A study from The Everest Group discovered that 73% of companies failed at providing any business value from their digital transformation process. What these companies found is that while digital transformation may provide a large number of operational advantages, it is still a process riddled with potholes and diversions. Without clear goals and adequate systems in place, the natural propensity is for companies to have more pains than gains – wasting their resources in the process. In this article, we look at the concept of quality assurance and the effective role it plays as an enabler of successful digitalization.
What is quality assurance?
According to ISO 9000, quality assurance is a ‘part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled’. The American Society for Quality defines it as ‘all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfil requirements for quality.’
When an organization is implementing digital solutions, quality assurance supports and facilitates the achievement of its quality goals. It also ensures that the digital platform is of the required standard and suited to practically contribute to the business goals. With quality assurance, organizations can maximize ROI from their digital transformation.
How does quality assurance aid digital transformation?
Quality assurance can be the difference between successful digitalization that yields concrete value to a business or a failed effort where time and money spent is unjustified. The platform’s quality – in a digitalized business – has a great bearing on the resulting quality of working models, the achievement (or not) of the digitalization goals, and its eventual service delivery. With a quality platform, sustainability along the transformation journey is assured.
Investing in quality assurance should be a given for every digital transformation. Moving a step further, organizations may even create a dedicated quality assurance department that defines the right products, services, and methods for their digitalization.
Early on, the quality assurance department can help resolve issues that are discovered: issues that if left unresolved will have scuppered the process in the long run. These issues may range from a silo mentality to effective strategies for running pilot tests en route to digitalization.
Also, the quality assurance department may run thorough tests on the applications and vendors to be integrated. This will allow them to detect flaws ever before they get into the platform. Here, the co-working relationship between digital transformation and quality assurance is evident in that the process of testing is actually (and best) conducted via digital technologies i.e., automation and artificial intelligence. The manual alternative is often too expensive, laborious, and time-wasting.
Here are just some ways quality assurance aids digital transformations:
- Data security
- Product quality and customer satisfaction
- Time and monetary gains
In 2017, there were 620 data breaches in the US manufacturing industry, making up one-third of all reported data breaches during this period.
In 2016, the year before manufacturing data breaches hit a record high in the United States, FACC, the aircraft manufacturer and supplier whose clientele list includes Boeing, were victims of a ‘whaling’ cyber-attack. The hackers managed to cart away around $54 million by pretending to be the company’s CEO. And in 2010, Royal Dutch Shell suffered a related; if less costly breach, when the sensitive data of over 170,000 employees was stolen via an internal cyberattack.
These examples show the importance of prioritizing quality in platform solutions. Sometimes, the platform solution aiding a manufacturer’s digitalization may be free of flaws, but the integrated vendors and service providers could be at risk. Part of the responsibility of a quality assurance team is to thoroughly test any potential application so that the inherent flaw will not affect the integrity of the entire system.
Moreover, subsequent testing can be periodically conducted at the application and network level. This way, any new issues that will compromise the organization’s data or system performance can be resolved quickly before they can be exploited and weaponized by malicious actors.
Product quality and customer satisfaction
Quality assurance helps to cultivate an internal quality culture that will invariably translate to a higher and more consistent quality of products. The digitally-enabled quality checkpoint along a factory’s production path, having now been subjected to quality assurance, will work better to detect flaws along this path. Consequently, the quality standard of the factory’s products will be higher, and with production now ‘quality assured’, the pace will be faster.
For manufacturers embarking on last-mile digitalization, the journey should not only involve operational field processes, but should have a solid element of customer-centricity – covering areas like customer service, end product sales, and marketing. This will allow them to measure (and improve) end-user satisfaction via feedback and reviews.
Moreover, during the transition to digitalization: when the company is refurbishing its infrastructure and replacing its obsolete processes with streamlined models, quality assurance is vital to ensure that there is no drop off in the quality of products that get to the customers.
Time and monetary gains
Quality assurance adds value to a factory’s cycle time– the time required to complete the production of one unit, and its lead time – the time between when an order is initiated and completed. Reducing the former boosts revenue, provided there is demand for the product, and reducing the latter enhances a factory’s reputation.
Also, by pinpointing the batch where product defects begin during a production cycle, digitalized testing systems markedly reduce the probability of a flawed product making its way into the hands of the consumers. This helps the factory to avoid costly reworks and recalls; including the litigation, reputational damage, and negative perception that these may bring.
Maximl’s Connected Worker Platform for Quality Assurance
Maximl’s no code platform hosts a suite of digital solutions to help organizations set benchmarks and monitor quality compliance. Quality Managers can conduct quality assurance inspections on the go and share reports with stakeholders at the click of a button. Learn more about Quality Assurance with our Connected Worker Platform.