Quality assurance


Quality assurance refers to the assurance to customers that the products, parts, components, tools etc. contain specified characteristics and are fit for the intended use. Quality assurance is concerned with determining the procedures to be used and frequency of checks or tests to be made within the system so as to ensure that the system is meeting the specification incorporated in the product/service design. In the present competitive industrial world, no business unit can exists for a long time without adhering to the quality. Now assurance of quality is not a responsibility of a single person or a department only. Only the inspection department or its personnel cannot be held responsible for assurance of quality. It is the responsibility of everybody connected with the production, directly or indirectly, e.g. each and every department connected with production- from design and raw material stage to dispatch and transportation stage that is from the designing of the product to the sales and delivery of the finished product- is responsible. Thus design engineering department, purchasing department, inspection department, materials handling department, maintenance and repair department, stores department, production department, sales department etc. are all equally responsible for assuring quality. They all play an important part in providing the customer a product of acceptable quality. Therefore everyone has to be alert and everyone has to perform one’s duty efficiently, because everyone’s activity is directly or indirectly related to the quality of the product which their company is manufacturing. Employees of the unit must be made quality conscious. They should be motivated, if the unit wants to get best results from them. This can be done by explaining to them, why the quality is important for themselves as well as for their unit.

Factors affecting employees’ morale:

Increase in moral results in the improvement of quality. If the workers are dissatisfied or the working conditions are poor, employees’ moral will be at a low level and cases of rejections will increase in any manufacturing unit right from the consumption stage to the finished product stage. Efficiency of any unit as a whole can be increased only by minimizing the chances of rejection, which in turn results in better quality. Employees may not be able to work or may not work or generally do not work efficiently because of many factors which can be classified as under:

(a) Psychological factors:

1. Monotony and boredom:

When a person is required to perform the same work number of times repeatedly over a long time, he gets bored or tired. He works only to spend time without having interest in his work. He gets dissatisfied. Not satisfied worker cannot discharge his duty efficiently and effectively. This ultimately badly affects the quality of a product resulting in higher rejections.

2. Frustrations:

Employees get frustrated due to various reasons. They may not find any chance of promotion or scope for self-development. The boss may not be co-operative or may be ill-tempered. Management may not have trust in the employees. Under such circumstances, employees may not work with interest.

3. Absence of incentives:

Absence of incentives in the form of wages linked with productivity, incentive wage rates, prizes for quality work etc. makes the employees dissatisfied and it becomes difficult for anyone to get the work done by such unsatisfied employees. Employees become careless, thereby affecting badly the quality of the product resulting in higher rate of rejections.

(b) Psychological factors

After working for a certain period continuously, a worker experiences stress. If fatigue is severe, it will affect the quality as well as the quantity of production.

(c) Technical factors

1. Unclear specification and faulty design:

The specification must be well defined and the design of the product must be faultless because ambiguous specifications and faulty design make the products unfit for usage. Quality of the product suffers heavily and it results in higher proportion of rejection.

2. Improper or unsuitable or substandard tools and equipments:

Tools and equipments which are not proper or suitable or standard quality, affect the quality badly even if the worker is efficient and sincere.

3. Complex or unsystematic operations or processes and improper maintenance and repairs of tools and machines:

Operations and processes must be planned and designed systematically and scientifically. Timely repairs and proper maintenance may result in higher productivity and production of defective products will be very small.

(d) Other factors

Working conditions in a factory must be satisfactory. Absence of (1) Proper ventilation, (2) sufficient light, (3) normal temperature, (4) Subsidized canteen facilities, (5) Urinals and latrines in sufficient numbers, (6) Provision of safety gloves, safety glasses, helmets etc. for workers, if found necessary etc. result in decreased efficiency. Possibilities of accidents and absenteeism show upward tendency with the passing of time. Unsatisfactory working conditions bring into existence conflicts between employees and management thereby resulting in decreased productivity and increased number of rejections.