Quality Assurance (QA) - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow...

C

corollax

#1
This year I celebrate my 10th year as (Snr) QA Engineer, so I think I’ll write something here. Looking back, QA was so different from what it is today. I remember back in the old days, QA is all mighty & powerful. Our existence makes everyone weak in the knees whenever we come by. We can slap anyone with a CAR without ever lifting an eyelid. We put up procedures and the way to go for everyone is COMPLY.

These days, the business concept has changed, focus is different, and managers are getting younger & more inexperience. QA is now construed more as a trouble-maker in the business process – we are considered a hindrance to the work flow. Raising a discrepancy now involves sweeping it up as well. Innovation is now the excuse for not complying with procedures. Heads now turn to QA for solutions to Production errors, customer complaints, and warranty problems, while everyone else continues with their lives.

It’s quite fortunate I’m adaptable to changes.

Ok, predictions of QA 10 years from now... Hmmm, QA serving coffee, snacks, shoe-shines, and other value-added services…?

Happy working all... :bigwave:
 
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RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
Interesting question and one that is difficult for me to see. "The future cloudy is"...sounds like something Yoda would say.

There will always be someone to deal with complaints and warranties and quality defects...whether or not it's a full time job is, well, up to the company to decide.

I forsee, however, a blending in the future...it's already happening. No longer are fields like Quality, Environment and Safety separate. They contain enough common ground to form the foundation of a Business Management System. I see them working in unison to learn, apply and enhance the tools and methodologies that will help an organization to not only improve but to innovate if they are so inclined.
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
My experience is this. The days of the "QA Police" are pretty well over. Those companies that are designing quality into their products and processes are doing well, those that do not, limp along.

For me, the use of the quality tools has been extremely successful in my job. In a time of layoffs and budget reductions, my employer is becoming more fearful of me leaving than I am fearful of them telling me to leave. The money has been good. Using 75 year old methodologies I am able run circles around most of my detractors, and my detractors are fewer and fewer (with many notable ones having been caught by layoffs). It seems like at this point, the folks I supply charts have less time to tamper with the charts (can't you make it a pie chart? purple? vertical bars?) and see the need to get down to business and deal with the information.
 
C

chiuinggum - 2007

#4
I tend to agreed gone are the days when QA is all mighty. We now dont even stop the line when there is quality issue....we need to ship more units to meet the numbers!!!!
Just how do QA drive quality? Production build, QA buy-off. QA caught defect. Production will rescreen. Less emphasis is given on addressing the root cause. Life goes on.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#5
Steve Prevette said:
Using 75 year old methodologies I am able run circles around most of my detractors, and my detractors are fewer and fewer (with many notable ones having been caught by layoffs).
When he was 90+ years old, George Burns was asked about his ever-present cigars and told that it might be a good idea to quit smoking them. "When I was in my seventies," he replied, "three different doctors told me I had to quit smoking. Two of them are dead now, and the third has been coughing a lot lately."
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#6
I'm really disappointed to hear there is still a sizable portion of producers who "miss the point" Deming and so many others have made since World War II:
"the focus should be on prevention rather than detection"

What seems to have happened is these folks have willingly embraced the concept of reducing the frequency and importance of "detection" of nonconforming material, but haven't made the corresponding transfer to "prevention" of nonconforming material by embracing practices like
  1. Contract Review (does organization have capability and capacity to meet customer requirements?)
  2. FMEA - Failure Mode & Effects Analysis
  3. Root cause analysis (and subsequent Corrective/Preventive Action)
  4. Mistake proofing
  5. Internal audit
  6. Management review
  7. Customer survey and feedback
For forty years, I and hundreds of other Quality advocates have been running around preaching the Gospel, but the Devil seems to have gotten there first and poured wax in the ears of our audiences so they can't hear the message:
"Quality really does benefit the organization!"
 
Q

qualitygoddess - 2010

#7
Yea -- what Wes said.

I for my part am trying to get to the future managers 120 students at a time. In my undergrad business class, I teach those 75 year old fundamentals (we just covered Deming and Juran's work the other day) to up and coming business students. I show them how easy it is to make those charts and graphs, and prove to them that making decisions base don data isn't painful (they do a work-related project). I challenge them to 'go forth and conquer', and teach others that quality improvement is the only certainty for survival in any type of business. I think I convince about half of them to keep their Memory Jogger II books.

It's like the tortoise and the hare. If we just keep plodding along, the right way will prevail.
 
R

ralphsulser

#8
Regardless if we have been cops, coaches, pests,..we have always been teachers of the quality disciplines and how to use the quality tool box.
Some got it, some didn't, some ignored it, some embraced it.
If we have inspired a small percent over the last 40 years then it has been a battle worth the journey. I am amazed today at the number and knowledge of quality professionals. When I started using SPC nobody understood or appreciated the value until shown how to save $$. It is also amazes me that I was considered a quality and SPC guru in the businees I was employed in even now. Heck, I don't know, or forgot a lot of what is available.
It is great to see so many here from around the world deeply involved in improving quality and educating others of the benefits. :yes:
 
C

corollax

#9
I started this post.

After all this years, I'm leaving quality, maybe it's for the time being, i don't know. I really don't like to buy snacks and drinks and serve coffee to auditors and customers anymore. Nobody's looking at root causes and things keep repeating itself. My philosophy of improving quality is not by entertaining auditors or customers, which the management preaches, although I know it's a necessary thing to do these days.

Good luck and happy working!
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#10
After all this years, I'm leaving quality, maybe it's for the time being, i don't know. I really don't like to buy snacks and drinks and serve coffee to auditors and customers anymore. Nobody's looking at root causes and things keep repeating itself. My philosophy of improving quality is not by entertaining auditors or customers, which the management preaches, although I know it's a necessary thing to do these days.
I hope you found a suitable and rewarding occupation. But, when you started this thread a few years ago, you wrote
I remember back in the old days, QA is all mighty & powerful. Our existence makes everyone weak in the knees whenever we come by. We can slap anyone with a CAR without ever lifting an eyelid. We put up procedures and the way to go for everyone is COMPLY.
Sorry, but that approach to quality would never be sustainable. The us versus them approach to quality will never win. NEVER.

At least, your predictions were quite right.
Ok, predictions of QA 10 years from now... Hmmm, QA serving coffee, snacks, shoe-shines, and other value-added services…?
Just keep in mind that your experience does not reflect the whole profession.
 
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