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What is a QA Manager?

Updated on July 8, 2011

The term QA manager or Quality Assurance manager represents the quality authority in an organization. To be successful individuals in this position must have the support and backing of upper tier management when decisions are made related to quality issues. The extent of the authority of a QA manager depends on how an organization is structured but they should have the freedom to make sure operations are in compliance with contractual and quality principles. When problems surface with products or processes they need to have the flexibility to take appropriate action to bring the situation into compliance.

Managers of this type are critical to the success of an organization or company. They represent the quality principles in place and how they are addressed. Companies who have good managers in this aspect will succeed provided they have good products and services their customers want or need.

Part of the function and responsibility of a QA manager is the establishment of a quality system or its revision as appropriate when conditions and requirements change. These include procedures, process instructions, work instructions, inspection instructions, planning and training which includes any required certifications and comparing them with all applicable requirements. Other examples may involve new customers or suppliers. Having new customers and/or suppliers creates the need to adjust operations satisfy any additional requirements. Customers want products and services to meet their needs and expectations as promoted by a company. It is the responsibility of the quality manager along with others to make sure these expectations are met. Suppliers also have an impact to a finished product or service and as such processes are needed to validate they understand and are in compliance with all requirements levied by their customer.

Auditing programs are also a necessity and a responsibility of this position. Audits need to be of both types scheduled and unscheduled. Resources need to be in place to make sure operations run smoothly along with the resources to address any unexpected issues on a moment’s notice. A QA manager must have this capability.

Basically a QA manager is the ambassador for an organization and how they manage the quality requirements will impact a customer’s perception on how a company is run. This includes providing a perspective as to what the company feels is important quality or getting a product out the door. Managers at any level should never be placed in a situation to choose between quality and shipping a product. The position of a quality manager is not for everyone. An individual must have the capability and knowledge to understand quality principles in relation to the products or service the company or organization is providing. Individuals must also have the capability to present their case in any given situation to ensure the right decisions by upper management takes place if they do not have the last authority in any situation.


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