With quality standards differing by culture around the world, reasons for constant quality assurance in your supply chain might be the following: some workers and managers don’t care about quality unless closely supervised and incentivized, others make mistakes for all kinds of reasons (see nonconformance reason codes). Some workers and managers cut corners to make shipping schedules, or send substitute materials on the hope they will be accepted. Still others deceive and adulterate materials. These mishaps and mischiefs can occur all along the route of a product, and its constituents, to markets for us to experience, either as professionals or consumers.
Could this behavior describe workers in any of the chain of processes that produced the food on your table, or the keyboard at your desk, or the chemicals in your pool, the brakes on your car, the bridge you commute over, or your next flight to Europe?
Quality issues pretty much end up in our laps via a sequential process called a value chain or the supply chain. A few of these problem workers in the supply chain average out to be minor disruptions for most of us, but in some cases, major catastrophes for a few. When processes are simply not managed for quality assurance, tragedy can strike.
As a quality assurance company, we understand the term “quality”. The key is the meaning of “assurance” (Merriam-Webster):
Various experts define QA, and its counterpart QC, as essentially Quality Assurance is process oriented and focuses on defect prevention, while Quality Control is product oriented and focuses on defect identification. If Quality Control is close-detail attention to production events (counts, fit, alignment, etc.) , then Quality Assurance is the maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product, especially by means of attention to every stage of the process of delivery or production.
In our world of diverse motivations, hope cannot be the quality assurance strategy while ignoring the potential risks and responsibilities of simply “trusting suppliers”. This is not a reliable approach since it is belief-based not data management based.
Mark Twain said: “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”
GSQA® manages quality assurance over the web at a reduced cost as compared with manual methods associated with paper-based processes or their electronic equivalents (document management systems), and QA-oriented periodic audits. GSQA® is effective in the supply chain (suppliers, suppliers’ suppliers, co-manufacturers) as well as in enterprise production quality assurance.
By tracking the material tests of each lot of material destined to move in the supply chain, the GSQA® user has an almost real-time visibility of the material quality of goods moving towards finished product status. Specific test results are captured for each phase of production and for each supplier’s shipment which constitutes a quality assurance management layer. Standard measurements and online formats help confirm material quality is sufficient to work in downstream production processes and to satisfy the eventual customer.
If 50% of finished product content on average (value or material) is sourced outside the enterprise, then the Quality Assurance definition should be extended to the following: Quality Assurance is the maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product, especially by means of attention to every stage of the supply chain processing for delivery or production.
GSQA models the supply chain by defining online the shipping and receiving relationships for specific material lots from specific supply locations that are shipped to specific receiving locations. As the ingredients or components of a sub-product are defined in GSQA, new tiers in the supply chain model are created. That resulting model supports backward and forward traceability, supply chain Bill of Material reporting and product genealogy visualization. At the same time each lot at each provider in each tier is confirmed to be ship-ready as the material validation is done online before shipment.
That’s the approach our customers have taken for quality assurance as they focus on leadership in customer satisfaction and product safety.
Electronic Certificate of Analysis
Supply Chain Quality Management
Finished Products Quality
Supplier Quality Assurance (Video)