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QUALITY ASSURANCE:

Existence of quality standards may not necessarily mean that the products available in the market conform to these requirements. This is all the more true when most of the standards are voluntary, as in our country, unless the consumer insists for supplies conforming to standards or the manufacturing units consciously decide not to deviate from standards. Some organised consumers who make bulk purchases and have the necessary technical background make an attempt at ensuring that supplies received by them conform to standards by inspecting the finished products on consignment basis before acceptance. Such attempts may have some initial success. But continued success may not be there due to the multifarious tricks of the trade. Hence the only long-lasting solution to the problem of obtaining quality products from the market is the manufacturers own commitment for adherence to such standards in any circumstances. In fact, the ethics of production and marketing as well as the economics of sales in developed countries compel the manufacturer to abide by the standards. While we are yet to reach that state of sophistication in our country, the manufacturers should themselves feel that producing only quality products is their unavoidable obligation to the society. Discharging these obligations necessitates the manufacturers to take the following steps: 1) Study of quality requirements stipulated in the Indian Standards for the product manufactured. 2) Working that quality back (through sub-assemblies. Components, raw materials etc.) To the design and production stages. 3) Improving the product based on consumer responses and feedback from after sales service. 4) Controlling quality during production using SQC techniques. 5) Introducing quality audit to uncover weaknesses, if any, in the quality control systems and to feel confident that the outgoing product conforms to pre-determined standards & quality. The management function which ensures taking all the above steps (covering quality development, control and audit) is called the Quality Assurance. Here again we find the standardization is the basic input for quality assurance. Quality assurance as the in-house responsibility of manufacturing units may suffer from some handicaps, particularly in situations where the demand far exceeds supply for raw materials or finished products. Such handicaps can be removed by opting for a third party certification system which provides for monitoring the quality assurance programme of the manufacturer. Hence a third party certification both for the manufacturer

system, by technical organisations of national repute, offers the best possible system both for the manufacturer and the consumer. Total Quality Control (TQC) consists of quality of planning, quality of design, quality of production, quality of shipment and quality in market as illustrated in the diagram. The first two of these are categories as upstream and the last two as downstream. A useful approach for the production group is: 1) Dont get it (Prevent inadequate design and planning efforts) 2) Dont make it (Prevent errors in manufacture), and 3) Dont send it (Prevent despatch of defective items) The basic seven statistical tools like Pareto Analysis and Fishbone diagram are well-known and are applicable for solving operational problems by Quality Circles. The employees active in QC are trained to use these tools are language driven and used to define and diagnose problems which are not easily quantifiable and help translate the customer requirement into actual product features. INSPECTION: Inspection is one of the very important steps in quality control. There are three important aspects of inspection: 1) Product inspection: It is to ensure that the goods sent into the market for sale are free of defects and conforms to the set standards of quality. 2) Process inspection: It is design to check raw materials, machines, etc. It saves time and wastage of materials and prevents process bottlenecks. 3) Inspection analysis: A careful analysis of inspection results enables entrepreneurs to locate these points in the manufacturing process at which control is breaking down.