Quality assurance refers to assurance given to consumers that the product, parts, components and services which he is buying or investing in contain the promised features or characteristics. Quality Assurance implies that the process used to manufacture a product or deliver a service is tried and tested and it is fit for intended use.
Steps taken to ensure quality assurance:
- Quality specifications: The specific features are established. Then the product is designed to meet these specifications.
- Quality inspections:Testing and inspections are regularly done at every stage of manufacture. Raw materials, parts, equipment and qualified personnel are all selected according to quality guidelines.
- Quality evaluation: Follow up and evaluation is done to measure the degree of effectiveness and efficiency of a product.
Deviations from quality:
There are many causes which may cause deviation from the quality or the product may be lacking in the feature(s) described. The variations may occur due to a chance such as a slight malfunction of the machinery and are negligible. Assignable causes of variation enter the production system or process undetected and cause losses. They occur due to negligence or oversight on part of technicians or faults in the machines.
Quality control ensures that the product or service meets the design specifications and safety guidelines. It also helps in maintaining discipline and unity among the employees. It reduces the quantity of scrap, waste and the degree of spoilage during production.
Quality control audits are conducted in the company by an external agency. Majority of the big corporations hold quality control orientation and training
Quality is controlled at various stages of production.
- At the design and conception stage: The product is designed according to the specifications laid out while conceiving the product. The standard of the product is predetermined before the start of production.
- At the purchasing stage: The raw materials and components purchased meet the quality standards. They are examined and inspected carefully for flaws and defects.
- At the production stage: The stage where raw materials are converted into finished products is the longest and most exhaustive. Supervisors and quality department has to make sure that the processes involved, equipment and personnel expertise all deliver on quality.
Methods used to assure the quality of a product or service:
- Inspection method: Product samples are inspected for quality.
- Statistical quality control method
- Automated control method.
Inspection method involves the inspection and testing of raw materials, product parts, tools for the specified quality standards. It also oversees the maintenance and upkeep of tools and machines and storage of finished product.
Statistical quality control is done by checking the outputs of a process. It is the application of statistical method of sampling to ensure that the production is under control and issue warning when it goes out of line and take remedial steps. The process average is decided first. The warning and action limits are set according to the quality specifications. This method is useful to control the quality of production processes being followed.
It is a graph in which the results or outcome of quality inspection is depicted. It consists of parallel lines drawn on a graph paper. The X axis shows the sample tested for quality. The Y axis shows the range of quality. The centre most line at quality average 5 means that the process is exactly following the specified guidelines for quality. The upper crest at quality average 6 depicts the upper limit and a lower trough at quality average 3 shows the lower limit depicts the expected dimensions of length, width, diameter etc of the product. The upper line denotes the upper control limit and the bottom line means the lower control limit
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