About Quality Assurance Blog

Why have quality assurance at all?
John Mason - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

There is no right or wrong answer to the conceiving, planning, implementing and managing a quality assurance system.

Ultimately the how and the why is up to you and your business to determine.  My own belief is that all companies have some semblance of a working quality management system making the question redundant.

The real question and ultimate answer is (and no, it is not 42!):  “Can I improve our quality and should I base it on an accepted standard/ model?”

Yes should always be the answer to both questions.

That leaves you to determine what the best organisational fit is for the time and place. In my consulting business (quality.com.au) it simply makes:
• good policy,
• good practice,
• good, process,
• good productivity, and
• good sales and marketing.

You will notice that I didn’t use the word best and probably never will because while I strive for best by definition it can never really be achieved.  That certainly doesn’t mean we are not close to best (even with modesty prevailing) but we are fit for purpose which by any other definition is quality.

The demographics of quality.com.au are;
1. Small employee numbers,
2. Large number of subcontractors / associates,
3. Small number of suppliers, small number of clients,
4. High value, low volume of sales / projects, complex projects,
5. Large proportion of ongoing business based on referrals and track record.
When we talk to a client we do not refer to the quality management system as a quality management system and we do not structure it based on perceived structure requirements for certification requirements.

We can do this because we are experienced consultants who know the nuances of the standard and of the business.  But if quality certification isn’t your core business, then trade-offs need to be made.  Trade-offs doesn’t mean poor practice, they mean tailored to meet an organisational fit for purpose at a given time.

By way of example this illustration might assist.

One of the first things I did when I got my first managerial role (in a quality department of a consumer packaging company) was to treat my ‘little’ department as a discreet, standalone company.  I had a strategic plan, a budget, set policies, documents for internal use and documents for external stakeholders and so on.  None of which was a direct requirement of my KPIs or management reporting.  Our department knew all about it but we never referred to it or promoted it as the quality management system for either us or the company.

By default, as we were called the quality department, it was seen as a quality management system but the ease for others to adopt such processes as and when they saw a need for such systems meant it was, by degree, adopted by many other areas of the business.

The moral of the story is:
• walk the talk of your own systems and strive to make them better for all stakeholders today,
• then, should a need arise to formalise or test the systems to known models or certifications, do so without compromise,
• and be just a little clever when keeping all stakeholders appraised and appeased.


Why have quality assurance at all?

Quality Assurance Benefits
John Mason - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

There are many benefits from quality assurance. You just need to decide if any of the following fit into your current strategic plans. If not, don't worry, there are probably a thousand more reasons why you should (and of course, why you should NOT) have quality assurance. Just remember, if it fits your strategic plans today, review the fit tomorrow and if circumstance has changed, your benefits may have too.

Here is a list of benefits our clients have gained by implementing quality assurance:
 business rules
 policy setting
 succession planning
 transitional management
 government contracts
 client requirements
 due diligence
 business review
 knowledge management
 documentation management
 resource management
 peer recognition
 point of difference over competition
 cost reduction
 gross margin improvement
 and many, many more

Remember, good quality assurance is organisationally and culturally seamless with all facets of a business which must be 'walked and talked' by everyone.

Without our quality assurance, quality.com.au does not have a business. Yes, no business. It is a seamless part of how we do all of our day to day activities, reports and reviews. In fact, it is not even referenced as quality assurance. It just exists. Ever wondered how a sole trader back in the midst of the 'recession we had to have (1991)' could expand and manage the growth into Australia's most successful quality management system consultancy. Well now you know.

And after 20 short years, some 15 years after the 'death' of quality assurance, our business continues to grow on the back of sound business rules and operational processes that are embedded in all facets of the business.

So decide for yourself what benefits you could gain from quality assurance thoughtfully and professionally infused into the business.

Quality Assurance Benefits