality control. Quality reviews are conducted to gather evidence on whether or not standards are being met. An effective quality review is a team effort involving several roles. The three most important roles will be given different names depending on the type of organization, but can generally be described as the creator, the reviewer and the manager.
1- Wikipedia.com: Quality Management, Quality assurance and Quality control 2- Whatls.com: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/quality-control-QC 3- Asq.org: http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/quality-assurance-quality-control/overview/overview.html 4- C2.com: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?QualityAssuranceIsNotQualityControl 5- Hci.com: