Running head: MANAGEMENT OF PRODUCTION AND OPERATIONS Management of Production and Operations [Author’s Name] [Class] 03 July 2011 Abstract Quality assurance in production and operations is one of the most popular topics of professional research…
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The paper explores the main quality assurance practices and their relevance in contemporary manufacturing facilities. Controversies over using popular quality assurance systems are discussed. Keywords: production, manufacturing, operations, quality assurance, ISO. Management of Production and Operations Quality assurance remains one of the most popular topics in production and operations management research. Sophisticated standards of quality and increased complexity of manufacturing operations render scientific approach to quality assurance valid and justified. Much has been written and said about the best and most desired practices in quality assurance. Yet, despite recent advancements in quality assurance systems, their benefits are at best controversial. It is widely acknowledged that the use of ISO systems by manufacturing enterprises adds weight to their corporate image and reputation. Such production organizations are believed to provide better quality of products and services, than their industry competitors. Unfortunately, the use of ISO quality assurance systems in production and operations does not ensure their functionality in particular organizational environments; as a result, firms must pay particular attention to how broadly accepted quality assurance practices affect their production operations and whether they meet customer expectations in terms of the quality of the ultimate product. Quality Assurance: Why, When, and How? How to define quality assurance is a complex question. However, it would be fair to assume that quality assurance in production and operations will be mostly the same as in other fields of management. According to the EU guidelines, quality assurance is “a wide-ranging concept which covers all matters which individually or collectively influence the quality of a product” (McCormick, 2002, p.27). Simply put, quality assurance is essentially about ensuring that the product meets the basic standards of quality. Quality assurance in production and operations is an efficient management tool that enhances the quality of organizational decisions (McCormick, 2002). In contractual situations, quality assurance systems give customers “a feeling of confidence in the quality of the ultimate product” (McCormick, 2002). Quality assurance is impossible without the availability of the entire complex system of quality assurance operations, which describe all steps to be taken to achieve the desired quality standards (McCormick, 2002). More often than not, manufacturing organizations run their own departments of quality assurance and control. However, even then, quality assurance is the process that involves all organizational members and not the only unit of QA professionals. All members of the manufacturing organization can affect the quality of the ultimate product; as a result, the organization in its entirety is responsible for the quality of its operations, leading to the development of a superior quality product (McCormick, 2002). It should be noted, that the history of quality assurance dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, rapid industrialization and expansion of industrial enterprises required the development of new, more sophisticated quality procedures. At that time, quality of products was defined as their fitness for purpose (Chitale & Gupta, 2007). Most quality assurance procedures were limited to quality control at the beginning and the end of the manufactur
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