Quality Assurance in Procurement

Understanding the role of quality assurance within the procurement operation will single-handedly unlock your entire supply chain for success.

Procurement is the gateway into your supply chain. It goes without saying that quality assurance in your procurement process is a key principle to ensuring success throughout the supply chain. 


Every step in your procurement journey is towards ensuring the delivery of high-quality products. From sourcing for the perfect suppliers to managing the suppliers and setting up robust quality control measures. 

However, procurement can be quite complex. This complex nature is what makes successfully navigating it a complicated process. Especially when it concerns the quality of goods and services in the supply chain.

With this guide, you will explore the importance, principles, and strategies for quality assurance in your procurement, ensuring the overall supply chain management can deliver the right product to its customers.



The Importance of Quality Assurance in Procurement

Quality assurance is often viewed as the backbone of any good procurement process. This view of QA is not far-fetched by any means and details the overarching importance of quality throughout the supply chain.

QA ensures that all procured goods and services meet the required standards and specifications. This adherence to required standards ultimately leads to customer satisfaction and organizational growth. 

By incorporating quality assurance into your procurement process, you can minimize the risk of receiving substandard goods, reduce costly rejections and returns, and enhance your supply chain or business reputation.

QA also plays a crucial role in regulatory compliance, ensuring your procurement processes align with industry standards and legal requirements. 

Prioritizing QA in today’s fast-paced and changing business climate gives your supply chain a competitive advantage by empowering it to produce outstanding products continuously.


Key Principles of Quality Assurance in Procurement

To achieve excellence in quality assurance within procurement, it is essential to adhere to key principles that drive success. First and foremost, 

  1. Communication: Clear communication between your procurement team and suppliers is crucial. Effective communication ensures your suppliers clearly understand expectations, requirements, and specifications. 
  2. Transparency: This is a vital principle in quality assurance. Establishing transparent sourcing processes, documentation, and holding suppliers accountable for their performance can maintain a high level of quality throughout the procurement journey. 
  3. Continuous improvement: It ensures your procurement process strives to improve and become better. By regularly reviewing, assessing procurement processes and implementing corrective actions, your SCM can drive quality enhancements and gain a competitive edge.
  4. Compliance: Procurement is the starting point of the supply chain, but the consumers are the endpoint. Compliance with industry standards and quality regulations ensures your procurement process is on the right track to meet consumer expectations
  5. Standardization: Quality standardization in the procurement process empowers all stakeholders to aspire to quality through the procurement journey.



Guidelines to Ensuring Quality in Procurement for African Supply Chains

Many supply chains in Africa struggle with ensuring quality in their procurement process. However, with these guidelines, they can significantly improve their QA.


Step 1: Define clear quality requirements

You must have a clear quality requirement if you expect stakeholders to adhere to quality in the procurement process. Set up requirements and specifications for goods and services purchased for the supply chain. To clearly define this, you must conduct a need analysis and identify the critical quality attributes that must be met.


Step 2: Identify and select reliable suppliers

You will need reliable suppliers to achieve quality assurance in your procurement process. This is the next step of the process. It involves evaluating suppliers’ strengths, capabilities, past performance, weaknesses, and quality management systems. Identifying the right supplier goes a long to ensure success in your procurement journey.


Step 3: Clearly communicate expectations

You have your suppliers, but you need to make sure they are on the same page as you. This can be majorly achieved through clear communication. You can do this through training, seminars, and contractual agreements outlining expectations, including quality, delivery, and overall performance.


Step 4: Regular monitoring

You may have selected the right supplier and communicated your expectations clearly to them. Ideally, these should be enough, but unfortunately, that is far from the case. Vendors tend to slip when you do not monitor their performance. Therefore, regular monitoring and inspection will go a long way to ensure continued adherence to set quality standards.


Step 5: Corrective Mechanisms

You can expect non-conformity, but with effective mechanisms in place, you can ensure that corrective actions are taken promptly to maintain quality through the procurement process.


Quality Assurance Tools and Techniques for Procurement

To ensure quality in your procurement process, you can utilize various tools and techniques to support the implementation of quality assurance in procurement. 

  1. Supplier scorecards
  2. Supplier audits 
  3. Statistical process control (SPC) techniques 
  4. Quality control charts
  5. Root cause analysis
  6. Six Sigma methodologies


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Quality Assurance in Procurement

Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and evaluate the success of quality assurance in your procurement process is critical. 

These KPIs will provide useful insights into the performance of your procurement process and the quality of goods and services procured. 

Some common KPIs you should include are on-time delivery, supplier defect rate, customer satisfaction, lead time, and cost of poor quality.


Continuous Improvement in Quality Assurance for Procurement Process in Africa

Most businesses in Africa are still in the early stages of developing quality assurance in procurement. It is a continual process that demands careful dedication to continuous improvement and refining of the process.

African businesses must cultivate a culture of continual improvement and innovation throughout the organization to attain the same level of QA in their procurement process as the rest of the world. They can accomplish this by encouraging employees to identify ways to improve quality and efficiency.

However, it doesn’t stop with the employees. Suppliers often play a more important role. Regular reviews and assessments of procurement processes, supplier performance, and customer input should be done to identify improvement opportunities. 

A systematic approach to continuous improvement will enable businesses and their supply chains to create incremental improvements, stay ahead of the competition, and ensure long-term quality assurance success.


FAQs on Quality Assurance in Procurement


Q1: What are the common quality assurance methods used in procurement?

The following are common mediums of quality assurance used in procurement:

  •  Supplier scorecards
  • Supplier audits
  • Statistical process control (SPC) techniques
  • Quality control charts
  • Root cause analysis
  • Six Sigma methodologies


Q2: What challenges do organizations face in implementing quality assurance in procurement?

The following are typical challenges an organization may face when implementing QA in procurement:

  • Identifying and selecting dependable suppliers who can fulfil quality standards consistently
  • Setting up robust quality control methods and procedures
  • Managing and monitoring supplier performance to ensure quality requirements are met
  • Overcoming cultural and linguistic hurdles with international suppliers
  • The expense of quality assurance efforts must be balanced against the required degree of quality.
  • Constantly changing industry standards and regulatory requirements
  • Ensure that the procurement and quality assurance teams communicate and collaborate consistently.


Q3: What are the four C’s of quality management

The four C’ of quality management are clarity, curiosity, culture, and candour.



In today’s competitive corporate environment, quality assurance in procurement is a critical factor for success. Putting quality first throughout the procurement process can reduce risks, improve customer happiness, and drive organizational growth. 

Implementing a strong quality assurance program, having clear processes and accountability measures, and utilizing tools and techniques can all help firms achieve quality assurance excellence. 

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