Quality Assurance is a crucial component of production, quality control, and manufacturing profitability. Without a reliable quality control system, products may not meet specifications or be delivered on time due to errors made during quality assurance or poor quality management. Likewise, if the supply chain contains unproductive units, products may not be received on schedule because of delays brought on by unavailability of materials. Quality assurance involves the management of defective and non-conforming materials throughout the entire supply chain.
Quality Assurance encompasses numerous activities, each contributing towards a successful and robust supply chain. First, the provider must verify the materials and devices being used by the customer during the manufacturing process, and then, test and check for any flaws. Next, they must develop a plan for defect resolution, conduct demonstrations to educate suppliers on the company's quality standards, and train them to perform according to the company's specifications. The plan also must include a procedure for on-site inspection and sampling. Finally, a supply chain must be monitored for inventory, delivery, and receipt of finished goods.
In addition to Quality Assurance, there are several elements of the purchasing process that must be addressed. The most critical step in the purchasing process is the manufacturer's inventory management. The purchase includes both the delivery and return of merchandise. Additionally, the inventory management system must track inventory, determine cost effective methods for replenishment, and monitor the supply and reoccurring costs of maintaining and collecting inventories. Other key terms that must be understood during the procurement of inventory include pricing, sourcing, and pricing documentation.