The evolution from QA to BA

The range of duties a QA manager has is continuously expanding. In addition to quality management, the QA manager also has to deal with the environment, health and safety, food fraud and integrity, food defense, the logistics chain, CSR, business optimization, etc. As a result, the QA manager is increasingly moving towards a BA or Business Assurance manager. Geert-Jan Rens, Senior Consultant Business Assurance and Lotte Schrauwen, Senior Consultant and Trainer at KTBA, a Mérieux NutriSciences Company explain this evolution.

Companies are more and more confronted with higher demands and expectations from their key stakeholders. They expect companies to know and take up their responsibilities, and the QA manager plays an increasingly important role in this. “If you look purely at the QA part, it concerns the implementation of quality systems, procedures, and working agreements with regard to food safety & quality, conducting internal audits, and so on. But it doesn’t end there. During strategic projects, the QA manager’s role is becoming increasingly important as well. It is then no longer just about food quality & safety, but also about all improvement aspects of the company. QA is becoming more and more integrated into the bigger picture, which is why it evolves into BA”, Schrauwen notes.

Transparent chain

Two themes that have recently become more important are food fraud and food defense, she continues. “All fraud risks of the product and the supply chain must be mapped out and managed. There is also a growing awareness that companies cannot always control everything themselves , as external factors can also influence quality and food safety. Nevertheless, the aim is to also have the chain as transparent as possible in order to be able to continue to guarantee quality. Digitization and data management are therefore becoming much more important.”

Data quality

This awareness is also fully present within companies, adds colleague Rens. “I once stated in a presentation that the data quality of a product is just as important as the quality of a product itself. The audience fully agreed with this. This wasn’t necessarily the case a couple of years ago. Thanks to reliable data quality and the exchange of data, companies can better respond to the market. This leads to higher product quality, more transparency in the chain and better integration of the processes in a larger whole.”

Senior management

Schrauwen: “When you have insight into your data, you also know where you stand as a company. From there on you can implement your process improvements and apply your improvement management. The QA manager knows the company through and through, because quality runs throughout the company. He is therefore a good discussion partner to help shape company-wide improvement processes with senior management. And if you get senior management on board, the entire organization will evolve along with it to take food quality & safety to a higher level.”

Geert-Jan Rens

Senior Consultant Business Assurance at KTBA

Lotte Schrauwen

Senior Consultant and Trainer at KTBA

Culture and business

The complexity increases due to this integrated approach, leading to qaulity assurance developing into business assurance. Rens: “As different aspects of business operations are connected and you look more integrally at quality, it potentially becomes more complex. But what is complex is not necessarily difficult. There are various methods and techniques that can create clarity and provide better insight and transparency. Also, as a company you do not have to do everything on your own. Some companies take up the gauntlet themselves, others opt for external support.”

Schrauwen: “As KTBA, we ourselves visit many companies in various sectors. This allows us to include best practices and encourage companies to look at their own business processes through a different lens. We can add knowledge that is not available within a company, for example because of its size. As a company you, of course, focus on your core business. By calling on external parties, you can broaden your perspective and gain insights into other working methods and approaches to possibly shape things in a different – better – way.”

MaQAzine 13

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