What is Quality Assurance

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So What is Quality Assurance?

QA is “the planned and systematic order of events that provides assurance regarding the quality of the product or service”.

Quality Assurance is “planning-centric” and focuses on the system as a whole. It defines “what needs to be done to assure quality”. The assurance of quality begins with requirements generation and cascades, in stages, throughout the products or services life-cycle.

Implementing Quality Assurance

The goal of QA is to implement strategies and methodologies that limit the introduction of variation and error into production and service processes. These strategies and methods are documented in a Quality Assurance Plan.

Standards and requirements must be set and data collected and evaluated to "assure" that the expected results are being produced. 

Implementing QA processes creates the Quality Management System. This system of management describes the elements necessary to plan, implement, and assess the effectiveness of QA & QC activities.

A Quality Management System establishes many functions including:

  • Quality management policies and guidelines, 
  • Project and process-specific quality plans, 
  • Criteria for assessing the quality of goods and services,
  • Assessments of the effectiveness of QA & QC activities,
  • And training programs related to quality assurance (system) implementation.


Implementing a QA Process is putting a QA Plan in place to control variation. It does this by implementing standards and requirements.

QA Plans are typically documented procedures. These procedures define the agreed upon best way to accomplish tasks where the resulting output meets or exceeds customer expectations. Customers can be either internal or external.

Prevention vs. Detection

Prevention vs Detection

Quality Assurance Is Prevention - Quality Control Is Detection

QA is the planning that you need to put into place to prevent quality problems from occurring.

Quality, and quality improvement, are critical-to-customer-satisfaction. Without quality business survival is always in jeopardy! Therefore, a key objective of all businesses is to produce consistent and predictable results. Without quality assurance this is impossible!

If all of the bakers in a baking plant each had their individual recipes and methods of baking chocolate chip cookies- it's highly unlikely that the baked cookies would be consistent or predictable. 

Without defined recipes and processes excessive variation will exist leading to inconsistent results. Customers would not know what to expect and will not be satisfied. 

Variation within most business processes is EVIL!

Constant resources must be applied to understand and reduce it. Variation is the cause of inconsistency. If you are not consistent you are unpredictable! Excessive variation is almost always the initiator of a quality improvement event.

Benefits of Quality Assurance

QA allows you to deliver internal benefits to the company and workforce and external benefits to the customer and community.

Increased sales that result from-

  • Workers ability to act with integrity in customer interactions as a result of Management's explicit commitment and support of quality values (Quality Policy: Management Responsibility)
  • Workers ability to refer to good policies and procedures to guide their interactions with customers (Quality System)
  • Workers ability to provide customers with accurate, up-to-date, information on specifications and technical data (Document and Data Control)
  • Workers not promising more than the organization is capable of delivering, through a disciplined approach to getting the customer's requirements right in the beginning (Contract Review)
  • Increased customer satisfaction as a result of better dependability of product and service delivery (Design Control: Purchasing: Process Control: Handling & Storage: Servicing)
  • Increased customer satisfaction as a result of fewer problems with products and services (Inspection & Testing: Inspection & Test Equipment: Control of Non-conforming Material)
  • Increased customer satisfaction as a result of employees ability to respond quickly and reliably to customers' problems (Corrective and Preventive Action : Identification and Traceability)

Reduced costs that result from-

  • Fewer problems and defects to deal with and fix after delivery to the customer, by identifying problems at the earliest possible stage (Receiving, In-process, and Final Inspection & Testing)
  • Reduced waste because of fewer defects, as a result of systematic resolution and analysis of quality-related problems (Corrective and Preventive Action)
  • Less time spent by employees searching for needed information (Document and data Control)

Improved operating efficiency that results from-

  • Better control of supplier inputs to production and service processes (Purchasing: Identification and Traceability)
  • Continual review and refinement of the system and methods resulting from disciplined problem identification and resolution (Corrective and Preventive Action: Quality Records: Statistical Methods)
  • Availability of accurate, reliable, and accessible data and information for analysis (Quality Records)
  • Continual review and refinement of the quality system methods as a result of systematic program of process reviews (Internal Quality Audits)

From Quality Assurance to Free Six Sigma.

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