Quality assurance (QA)

In order to ensure that a product or service meets specified requirements, they undergo a systematic process, these are known as Quality assurance (QA); these are able to establish and maintain the set requirements for developing or manufacturing products. A quality assurance system is designed to increase the given company’s credibility whilst also increasing the confidence of the customers purchase. Not only this a QA will improve the working processes and efficiency, whilst enabling the ability to compete better with others.

One of the main forces in place to drive the practices and mapping processes used for implementation of a QA is the international organisation for standardisation (ISO), QA is frequently compared to the ISO 9000 international standard, which is used by many companies to ensure that the effectiveness of their quality assurance system.

Quality assurance originated within the manufacturing industry but has since grow to most industries, such as software development.

Importance of quality assurance

One of the quality assurances main purposes is to aid a company in creating both products and services, that successfully meet their customers needs, requirements, and expectations, through this it ensures products of high quality and so allow the ability for companies to develop trust and loyalty with their customers. Through the procedures and standards set out by a quality assurance program, product defects are prevented before they have arisen.

Quality assurance methods

Quality assurance uses three main methods these are:

Failure testing, this consists of products being tested consciously in order to evaluate if it breaks or fails. The testing can range from testing physical products under heat, vibration, or pressure. However, for software products the testing process is consists of placing the software in high usage or load conditions.

The second process is statistical process control (SPC), this has been developed by Walter Shewhart in the 1920s and 1930s. the process is a methodology based on objective data and analysis, using statistical methods in order to control and manage the products production.

The third and final method is TQM (total quality management), this uses quantitative methods as the basis for continuous improvements. However, the TQM method is heavily reliant of data, facts, and analysis in order to support the planning and performance reviews of the product.

QA vs. QC

One of the biggest confusions that comes with quality assurance is the term quality control (QC). These two concepts both share many similar characteristics however they also have important distinctions between them.

Quality assurance has the responsibility of providing companies with over guidelines to be used anywhere, and ensuring a product meets the specified requirements. For software development QA practices hope to prevent malfunctioning codes or products. In comparison to this quality control is focused on the processes of production, and investigates into other issues such as individual inspection. In terms of software QC will fix codes and implement testing.

The team at ISA Business Development & Support can provide quality assurance training. They can help implement your quality assurance management system from your initial enquiry to your final certification and certificate received from a UKAS* approved certification company. ISA’s quality assurance support includes internal and supplier auditing, training and business improvement including 5S and customer satisfaction analysis. Find out more here.

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