Quality assurance professionals are responsible for assuring that their companies' products or services always meet customers' expectations for quality. These professionals develop, assess, fix and improve quality system processes to keep those processes both effective and efficient. Job objectives might focus on achieving compliance to new or changed requirements, solving problems that can result in quality failures and identifying ways to work more efficiently.
Achieve and Maintain Compliant Processes
Customers expect suppliers to meet quality, environmental and safety system standards when developing and delivering products or services. One key job objective for any quality-assurance professional is to make sure company processes comply with industry and regulatory standards, as well as any customer-specific requirements that pertain to supplier quality systems. Achieving this objective requires professionals to first learn the standards, and then develop compliant processes.
Identify True Root Cause
Another critical objective for quality-assurance professionals is to get to the root of problems. They must figure out why quality failures occur so they can fix the process flaws that make the failures possible. If the true root cause isn't found, problem-solvers end up fixing symptoms. That's like plugging a leak with bubblegum. To achieve this objective requires quality-assurance professionals to become expert users of formal problem-solving methodologies and tools, such as fault tree, five why and cause and effect analyses.
Improve Process Efficiency
An improvement-focused job objective can target eliminating process wastes to improve efficiency. When processes work effectively, quality failures aren't happening. This means quality assurance professionals can focus on making processes more efficient instead of solving problems. Processes are efficient when they don't involve excessive resources, non-value-adding steps and other types of waste. Introducing lean manufacturing principles to an improvement project can meet this objective.
Perform Value-Adding Audits
Quality-assurance professionals assess processes for compliance to standards and regulations by performing internal quality system audits. Another job objective can involve building business value into such audits by moving beyond compliance to identify opportunities for improvement that could lead to reductions in operational costs. To achieve this objective, quality-assurance professionals should understand process-development tools such as failure mode and effects analysis.