Initial Thought behind this Debate
Needless to mention, Quality management is one of the most important and critical component of Project management. With the rapid changing business environments, organizations are always striving to attract their customers by meeting their expectations. Customer satisfaction is trending to be the key focus area in many organizations. Evolution of the dedicated & formal Customer Service (CS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) team, Relationship Manager role, Customer Royalty Program are few of the outcomes of the said focus area. Hence organizations are now leaving no stones unturned in devising their business strategies in line with the customer expectation. Product and service quality along with Quality management as a whole is playing a vital role in ensuring total customer satisfaction.
What Most of the Customer wants?
Most of the customers always consider 3 main factors while selecting or shortlisting any products or services. Typically these 3 factors are high quality product/service, competitive pricing and fast delivery. However it is extremely hard to meet all these 3 expectations at the same time and hence most of the organizations seem struggling to deliver all 3 requirements and end up delivering by meeting either 1 or 2 factors. However by having an effective quality management process in place will enhance the probability of overcoming the said challenges and organizations can always make a suitable trade off among the 3 expectations as per customer priority. So the big question is which process of quality management to prioritize to experience the desired outcome? Should it be Quality assurance or Control quality?
Quality Assurance Vs. Control Quality
Quality assurance is about processes whereas Control quality is about products. Quality assurance is mostly proactive whereas Control quality is mostly reactive. Quality assurance happens as soon as the project starts and continues throughout the project whereas Control quality mostly happens towards the end of the project. Quality assurance is mostly related to prevention and Control quality is mostly related to inspection.
Although both are very essential for the desired outcome, it is preferable to assign higher weightage to Quality assurance then Control quality. It is believed that Prevention is better than Inspection. By prevention, we not only minimize the risk of any issues but also reduce the time, effort and cost investment in dealing with the issues. Although quality threat can be identified by performing both Quality assurance and Control quality, the impact and loss is always higher if it is detected later. By Quality assurance we not only identify any quality threat at the beginning but also minimize the impact and loss of those quality threat by taking proactive and appropriate actions before the threat is significant. Hence Quality assurance should definitely be paid special attention while implementing any Quality management system or process.