The Benefits of Quality Assurance Audits
Author: Bianca Lochan
Quality assurance audits have become a mainstream necessity in organizations across different industries. The question is, what is quality assurance? Quality assurance is referred to as being the maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product, especially by means of attention to every stage of the process of delivery or production. Therefore, A quality assurance audit is a systematic inspection of a quality management system to ensure it complies with quality requirements.
“Why would a software company want to undergo a quality assurance audit?”, you may ask. Techno Ponies undertook a quality assurance audit on Toyota’s brand new multimillion rand web platform. We inspected their software code, as well as internal processes followed when working through the entire software development life cycle. We assessed a number of ways in which inefficiencies, shortcomings, and process optimisations could be achieved. We identified a number of changes the software developers could make to their development processes, which would ultimately result in Toyota savings millions of rands in wasted development costs.
There are several benefits to incorporating quality assurance audits into your organisations process life cycle, below are some of those benefits:
Alignment between internal policies and real-world procedures
All organisations have internal policies and procedures that need to be adhered to when developing and deploying new products/services. These policies and procedures may or may not be aligned to global standards. In specific industries, it is widely accepted that there are global “best practices”, these bring a set of processes and standards that are adhered to internationally. Quality Assurance audits determine if your business’s policies and procedures are on par with these abovementioned global best practices, serving as a benchmark analysis. It is extremely important to perform quality assurance audits to ensure your business stays competitive and relevant within your current industry on a global platform.
Track Serious Issues before Occurrence
One of the vital components in product development is ensuring that quality is a priority and maintained throughout the process. Quality assurance audits -- include several checklists and checkpoints to ensure that nothing is deployed before undergoing several checks. Deploying a product without the necessary review and sign off from key resources can lead to oversight of serious issues or risks that can lead to severe business loss. These audit checkpoints assist in ensuring appropriate reviews and sign offs have been completed as necessary in order to protect your business in the long run before deployment. Prevention is always better than cure, it is easier to nip an issue in the bud than it is to correct a large, costly mistake.
Tool for Gap Analysis and to Evaluate Internal Processes
More often than not, there are gaps in internal processes and procedures. It can be difficult to identify these gaps and take ownership over what needs to be done in order to bridge the gaps. Proper quality assurance audits can be used as a measurement tool in several situations. When performed properly, they are an effective tool in identifying and rectifying gaps in your company’s processes. Identifying these gaps early on can help improve organisational processes, which in turn can also lead to implementing cost effective solutions.
Leads to High Business Satisfaction using corrective and preventative action (CAPA)
CAPA consists of making improvements to an organization's processes to eliminate causes of non-conformities or other undesirable situations. A non-conformity is a process or activity which doesn't fulfil its intended purpose. Non-conformities are discovered during quality assurance audits. Quality assurance audits make it easy to identify the potential gaps and non-conformities in the organisational process, and provide analysis on how to take corrective and preventive action for the same. This will lead to a higher level of business satisfaction in relation to quality. Periodic audits are needed to make sure CAPA is completed timeously and effectively.
Helps Reduce Cost to Quality
In general, processes are not considered measurable. Quality assurance audits help measure different aspects of quality management, analyse these measurements and then optimise these standards and processes to add value to the business. Having measurable data and past trends to analyse as well as effective CAPA processes enable the organisation to identify and anticipate potential risks and issues before the process begins. This helps reduce cost using foresight
So, why should your business consider performing a quality assurance audit in your business? The answer is simple. Nobody likes it when projects run over time and budget, yet little is done to effectively manage this process, or put in place proper development workflows. Proper auditing plays a key part in setting up structures to ensure that finished products are deployed in a timeous and successful way within budget
Quality assurance auditing enriches business processes and reduces risk. Ensuring that your business adheres to global standards is imperative to stay relevant, competitive and at the cutting edge of your industry. It always makes good business sense to churn out great quality projects that are cost effective. Overall, it may be time consuming to initially implement quality assurance audits, but the long-term benefits definitely outweigh the teething process at the outset.
Bianca is from Johannesburg, South Africa, where she works as a business analyst for Techno Ponies. She has 4 years of experience analysing and improving IT processes. In her spare time, Bianca enjoys reading and baking.