What Is Quality Assurance? (And How To Improve Your Process)
Updated October 17, 2022
Ensuring you're delivering a quality product or service to your customers can help you build your customer relationships and confidence in your brand. Quality assurance is an important component of a business' operations, and improving quality assurance can lead to many benefits for your company.
Understanding how to improve quality assurance and why it's important can help you adjust your quality assurance process and raise your brand awareness and loyalty, which could help you increase sales. In this article, we define quality assurance, explore why it's important and provide steps for improving your quality assurance processes.
What is quality assurance?
Quality assurance is a review process that determines whether a product or service a business produces meets the desired quality standards of the customer and the company. It focuses on how a company works through its processes and seeks to create an environment to ensure those processes create consistent, high-level products.
Examples of quality assurance can be project audits and process checklists or documentation. Quality assurance processes can help protect a company from liability and improve the trust between a customer and a business by ensuring the business sells high-quality items.
Read more: Guide to Quality Assurance
How does quality assurance differ from quality control?
Quality assurance and quality control have some similarities because they're both part of a company's quality management processes, but they each play different roles within it.
Quality assurance focuses on how your company makes a specific product or performs a certain process. This makes it more involved with the systems of production to prevent defects and ensure operations run as intended.
Quality control is a subset of quality assurance that's more focused on the inspection of products, checking them for defects and ensuring they comply with quality standards.
For example, quality assurance for a vehicle manufacturer would look at the practices and methods the company uses to produce parts to make sure the company is using its resources efficiently and has a reliable system for ensuring it produced effective results. Quality control would, then, look at the products the company makes to ensure they meet the company's quality standards and are good enough to sell.
Importance of quality assurance
Quality assurance can be extremely important to a business and has a large impact on its success. Some benefits of having a strong quality assurance system are:
Quality assurance processes help the business keep its production methods and its final products safe. Safe products help ensure no customers get hurt while using the product, which can reduce the company's legal liability and provide a usable, trustworthy product for consumers. Safe products can help build buyer confidence and convince prospective customers to make a purchase.
Having a high-quality, safe product for consumers can help a business gain customer trust, which could lead to it having an advantage over market competitors.
If someone is shopping for an umbrella because the one they had from your competitor broke, they might be more willing to buy from your company if they think yours has a better chance of lasting longer.
Having a competitive advantage in a market can make a company become synonymous with a product, which could lead to it becoming synonymous with its product as the business' reputation grows.
Internal reviews and improvements
Quality assurance processes allow a business to review its internal production processes consistently and create improvements in products and production methods. With consistent reviews, the company can focus resources on minimizing waste, enhancing the quality and improving the overall efficiency of production. This can reduce production costs and maximize the company's profits. Internal reviews also can identify and resolve errors before they become disruptive to production efforts.
Setting clear expectations helps a business define its relationship with its employees and customers. Quality assurance practices help a business establish base expectations for production staff by defining what a final product should look like and how it should function.
These practices also help customers learn what to expect from a company. With quality assurance practices, a company can guarantee the quality of its products and help customers learn to expect only the highest quality products from the business.
How to improve quality assurance
Improving quality assurance can help a business improve its reputation and attract new customers while establishing trust with current customers. Here are some steps for improving your company's quality assurance process:
1. Define your quality standards
Defining quality standards for your business can let your employee and customers know what to expect from your products and the level of performance you strive to meet. Setting clear quality standards can help everyone in the company understand what the product should look like and what processes to use to get it there.
It also helps define the customers' expectations by establishing a level of quality and functionality for each product. Quality standards provide a benchmark for any quality testing and can maintain the consistency of production.
2. Perform frequent reviews
With strong quality standards in place, you can perform frequent reviews and tests on your products and their production methods. Consider each aspect of the product's construction, its assembly process and where you can make improvements.
You can also create tests for specific quality assurances, such as for one feature of one product. For example, if you want to test the functionality of one feature of your mobile application, you can compare the results of that test against the original quality assurance expectations to see how much it's improved.
3. Update your production processes
As you review your production process, you may discover areas where you can improve and become more efficient. Consider addressing these problems quickly to keep production moving and ensure future products continue to meet quality standards.
You might find you can update the production methods you're using to create more consistency in your product, for example. Keeping your systems updated can also reduce the amount of maintenance they require, which can save the company money.
4. Listen to customer feedback
While it's important to look internally for quality assurance solutions, you also can consider external feedback from your customers. Customers typically tell a business whether they like its products through social media reviews, company website feedback, emails or other channels.
Reading and understanding your customer reviews can help you enhance your quality assurance process from a customer perspective. Try to look for patterns in your reviews to see whether you can update or change any specific features of a product.
5. Automate specific processes
Automation can help improve the quality and consistency of a production process by reducing human error. For example, if you automate the packaging process on an assembly line, you can increase production speeds, improve labeling consistency and ensure proper packaging for each product. Consider automation for any processes that you think can save the company time and money by reducing the need for human input.
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