Quality assurance and quality management are integral to any organization's quality strategic management plan. Therefore, it is crucial for the organization to agree on what quality assurance and quality management mean for them. A strong quality system helps the project to be successful in a big way. So, how well the stakeholders and others involved with the project understand the differences impact the efficiency of the project team. The two terms, Quality assurance, and Quality management are closely related and it may be difficult to identify the differences between them.
Nevertheless, both are equally important for the organization to deliver the project to the customer's entire satisfaction. Both are integral to every organization's business strategies. They help in increasing the efficiency of the processes and mitigating faults so as to deliver an immaculate final product.
Seen from the perspective of quality, both quality assurance and quality management are instrumental and contribute greatly to maintaining the quality of the product or services to be delivered to the customer but both are independent of each other and can't be used interchangeably. Before we get into any detailed discussion on what is the difference between quality assurance and quality management, let us first gain an understanding of both of them individually.
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance is basically a method to ensure that the final product or service does not have any flaws or inconsistencies. It is a way to prevent defects from occurring in the product or service to avoid customer dissatisfaction. In quality assurance, the quality requirements and the results from quality control are audited to check if the desired quality standards and operational definitions are being used. Quality assurance is concerned with maintaining the desired level of quality in the products or services from the start of the process till the final delivery. The goal of quality assurance is not only to prevent defects from occurring but also but it also focuses on setting up the processes in such a manner that identifying defects at the earliest stages of the process becomes easy. It is a proactive method of preventing quality-related issues even before they occur.
Quality assurance is focused on assessing, evaluating, analyzing, and verifying the quality meaning it assures quality in the product or service being delivered. So, in essence, quality assurance is the complete process that assures that the specified requirements of quality are being fulfilled. Quality assurance applies to all kinds of businesses and industries but particularly to industries producing tangible outcomes or those which use tangible inputs for delivering some kind of services.
What is Quality Management?
Quality management is about supervising all the activities and work that need to be done to maintain a desired level of excellence. It is a system to ensure that not only the processes used to create certain products or services work efficiently and effectively but also that the final products and services meet the expected standards. Therefore, all the processes of the organization are covered in quality management. Every aspect that may have a direct or indirect bearing on customer satisfaction is taken care of in quality management. So, under quality management, a quality policy is established and quality planning is created.
Further, quality assurance and quality improvement are implemented under quality management. In quality management, a structured set of policies, processes, and procedures is integrated to work in harmony as a system thus making the achievement of goals and objectives pertaining to quality easier for the people in the organization. In general, we can say that the aim of quality management is to focus on long-term goals by implementing short-term initiatives. So, the prime requirement of quality management is that all the stakeholders in the business work in tandem toward improving the processes, products, and services, and consequently the organizational culture itself. The basic philosophy at the core of quality management is that for the long-term success of any organization, is the most significant aspect.
Difference between Quality Assurance and Quality Management
Now, come to the all-important question of the difference between quality assurance and quality management. As we said at the outset, it is important for organizations to clearly understand the meanings of the two terms because an efficient and effective quality system is vital for the success of any project or organization. So, let us look at the differences between quality assurance and quality management.
- Quality assurance is directly concerned with the quality of the product or service and ensures that the right processes, procedures, and standards are being implemented and followed for the particular product or service. Quality management, on the other hand, is focused on creating plans and policies that determine what standards are needed for the product or service.
- Quality assurance provides the assurance that the quality requirements will be fulfilled while quality management establishes if the project complies with the quality norms specified in the quality management plan.
- Quality assurance is a strategy for preventing any defects in the end product while quality management is a structured system for helping the organizations to fulfill certain needs of the product.
- While quality assurance stabilizes the processes and controls them, quality management works for their improvement.
- Quality management is a lot broader concept than quality assurance as it covers a wider area of business than quality assurance.
- As a proactive method, quality assurance helps in identifying the flaws in the process of development of a product. On the other hand, quality management includes everything. It involves setting up the standards for defining the project quality metrics.
- Quality management always takes lower-level details into consideration while quality assurance majorly focuses on the process of quality. Quality management helps in making a decision about the method to be used for tracking and measuring progress.
- Quality assurance is concerned with the process. It is not much concerned with product execution. So, it basically helps in identifying the flaws in the product and improving it. Quality management, on the other hand, helps in analyzing the process and removing any problems and variations that could lead to the making of an incorrect product.
- From a perspective of quality, the quality assurance function cuts across the other function and provides assurance to the leadership and the customers that everything is fine with the quality. Quality management takes a complete view of the quality and takes it to the level of management to put it at an equal level with the other functions of the organization like finance, human resources management, etc.
So, we can say that the required quality assurance is provided by quality management. With the right quality management, you can be assured of delivering products or services that are not only superior to your competitors but are more reliable too. This will not only increase your sales but will also reduce the problems. Quality assurance has very different motives and is managed by a different set of people and it tries to manage quality from different perspectives. Quality assurance means identifying all such processes in the organization that affect the quality of the product or service and standardizing them.
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