“Quality engineering” redirects here. For the journal, see Quality Engineering (journal).
Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes or defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers; whichISO 9000 defines as “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled”. This defect prevention in quality assurance differs subtly from defect detection and rejection in quality control, and has been referred to as a shift left as it focuses on quality earlier in the process.
QA is applied to physical products in pre-production to verify what will be made meets specifications and requirements, and during manufacturing production runs by validating lot samples meet specified quality controls. QA is also applied to software to verify that features and functionality meet business objectives, and that code is relatively bug free prior to shipping or releasing new software products and versions.
Quality assurance comprises administrative and procedural activities implemented in a quality system so that requirements and goals for a product, service or activity will be fulfilled. It is the systematic measurement, comparison with a standard, monitoring of processes and an associated feedback loop that confers error prevention. This can be contrasted with quality control, which is focused on process output.
Two principles included in quality assurance are: “Fit for purpose” (the product should be suitable for the intended purpose); and “right first time” (mistakes should be eliminated). QA includes management of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components, services related to production, and management, production and inspectionprocesses.
Suitable quality is determined by product users, clients or customers, not by society in general. It is not related to cost, and adjectives or descriptors such as “high” and “poor” are not applicable. For example, a low priced product may be viewed as having high quality because it is disposable, where another may be viewed as having poor quality because it is not disposable.