What is Quality Assurance Auditing?
Quality assurance and audit are two very distinct functions, however when the two are married together they become a powerful tool to improve the quality, consistency, and reliability of a business’ operations.
The intent of a quality assurance audit is to evaluate whether an organisation is adhering to the principles and requirements as prescribed by the overseeing regulatory body and, equally importantly, the expectations of its customers. Furthermore, this type of audit seeks to retrieve information relating to certain processes in order to understand if the process is performing as outlined by a series of criteria.
For those in quality assurance audit jobs the goal is to provide a sort of benchmark against which to evaluate the status of the current performance of a process. Once this has been assessed, it will become clear which areas are in need of improvement, from the process itself to a more generalised issue of weakness, such as staff competency.
Businesses rely on quality assurance audits to establish standards of performance across different functions with regards to both the effective and consistent implementation of procedures, as well as in terms of the requirements laid out for their employees. On the regulatory end, the audit is intended to guarantee that all product manufacturers are operating in compliance with the same set of quality standards. The audit will track back through the supply chain in order to ensure a clean timeline of operation by implementing the minimum of quality standards with the suppliers themselves. This means that the company supplying either a product or service to the organisation won’t be cleared for approval unless they have first passed the audit to assess the strength of their quality management system.
The regulatory element is also necessary to determine best practice in terms of compliance and whether a product or process is operating in line with the standards or regulations that have been laid out. The audit will of course bring to light any areas of non-compliance in order for the organisation to address them.
When a quality assurance audit is conducted it inevitably throws out opportunities to learn and for the auditors to educate the auditees. This of course rests on whether the auditors themselves have a reasonable understanding of the product or process being audited. From there they can expand the knowledge of the person or team being audited by delving into the reasons for specific requirements or test points.
Carried out both by internal audit teams as well as external audit teams, quality assurance audits are necessary to ensure that organisations can run in a transparent and trustworthy fashion, ensuring quality every step of the way.