Quality Assurance (QA) aims to ensure that the product or service an organisation provides is fit for purpose and meets both external and internal requirements, including legal compliance and customer expectations. A quality manager, sometimes called quality assurance manager, coordinates the activities required to meet quality standards.
Quality managers also monitor and advise on the performance of the quality management system and produces date and report on performance, measuring against set indicators.
They liaise with other managers and staff throughout the organisation to ensure that the QA system is functioning properly. Where appropriate, the quality manager advises on changes and their implementation and provides training, tools and techniques to enable others to achieve quality.
Typical Work Activities
Since maintaining quality demands adaptation to customer expectations, quality managers employ a variety of measures to place quality at the heart of an organisation. These included management systems such as ISO 9000, philosophies such as Total Quality Management, and methodologies such as Continuous Improvement.
The work of the quality manger will be affected by the nature of the employing organisation but is likely to include some or all of the following activities:
- Promoting quality achievement and performance improvement throughout the organisation;
- Setting QA compliance objectives and ensuring targets are achieved;
- Maintaining awareness of the business context and company profitability, including budgetary control issues;
- Assessing the product specifications of the company and its suppliers, and comparing with customer requirements;
- Working with purchasing staff to establish quality requirements from external suppliers;
- Ensuring compliance with national and international standards and legislation;
- Considering the application of environmental and health and safety standards;
- Agreeing standards and establishing clearly defined quality methods for staff to apply;
- Defining quality procedures in conjunction with operating staff;
- Setting up and maintaining controls and documentation procedures;
- Identifying relevant quality-related training needs and delivering training;
- Collating and analysing performance data and charts against defined parameters;
- Ensuring tests and procedures are properly understood, carried out and evaluated and that product modifications are investigated if necessary;
- Supervising technical staff in carrying out tests and checks;
- Writing technical and management system reports;
- Bring together staff of different disciplines and driving the group plan, formulate and agree comprehensive quality procedures;
- Persuading reluctant staff to change their way of working to incorporate quality methods;
- Liaising with customers’ auditors and ensuring the execution of corrective action and compliance with customers’ specifications;
- Establishing standards of service for customers or clients;
- Preparing clear explanatory documents such as customers’ charters;
- Monitoring performance by gathering relevant data and producing statistical reports.