Why Quality Assurance Tracking In the Workplace Is Essential For Success And Growth
To consistently deliver on the promise of high-quality work, an organization must ensure they have the appropriate quality assurance tracking system in place. Without this delicate checks-and-balances process, more errors slip through the cracks, workflows can potentially break down, and the quality of work is not usually up to company standards.
Having a quality assurance tracking system ensures everyone on the team has the support needed to deliver a final product in line with the company’s expectations. In order to achieve quality assurance in the workplace, let’s first define quality assurance.
What is Quality Assurance?
Quality assurance is defined as the process of meeting an organization’s standards and includes careful monitoring of each stage of production and delivery.
While the terms “Quality Assurance” and “Quality Control” are often used interchangeably in conversation, there are major distinctions between the two processes.
Quality control is the identification of various issues during project management and ensures the quality is meeting the required standards. Put simply, quality control focuses on the product and is considered a reactive process. Whereas, quality assurance is about the prevention of errors or other defects that may arise during projects and making sure the controls put in place are working effectively. This is through examination and review of the multiple techniques, methods, and processes dedicated to creating deliverables as expected. Quality assurance verifies the processes in place are not introducing errors or other complications and come before quality control. In other words, quality assurance is a preventative measure that focuses on process.
Let’s see an example of this in action.
Say we have a Human Resources team that is about to implement a brand new employee management system. No one on the team has previous experience with the system – an important factor acknowledged and reviewed by HR leadership. In order to ensure training and implementation goes smoothly for everyone involved, leadership has developed a way to assure quality from the beginning. Managers have assessed what documents are needed in order to have successful training. In the case of HR, a thorough understanding of the various moving parts is critical to the implementation’s success. Therefore, the HR teams need a highly-detailed standard operating procedure drafted in order to initially move through the basics of training, specific examples unique to the HR department in order to capture realistic data entry, and other documents that will help train the entire team.
During the process of training, it’s inevitable that particular workflows may encounter issues unique to the new system. This is a part of the quality control process, where defects are identified while trying to get to the final product. (In this example, the HR team’s final delivery is an accurate entry on employee information). The team can then discuss different solutions that may best fit their needs, and a process moving forward that captures the appropriate workaround. After the training is successful, and the team has proven they have a foundation of working knowledge to be able to do their jobs efficiently, processes can be refined to ensure high-quality work is delivered.
Why Is Quality Assurance Tracking Important?
Quality assurance tracking is important in the workplace for a few key reasons:
- Motivates the team – The team is likely to stay more motivated and on track with their various assignments as there are established processes and controls in place, providing much-needed structure and clarity in essential procedures. Everyone is essentially held to the same principle of producing high-quality work. This creates a unified mission, one that everyone strives to achieve. The review process for quality assurance helps keep operations smooth and succinct, incorporating feedback from the core team, and allowing them to thrive in an effective environment.
- Creates transparency – In addition to increasing employee motivation, quality assurance also helps create transparency in the workplace, a huge contributing factor in healthy and positive work cultures. Because processes are consistently being measured and monitored, the team is regularly updated on any significant changes. If, however, the established processes no longer make sense due to the demands of the company and external clients, the team has an opportunity to provide their input on how to improve workflow. There’s a level of trust built at this level as employees see how carefully managed and supported their work is.
- Preserves integrity – A final work product in line with the company’s requirements is the goal for everyone on the team. With quality assurance in place, the standard is consistently met (or goes above and beyond), preserving the integrity of the work and the mission the organization is set out to achieve.
- Greater awareness of current procedures – Quality assurance tracking enables leadership to have a greater awareness of the processes surrounding the team. Foundational knowledge is needed in order to stay proactive about procedures that no longer serve the company. Quality assurance tracking also ensures that managers and leads are able to train new employees in the correct methods and techniques that are appropriate for the roles. Without this awareness of current procedures, there is little to no way of effectively monitoring what processes are working and what are considered detrimental to the team’s progress.
- Consistent operations – Quality assurance tracking ensures operations are running smoothly and producing solid deliverables. One of the greatest benefits of having quality assurance is achieving consistency in all work-related procedures. Nothing demotivates a team like unorganized and confusing processes. The running of consistent operation is key to stabilizing the team and the organization as a whole. According to Qualio, business researchers state that businesses with inconsistent processes are 5 times more likely to negatively impact customers than the delivery of a poor product. Developing and reviewing processes that minimize the risk of disastrous results like this is paramount to ensuring a company’s overall success.
- Happier customers – Because quality assurance allows for reliable delivery of the team’s best work, the happier (and more confident) the clients will be with the company as their provider. The final product will be in line with what they expected to receive and bolsters the reputation of the organization as a whole. There will be fewer overall defects or hiccups that can impede a customer’s satisfaction with their product and their trust and support of the company increases.
- Continuous improvement – Quality assurance helps a company embrace the constant need to adapt and make important improvements that help a business move forward into the future. With a continuous drive to improve upon themselves, organizations can reap huge benefits such as strengthened employee performance, increased engagement, and flexible leadership. This makes it easier to cultivate a work culture unopposed to facing complex issues and helps the team to actively seek out more effective methods of problem-solving.
- Effective decision-making – Since monitoring and assessment of the organization’s processes occur in real-time, leadership is able to make objective decisions based on recent and accurate data presented before them. They can use this information and make strategic and effective decisions in commiseration with their fellow colleagues. The goal is to achieve continuous improvement, so the decision-making aspect of any workflow and operations is crucial as it moves the team closer to the company’s main goals. Quality assurance also ensures the decision-making process within their own team is done in a proactive manner and not a reactive one, which can make or break the quality of final products and increase stress amongst the team members.
- Saves money – Quality assurance is an important layer of support for a project’s life cycle and contributes to an organization’s business growth. A lack of quality assurance during essential operations can cause a loss of time, resources, and money. An effective quality assurance tracking system allows the company to save money by decreasing the work (and time) that’s necessary to continuously fix defective products. The more the final deliverable is error-free, the more the customer base will trust in their hard-earned efforts and continue to purchase from them. Catching issues along the way, and in earlier stages of development, will help reduce the development cost and stay within a designated budget. In the long run, having excellent quality assurance measures allows the organization to increase its profitability.
Quality Assurance Tracking In Any Profession
Let’s take a look at how quality assurance is used throughout a variety of different professions.
- Healthcare – To determine a hospital’s capacity for providing service and care, quality assurance measures can be used to determine staffing capacity (nurse-to-patient ratio), the number of beds available, types of specialties and services, etc.
- Education – In order to support schools in their innovation and creativity with students, there needs to be a regular, systematic review of school leaders, student assessments, subjects, and other evaluations to continue the trajectory of quality and efficiency.
- Construction – One of the biggest issues facing professionals in the construction field is the amount of work that needs to be redone as some of the team may not have the resources they need in order to do the job correctly (or completely) the first time. A quality assurance measure preventing this type of rework is developed to prevent these types of issues from reoccurring.
- Scientific Laboratories – In order to avoid critical mistakes that waste time and resources during routine experiments, quality assurances in laboratories include measures such as regular documentation of experimental methods, double-checking labels as part of the process before beginning certain tasks, or removing the possibility of contamination by following a strict protocol for sterilization.
- Business – To keep the processes moving and error-free, businesses can develop detailed checklists, perform audits of past assignments, review process documentation and standards before project kick-off to ensure that operations for project management are on a solid foundation.
Despite the different nature of these fields, there’s a common thread that ties them together: a consistent method of quality assurance tracking that examines the processes so the company meets its goals.
Quality assurance tracking is beneficial for an organization as it helps ensure that tight protocols exist, supporting the entirety of the project (and team) and resulting in a high-quality deliverable. Understanding the fundamental operations of the business and looking to improve and expand the processes will help shepherd everyone towards success.