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Quality Assurance

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Business Studies

Give them quality. That’s the best kind of advertising."

- Milton Hersey

Quality assurance assists organisations in fulfilling the demands and expectations of clients. An organisation that offers high quality to customers builds trust. This advantage makes the business competitive in the market. If quality assurance is done properly, it will offer confidence and allow the organisation to market their products with less uncertainty. So, what exactly is quality assurance? What are its processes? And what is the difference between quality assurance and quality control?

Quality assurance definition

Quality assurance (QA) determines and maintains given specifications for developing and producing reliable products. QA systems are aimed to boost customer confidence and an organisation’s credibility, while enhancing work processes and proficiency, thereby enabling the organisation to better compete with its rivals.

Quality assurance is any systematic process of making sure that a product/service fulfils the given requirements.

Quality assurance process

The four stages of quality assurance are as follows:

Stage 1: PLAN

In this first crucial stage, a quality assurance technician or manager will determine clear-cut goals to produce high-quality products and suggest suitable processes to execute those objectives. At this stage, the business can predict any potential problems.

Stage 2: Do

As the name suggests, this stage allows the implementation of the processes identified in the previous phase. Variations and tests can be done prior to the collection of data to determine their efficacy. These tests need to be done on a smaller and controllable scale.

Stage 3: Check

The outcomes of the aforementioned variations are evaluated and a comparison made with expected results to deduce similarities and differences. Analysis of such data will assist in identifying whether the products fulfil expectations and requirements. If they do match expectations then quality assurance experts will go ahead with the final stage. However, if expectations are not matched, then the experts will go back to the initial stage.

Stage 4: Act/Adjust

In this stage, it is time to take post-research action and apply modifications to the project. Undeniably, nothing guarantees that there will be no new problems in the execution stage. Should they arise, this cycle can be reiterated to make quality improvements.

Quality assurance methods

In order to make sure that the quality assurance process works well, certain important tools and methods are usually used:

Quality Assurance: Identifying processes

The act of defining organisational processes and standards plays a significant role in the initial stage of a project. These processes will steer the development team onto the right path.

Quality Assurance: Quality audit

This systematic method is applied in determining how the outlined processes and standards perform in the development and design period.

Quality Assurance: Control charts

Quality assurance engineers usually use control charts to view process changes, then assess if they are stable in comparison to historical data. In addition, these charts provide a foundation for predicting potential results and ascertaining whether a project should make basic alterations or avoid specific problems.

Quality Assurance: Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a common quality improvement tool that utilizes major performance metrics to find the strengths and weaknesses of procedures.

Benchmarking involves comparing the organisation's performance with industry or market standards.

Benchmarking also evaluates prevailing processes in comparison to that of rivals/historic data and hence assists quality assurance experts in recommending suitable actions for improving quality.

Quality Assurance: Cause and effect diagrams

Cause and effect diagrams, also called Fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams, require members to brainstorm and outline all the possible causes of a problem.

Quality assurance example

The following is the example of quality assurance in manufacturing:

Quality Assurance: Manufacturing

Quality assurance in manufacturing involves averting errors and imperfections in products/services. Some instances of quality assurance employed in manufacturing involve inspections to check the quality of the facilities and products. Others may involve process planning, checklists, and audits to oversee whether the production fulfils requirements.

The main principles of Toyota’s quality assurance system include ‘customer first’ and ‘quality first'. These principles were formed when the organisation was established. The aim of the quality assurance team is to make sure that each vehicle that comes out of any of their worldwide factories fulfils the organisation’s high standards for safety and quality. There are around 2000 checks performed on every vehicle prior to signing it off as ready for delivery.

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of an intelligent effort."

- John Ruskin, Philosopher

Quality assurance vs quality control

The following table shows the difference between quality assurance and quality control.

Quality control is a process via which an organisation makes sure that the quality of the product is maintained or enhanced. It comprises testing units and ascertaining whether requirements for the finished product are met.

Quality assurance

Quality control

The objective of QA is to avoid defects.

The objective of QC is the identification and improvement of the defects.

QA is a method to manage quality.

QC is a technique for the verification of quality.

QA does not include the execution of the program.

QC always includes the execution of the program.

QA for instance: verification

QC for instance: validation

QA ensures that the right thing is being done.

QC ensures the results of what is being done are what is anticipated.

Over time, organisations have acknowledged the importance of quality assurance. Every organisation wants to deliver the best possible high-quality product to its customers. Quality assurance assists organisations in achieving this, thereby facilitating a loyal customer base.

Quality Assurance - Key takeaways

  • Quality assurance (QA) assists organisations in fulfilling the demands and expectations of the clients.

  • Quality assurance is a systematic process of ascertaining whether a product/service fulfils the given requirements.

  • QA systems are aimed to boost customer confidence and an organisation’s credibility, while enhancing work processes and proficiency, and facilitating the organisation to better compete with its rivals.

  • The quality assurance process includes planning, doing, checking, and acting/adjusting.

  • Quality assurance methods include quality audits, control charts, benchmarking, and cause and effect diagrams.

  • Quality control is a process by which an organisation makes sure that the quality of the product is maintained or enhanced. It is comprised of testing units, making sure the products are within the range of requirements for the finished product.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is any systematic process of ascertaining if a product/service fulfills the given requirements.

Quality assurance makes sure that the finished product observes the organisation’s quality requirements.

Quality planning, quality assurance, quality control, and continuous improvement.

Quality assurance activities example involve process checklists, process standards, process documentation, and project audit.

The quality assurance objective is to avoid defects and manage quality. Whereas, quality control is the identification and improvement of the defects. It is a technique for the verification of quality.

Final Quality Assurance Quiz

Question

What is meant by quality? 

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Answer

In business, quality refers to the products or services that meet or exceed consumers expectations.

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Question

What is the first step business should perform before starting to measure quality?

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Answer

Before businesses can start to measure the quality of a product or service they need to set targets/standards that will be aimed to achieve. These set standards should meet or exceed consumers expectations.

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Question

What is meant by setting quality targets?

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Answer

Businesses set quality targets that they will be aiming to achieve when measuring the quality of products or services. Set targets can highly vary depending on the nature of a business. 

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Question

Can you give an example on setting quality targets? 

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Answer

For example, the bank may set targets regarding the timings on how long it takes to answer consumers calls as well as support customers with an issue. 

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Question

What are the quality measurement methods that involve employees? 

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Answer

The quality measurement method done by employees involves staff themselves checking the quality of products.

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Question

What are the quality measurement methods that involve customers?

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Answer

The quality measurement methods that involve customers include:

  • Placing customer service telephone numbers on the back of the product's packaging, 
  • Sending feedback surveys
  • Encouraging consumers to complain wherever they are not satisfied with a product or service.

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Question

What are the quality measurement methods that involve mystery shoppers?

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Answer

The mystery shopper method of quality measurement involves paying a visitor to test the service and evaluate its quality. 

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Question

What are the consequences that may occur due to quality problems?

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Answer

The common consequences that may occur due to quality issues are:

  • Costs of a product recall, 
  • Expenses for faulty products replacement, 
  • Faulty products will go to waste and this can increase waste management costs, 
  • Additional expenses and no profit if there is no demand for a bad quality product, 
  • Bad quality products/services can cause consumer dissatisfaction and no-repeat purchases, 
  • Extra costs may be involved if someone sues the business.

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Question

What does the quality measurement method that involves mystery shoppers includes?

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Answer

This method involves a paid visitor (mystery shopper) to test the service and evaluate its quality. It is usually used by larger businesses to see if the branch's service quality meets set benchmarks.

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Question

What businesses should do to maintain the quality of their products and services? 

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Answer

To maintain the quality of products and services businesses should do the following:

  • Train employees and discuss with them how to improve quality,
  • Ensure that suppliers supply materials meeting business's standards, 
  • Invest in equipment and track products quality at every stage of the production process.

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Question

What is meant by Total Quality Management (TQM)?

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Answer

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a quality control or measurement method which makes sure that the maximum quality is maintained at every stage in the production process.

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Question

What are the key quality improvement costs/investments? 

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Answer

The key quality improvement costs/investments are:

  • Investing in staff, 
  • Quality control 
  • Selecting the best suppliers.

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Question

What are the key benefits of improved quality?

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Answer

The key benefits of improved quality are: 

  • Charging more for a product or service, 
  • Improved company image,
  • Increased consumers loyalty, 
  • Businesses can save money as they do not have to recall bad products.

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Question

What is meant by the costs of products' recall?

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Answer

if the products are sold to customers that have issues in their quality they need to be returned and the business must pay compensation to customers regarding that. 

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Question

What can be the consequences if consumers are dissatisfied due to products' quality?

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Answer

Products that consumers bought and have bad quality may make them dissatisfied and not want to buy not only the product from the company but also the brand.

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Question

Define quality assurance.


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Answer

Quality assurance is any systematic process of ascertaining if a product/service fulfills the given requirements.

Show question

Question

How does quality assurance assist organisations?


Show answer

Answer

Quality assurance assists organisations to fulfill the demands and expectations of the clients.

Show question

Question

What is the benefit of offering high-quality products?


Show answer

Answer

An organisation that offers high quality to customers will build trust which will eventually make you competitive in the market.

Show question

Question

What does quality assurance determine?


Show answer

Answer

Quality assurance determines and maintains given specifications for developing and producing reliable products. 

Show question

Question

What is quality control aimed at?


Show answer

Answer

QA systems are aimed to boost customer confidence and an organisation’s credibility, whilst enhancing work processes and proficiency, and facilitating the organisation to better compete with its rivals.

Show question

Question

What happens in the planning stage of quality assurance?


Show answer

Answer

In the planning stage, a quality assurance technician will determine clear-cut goals to produce high-quality products and suggest suitable processes to execute those objectives.

Show question

Question

What happens in the act/adjust stage of the quality assurance process?


Show answer

Answer

In this stage, it is time to take action on what the technicians have explored and apply modifications to the project.

Show question

Question

When is quality audit applied?


Show answer

Answer

This systematic method is applied in determining how the outlined processes and standards perform in the development and design period.

Show question

Question

How do control charts help?


Show answer

Answer

It provides a foundation to predict the potential results and ascertain if a project should make basic alterations or avoid specific problems.

Show question

Question

How does benchmarking help?


Show answer

Answer

Benchmarking is a prevalent quality improvement tool that utilizes major performance metrics to find the strengths and weaknesses of the procedures.  It also evaluates prevailing processes with that of the rivals/historic data and hence assists the quality assurance experts to recommend suitable actions for improving the quality.

Show question

Question

What are cause and effect diagrams also called?


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Answer

Cause and effect diagrams are also called Fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams.

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Question

What does a cause-and-effect diagram do?


Show answer

Answer

The cause-and-effect diagram method needs the members to brainstorm with the aim to outline all the possible causes of the problem.

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Question

What is quality control?


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Answer

Quality control: is a process via which an organisation makes sure that the quality of the product is maintained or enhanced.

Show question

Question

Which of the following are true?


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Answer

All of the above

Show question

Question

define quality 

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Answer

Quality refers to the ability of a product or rendered service to contain all necessary features or characteristics needed to properly satisfy customer wants. 

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Question

 How do you identify a quality product.


A product that satisfy customers wants

 A product at market standard 

 A product containing necessary features and characteristics 

 All of the above 

Show answer

Answer

All of the Above 

Show question

Question

 in reaching the intended quality target, businesses should plan and monitor their activities from production stages to delivery stages, true or false?

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Provide a quality target example for airlines 


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Answer

 Airlines can also direct their targets towards getting more planes to take off on time to reduce time spent delaying passengers, making available a customer quality rating system for a flight, and reducing the amount of missing passengers bags.

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Question

How does hospitality businesses measure quality through mystery customers or new customers


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Answer

Hospitality businesses such as hotels and some restaurants measure quality by bringing in an outsider to use the product or service rendered and provide a service quality rating. This is mostly done without the knowledge of staff, so an unbiased or unprovoked outsider view can be gotten by the business.

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Question

Explain quality control 


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Answer

Involves regular inspection of products for faults. It checks for faults during production processes, identifies them, isolates them and solves them.

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Question

Give three benefits of maintaining quality in business 


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Answer

benefits of maintaining quality in business includes

  • Maintaining consistent quality saves businesses financial loss that can be incurred due to faulty products in the market.

  • Maintaining consistent quality in business improves the business public image and reputation

  • It also helps businesses generate more revenue by increasing the price of their product or services which customers will pay for because they believe the business is reliable.

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Question

Consistent quality can be obtained in business activities through:


Quality control 

Staff training 

Products regular inspection 

All of the above 

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Answer

Show question

Question

Maintaining quality in business can improve customer retention, true or false 


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Answer

True

Show question

Question

What is Quality?

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Answer

Quality is the value of a product in relation to their purpose and attributes

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Question

The following are possible ways to identify quality problems; consumers, staff, managers

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Answer

true

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Question

Which of the following does not highlight a quality problem?

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Answer

High product returns

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Question

The ISO 9000 is an international organisation on standardisation that aids to ensure quality

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Quality control is different from quality assurance

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Quality control is a set of procedures used to inspect factors used in the production process

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Answer

True

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Question

Quality assurance is conducted after production to ensure the product meets the standards

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Brand reputation is a benefit of maintaining and improving quality

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

The following are all benefits of maintaining and improving quality except

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Answer

Customer loyalty

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Question

The following are consequences of poor quality except

Show answer

Answer

Consumer dissatisfaction

Show question

Question

What it Total Quality Management (TQM)

Show answer

Answer

Total quality management is an approach to quality management that focuses on prevention of poor quality

Show question

Question

Cost of inspection is a cost businesses can incur when maintaining quality

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

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