Benefits of QA

Many QA implementations are as a result of a ‘knee jerk’ reaction to an external requirement: “our biggest customer asked if we had ISO9000” is a typical reason for implementation. Several years down the track, QA managers often find it difficult to justify the ongoing costs of maintaining a QA system. We have however identified the following benefits – and we have mapped them to the ISO9001 standard.

Increased sales will result from:

  • employees’ ability to act with integrity in customer interactions as result of Management’s explicit commitment and support of quality values (Quality policy: Management responsibility)
  • employees ability to refer to good policies and procedures to guide their interactions with customers (Quality System)
  • employees ability to provide customers with accurate, up-to-date, information on specifications and technical data (Document and data control)
  • employees not promising more than the organisation is capable of delivering, through a disciplined approach to getting the customer’s requirements right in the first instance (Contract review)
  • increased customer satisfaction as a result of better dependability of product and service delivery (Design control: Purchasing: Process control: Handling & storage: Servicing)
  • increased customer satisfaction as a result of fewer problems with products and services (Inspection & testing: Inspection & test equipment: Control of non-conforming product)
  • increased customer satisfaction as a result of employees ability to respond quickly and reliably to customers’ problems (Corrective and preventive action : Identification and traceability)
  • availability of third-party quality system certification where customers require or favour it

Reduced costs will result from:

  • fewer problems and defects to fix up after delivery to the customer, by identifying problems at the earliest possible stage (Receiving, In-process, and Final inspection & testing)
  • reduced waste through fewer defects, as a result of systematic resolution and analysis of quality-related problems (Corrective and preventive action)
  • significantly less time spent by employees getting access to critical information (Document and data control)
  • significantly less time spent by employees ‘re-inventing the wheel’ as a result of the ready availability of standard methods and guidance information (Quality system: Document and data control)

Improved operating efficiencies will result from:

  • better control of suppliers’ inputs to production/service processes (Purchasing: Identification and traceability)
  • continual review and refinement of systems and methods as a result of disciplined problem identification and resolution (Corrective and preventive action: Quality records: Statistical methods)
  • availability of accurate, reliable, and accessible statistics for analysis (Quality records)
  • continual review and refinement of systems and methods as a result of systematic program of process reviews (Internal Quality Audits)
  • better inter-departmental understanding and communication as a result of systematic program of process reviews; this assumes peer-to-peer reviewing (Internal Quality Audits)

The potential commercial/financial benefits of QA are often obvious by simply looking at the sources of improvement (those listed above) and making a subjective judgement about how well the issues involved are currently handled by the organisation.