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Quality Assurance

Best Quality

Quality assurance, or QA for short, is the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service or facility to maximize the probability that minimum standards of quality are being attained by the production process. QA cannot absolutely guarantee the production of quality products. Two principles included in QA are: "Fit for purpose" - the product should be suitable for the intended purpose; and "Right first time" - mistakes should be eliminated. QA includes regulation of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components, services related to production, and management, production and inspection processes. Quality is determined by the product users, clients or customers, not by society in general. It is not the same as 'expensive' or 'high quality'. Low priced products can be considered as having high quality if the product users determine them as such. Quality Control is the process of verifying or determining whether products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Quality assurance is a process-driven approach with specific steps to help define and attain goals. This process considers design, development, production, and service. The most popular tool used to determine quality assurance is the Shewhart Cycle, developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming. This cycle for quality assurance consists of four steps: Plan, Do, Check, and Act. These steps are commonly abbreviated as PDCA. PDCA is an effective method for monitoring quality assurance because it analyzes existing conditions and methods used to provide the product or service customers. The goal is to ensure that excellence is inherent in every component of the process. Quality assurance also helps determine whether the steps used to provide the product or service are appropriate for the time and conditions. In addition, if the PDCA cycle is repeated throughout the lifetime of the product or service, it helps improve internal company efficiency. Quality assurance demands a degree of detail in order to be fully implemented at every step. Planning, for example, could include investigation into the quality of the raw materials used in manufacturing, the actual assembly, or the inspection processes used. The Checking step could include customer feedback, surveys, or other marketing vehicles to determine if customer needs are being exceeded and why they are or are not. Acting could mean a total revision in the manufacturing process in order to correct a technical or cosmetic flaw.