Accession Number : ADA313504

Title :   Best Practices: Commercial Quality Assurance Practices Offer Improvements for DoD.

Corporate Author : GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL A FFAIRS DIV

PDF Url : ADA313504

Report Date : 26 AUG 1996

Pagination or Media Count : 37

Abstract : The Department of Defense (DOD) spends about $1.5 billion extra per year on military-unique quality assurance requirements for major acquisitions and billions more on cost and schedule overruns to correct problems caused partly by poor quality practices. To help improve DOD'S quality assurance program, we reviewed world-class commercial organizations to determine what practices they had adopted to more efficiently produce quality products. Specifically, this report describes (1) the historical problems DOD has had in improving quality assurance practices, (2) some private sector practices that could benefit DOD, and (3) a current plan for improving quality assurance activities. Quality assurance has a simple goal: to ensure that products perform the way they are supposed to. For many years, the traditional way DOD and commercial companies achieved quality was through systematic final inspection. But now, intense competition has led some U.S. companies to adopt total quality management practices that are prevention based. Consequently, quality assurance has taken on a broader meaning, to include virtually all key design and engineering elements during development, the transition to production, and production itself. There is general agreement across government and industry that DOD'S inspection-based quality assurance practices have added unnecessary costs to acquisitions because they require DOD and contractor personnel and resources for oversight that are separate from the production process. Until recently, DOD'S quality requirements were based on MIL-Q-9858A, a military standard established in 1963. This standard requires a contractor to establish a quality program with documented procedures and processes that are subject to approval by government representatives throughout all areas of contract performance.

Descriptors :   *DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, *ACQUISITION, *MILITARY STANDARDS, *QUALITY ASSURANCE, *MILITARY PROCUREMENT, REQUIREMENTS, INDUSTRIES, COMMERCE, CONTRACTS, MANAGEMENT, PRODUCTION, MONITORING, CONTRACTORS, COSTS, ENGINEERING, HISTORY, INSPECTION, TRANSITIONS.

Subject Categories : Administration and Management
      Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE