Quality Assurance Audits: Quality Assurance Essay

Quality Assurance: Quality Assurance Audits

Quality Assurance Auditing

Quality assurance audits are conducted to test the degree of effectiveness of a manufacturer or service provider’s quality management system (Russell, 2013). In other words, they are used to assess the extent to which an organization’s practices comply with its quality requirements. The principle behind quality audits is that organizations ought to put in place thorough procedures/quality controls for their entire set of processes, and these procedures should help organizations realize the desired degree of quality. A quality assurance audit will, therefore, compare the organization’s actual procedures against these ‘desired’ procedures to determine whether the latter have been properly defined, communicated, controlled, and implemented within the various departments in the organization (Russell, 2013). Upon completion of the audit, the audit team is required to give its honest opinion on whether the organization’s practices align with its quality requirements; if not, the team ought to indicate the extent of deviation and propose suitable correctional measures (Russell, 2013). This text presents i) a hypothetical situation that calls for the conduction of a quality assurance audit, and ii) the corresponding audit checklist that could be used to guide the same.

The Situation

A meat manufacturing facility wishes to assess whether its safety and production procedures are being properly adhered to (ADT Business Solutions, 2011). It seeks to use the findings of this assessment to improve its reputation, and position itself better in the target market. Three key areas — worker productivity, plant cleanliness, and food safety – have been identified for analysis. Managers have proposed an external quality assessment audit to determine the degree to which employees comply with the facility’s quality procedures. Late last year, the facility installed secret video cameras at different areas within the organization to monitor employee actions. This was after one of its competitors filed a food safety complaint that the company’s vats contained foreign objects, an accusation that tarnished the company’s reputation and almost led to its closure. Managers believe that by reviewing these video recordings, the audit team would be able to monitor employees’ compliance with the facility’s food handling procedures, equipment maintenance regulations, and evening shift cleaning procedures; and consequently, advise the facility’s management on what specific measures to take to rebuild the company’s reputation (ADT Business Solutions 2011).

Audit Drivers and Description

As already mentioned, the audit will analyze employee practices in three key areas — worker productivity, plant cleanliness, and food safety. The specific objectives to be achieved in each of the four drivers are presented in table 1 below:

Table 1: Audit Description

Driver

Description/Audit Objective

Impact

Worker productivity

To verify whether workers are properly-trained in health/safety matters

Increased compliance

Plant cleanliness

To verify whether employees are cleaning production areas and machines at the appropriate time

Increased food safety…

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