What is Quality Assurance?

Definition: Quality assurance is a set of steps, measures and policies implemented to ensure a high quality output. In other words, it is a systematic practice that aims to achieve top quality within all the processes of given organization.

What Does Quality Assurance Mean?

Quality assurance (QA) is an ongoing activity implemented in all processes involved in the production of any good or service. The goal of QA is to achieve the highest quality level possible. The term is often confused with quality control, which is a gap analysis that evaluates expected final output quality vs. actual quality. Quality assurance deals with each step of the process to identify possible deviations in each stage.

Since each stage has its own output the final result will be enhanced if each stage’s output is enhanced. Companies can optimize their QA processes by following the ISO 9000 guidelines. These are principles developed by the International Organization for Standardization that assist companies to redesign its processes to increase the quality of its outputs. This is not only applicable to manufacturing processes, it also applies to internal administrative processes, since they also produce outputs that are used by other departments and they have an indirect impact in the overall quality of the company’s products or services.

Example

Crazy Socks LLC is a new startup company created to sell different models of high-fashion socks to high-income customers. The company was founded by a girl that has a vast experience in designing but no experience in production processes. In order to manufacture high quality socks she hired an external consultant to help her assess the company’s suppliers properly. After reviewing five different potential suppliers, the consultant advised her to pick a company called Fabric Leaders Co., since the company has an ISO 9001 quality assurance certification.

This company implements different quality assurance policies within each stage of the manufacturing process, they review the fabrics thoroughly, and they use the best sawing machinery and top quality thread. Each pair of sock manufactured goes through four different quality assurance stages before they are labeled and shipped and the company has an awesome reputation for being one of the top quality suppliers in the United States.