Quality assurance in the manufacturing enterprise ensures that the quality function is appropriately executed. Its activities extend far beyond the quality department. Quality assurance (QA) is different from quality control (QC) because QC primarily identifies and responds to nonconformities, such as defects, and is reactive in nature. In contrast, QA is proactive in its approach to quality planning, instituting system improvements, such as defect prevention and reliability, while maintaining the after-the-fact QC and audit functions. Quality is then defined as those product and/ or service features that meet or exceed customer expectations. TQM is the system that ensures that this is the enterprise’s constant focus and that continuous improvement never stops. Quality costs can be grouped into four categories: internal failure, external failure, appraisal, and prevention. The ISO 9000 standard can be used to assess the quality system of any organization. Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) to encourage improved quality and competitiveness from American companies.
By Gary Conner
By George N Bullen FSME