How to Effectively Manage a Quality Assurance Program

Effectively managing a quality assurance program requires an understanding of the differences between quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC), and the ability to combine the two to produce an optimal end product.

Quality assurance is a set of activities providing a degree of certainty that products and services meet specific quality requirements. The objective of quality assurance is developing an environment driving continual improvement in the overall process. A well managed QA program should enhance quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction without neglecting any of these areas.

Quality control focuses more on determining whether an end product, service, or process meets minimum levels of quality, and can be delivered to the customer. QC stresses the quality of the end result while QA focuses on the process.

In laying the foundation for a quality assurance program, the following baseline conditions should exist:

1. Integration and communication between different departments.
2. Defined leadership roles and responsibilities for management.
3. An environment of constant improvement.
4. An ongoing program of education and self-improvement for individuals and groups.

Then, effective management of the QA/QC program must include these success principles.

Maintain a customer-oriented focus. Understand both the current and future needs of customers and the level of quality required to satisfy them.

Establish leadership at all levels. Effective leadership in an organization provides unity of purpose and direction for everyone in the company.

Develop a process approach. Help workers to achieve the desired result by developing systems to get them there.

Require constant improvement. Challenge everyone in the organization to find ways of continually improving over time.

Implement a fact-based decision making approach. Base decisions on real data analysis.

Involve people at all levels. People drive the quality of any organization. Use all available skills and abilities to enhance quality assurance.

By integrating these principles into your QA/QC program, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your available resources.

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