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A director of quality or quality assurance is responsible for maintaining or improving the quality of goods and services that are produced or provided by an organization. In many instances, directors attempt to improve quality in order to improve a firm's standing with the result that the business can increase its market share. Additionally, many countries have laws that impose basic production standards on manufacturers and the director of quality is responsible for ensuring that these basic standards are met.
Many service providers such as insurance firms, banks and satellite television companies employ a director of quality and task that individual with improving overall levels of customer service. The director must liaise with departmental managers to address consumer complaints about faulty products or inadequate services but the director is mainly focused on ensuring that company employees provide high levels of customer service. At some firms, the director will institute company wide rules that require all employees to use certain phrases and to handle customer issues in a uniform way. The director may contract an outside marketing firm to conduct customer satisfaction surveys and then use data from those surveys to formulate new rules and policies pertaining to customer service.
In some countries, airlines, railway operators and various types of manufacturers are required to conduct regular safety checks and ensure that vehicles and equipment are in working order. The director of quality must implement internal control programs such as vehicle checklists and arrange training for employees so that everyone understands safety regulations. In some instances, the director may enter into consultations with government regulators or firms that specialize in new technology in order to find new ways to improve safety standards. Businesses that deviate from safety standards are subject to penalties in many countries and the director quality has to ensure that the company maintains high standards so that no penalties are imposed.
Government agencies sometimes hire directors of quality to oversee healthcare programs, school districts and other types of publicly funded schemes. The director has to analyze data such as school grades or hospital safety standards to ensure that quality services are provided. Aside from improving overall standards, the director may also have to find ways to increase efficiency and to cut costs.
The director of quality may have a permanent seat on the board of the company in which case the director reports to the company chairman or Chief Executive Officer (CEO). A director who works for a government entity may have to report directly to a high ranking public official. Depending on the size of the organization, the director may preside over a workforce that includes several tiers of managers and employees. The director normally only has the responsibility for hiring and firing employees who report to the director.