Looking to outsource QA (quality assurance)?
There are many essential business processes like QA testing that need attention. However, some of the tasks involved might be beyond you or your internal team’s capabilities. Whether this is a skill gap or a time constraint, quality assurance simply cannot get done the right way.
Here, we will define QA and QA outsourcing, list some benefits, and provide more information to guide you on your outsourcing journey.
What is QA Outsourcing?
Let’s start by defining these terms separately, then together.
QA or quality assurance, refers to processes and procedures developed and maintained to ensure products or services meet a predetermined standard. Quality assurance encompasses all stages of the production process. This can be from product design, to product development, to product testing, and finally, product delivery.
The purpose of QA is to ensure the reliability, safety and regulatory compliance of delivered products and services.
Outsourcing, involves hiring an outside company to take care of a particular task or entire process for you. The reasons for outsourcing can be numerous and we will talk more about that later.
Therefore, we can say that QA outsourcing involves hiring a third-party to take care of parts of your quality management system. This process includes both quality assurance and quality control.
Wait, aren’t they the same thing?
What’s the Difference Between Quality Control and Quality Assurance?
Because they are parts of quality management, it’s easy to get them confused and use the terms interchangeably. They are both integral to the process, however they are distinct.
Quality assurance is more about creating systems that lead to quality outputs. These systems and the resulting products must align with safety regulations. The products must also, of course, still work as intended. QA is all about creating processes that prevent defects or other quality related problems from happening. You could say part of QA is to make the job of personnel in the QC department much easier. The goal is the quality control seal of approval every time.
On the other hand, quality control is about inspection of the final products. They make sure what they manufacture meets pre-established quality guidelines. QC helps prove the efficacy of your QA system. If something doesn’t pass a QC check, they report it. Then, those in charge of quality management as a whole will come together to evaluate. Then they decide if the issue was a problem with the QA processes they had in place, or something else. Then they make tweaks or develop new processes for improvement to eliminate the issue in the future.
Benefits of Outsourcing QA
Access to Expertise and Experience
Let’s face it, not all of us know how to effectively create a quality check process. This is especially true when it needs to both have few gaps and be compliant with all the rules and regulations. For instance, do you know about ISO 9001 – a set of quality standards set by the International Organization for Standardization? If you don’t know what that is, you’re not alone. Most business owners don’t know much about it beyond the name. And that’s ok. It’s not in your job description or your area of expertise, after all.
The great thing about outsourcing QA and all its processes is that you don’t have to learn all the technicalities of quality management. Someone else has already absorbed and applied this knowledge. They’ve also likely worked with other companies in the past. This means they might even have templates already in place for companies in your industry. You don’t need to invest in years of study or reinvent the wheel!
Flexibility and Scalability
A lot of the time, you don’t need a complete roster of QA personnel to run your quality management department. Other times, you want a solution that can grow and scale together with your business. Maybe you wished your staff or department could get bigger only during certain times of the year. This means that the team would feasibly shrink back when you no longer need all that manpower.
Thankfully, these are all cases that outsourcing can help with. Outsourcing is a much more flexible solution. You get flexible pricing for flexible staffing of an inherently dynamic business and market.
With expertise and experience comes efficiency and effective procedures and SOPs. The experts have studied this. Their teams know what works and what fails, and they’ve learned how to turn failures into successes. They’ve done their research, performed their tests, and know how to apply standard best practices. They know how to follow regulations and guidelines, which they have studied diligently.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
What happens when you:
- Get products out faster
- Create products that are better quality
- Deliver products that are consistently good
That’s right, you get a happy customer and happy investors and stakeholders to boot! A faster Time-to-Market (TTM) means the product gets in front of consumers’ eyes faster. Consistently excellent quality means better reviews and the makings of loyal customer relationships.
Types of QA Outsourcing
We can divide outsourcing into three main types: onshoring, nearshoring, and offshoring. An easy way to understand this is by thinking of the word “shore” as to where your business is located.
- Onshoring – In this case, this is the type of outsourcing where you keep things national. You source outside help anywhere within your city, state, region, or country. One benefit to onshore outsourcing is that you can more easily conduct and be involved in physical inspections.
- Nearshoring – As the name suggests, nearshoring refers to outsourcing to nearby countries. Say you live in the US. Popular nearshoring locations would be Brazil or Mexico. With nearshoring, you do get some of the benefit of proximity and lower costs. However, language barriers are more of a conscious consideration now.
- Offshoring – Offshoring is international. If you are conducting something like software QA outsourcing, you don’t really need to be close to your team. This gives you access to cheaper costs and a larger talent pool. Again, however, you need to factor in cultural, language, and time zone differences.
Another thing to consider when choosing outsourcing types is the potential for insourcing your business processes. Insourcing is when you choose to accomplish in-house a task or process that was previously outsourced. Consider as well that there can be distinct differences in offshoring vs outsourcing.
QA Roles That Can Be Outsourced
The QA team is responsible for developing quality processes, procedures, and checklists and ensuring businesses adhere to them. They are also in charge of testing the efficacy of these processes.
Here are some common job titles in the quality assurance field:
These are the heads of your teams. They usually take on the roles of project managers. The creation, implementation, and monitoring of QA strategies fall under their supervision. They are also involved in training other employees, talking directly with suppliers, and reporting to the higher ups.
These individuals play a key role in the development of QA procedures and protocols. They help develop and improve products and the testing and inspection processes they undergo.
Analysts are responsible for collecting vital data from various stages of the QA process. They use statistics and generate reports to show to QA managers and other team members.
A tester is not only responsible for performing the tests, but is also involved in developing them. They work closely with QA analysts to gather data and create crucial reports.
These individuals check QA systems and investigate potential issues within. They can then also suggest what course of action to take to correct the issues.
When to Outsource QA
There are several reasons why you might consider outsourcing sooner rather than later:
- You have budget constraints or you want to reduce costs.
- You want to improve the quality of your offerings.
- Time is valuable and you want to free some up for yourself and your team.
- You want to make better use of all of your skills and other resources, too, so you can focus on other core business objectives.
- It’s time to fill in the gaps in your existing QA procedures and processes.
- The QA team needs to grow to keep up with all the tasks.
Is QA Outsourcing Cost-Effective?
Cost-effectiveness is the major benefit of outsourcing in general, and QA is no outlier. If you counted the costs connected to hiring full-time in-house QA staff, you may likely choose to outsource QA instead.
To put this into perspective, the salary of a single junior-level quality assurance specialist in the US is upwards of $50,000. That isn’t including all other in-house cost factors like overheads, health and dental benefits, bonuses, recruitment costs, and taxes. So, you could be looking at around $55-60,000/year more accurately. That’s for one worker.
Now most businesses, especially small ones, don’t need that many workers. However, a proper QA team is still necessary if you want to make excellent products consistently.
Some may unknowingly think that QA isn’t all that necessary. But a proper QA system in place will already save you money in the long term. Think of all the potential product returns and rounds of testing you could avoid by doing it properly in the first place.
By outsourcing, you would save money on an already money-saving process. For instance, outsourcing QA does not require tax payments or benefits. QA offshore outsourcing rates could have you saving tens of thousands of dollars annually.
Where Can I Find Reliable People for QA Work?
This can depend on the type of QA outsourcing you go for.
For instance, if you choose to hire in-country, you can search in local directories for potential QA outsourcing service providers.
Additionally, you should determine if you’re looking for QA staff to help with products and services or for software QA outsourcing solutions.
Finding a good outsourcing partner also depends on your niche. For instance, Lodestone is a good option for tech companies who make all kinds of devices like phones, TVs, and more.
It can be much easier to find the right QA team, the more specific you are with your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose the right QA outsourcing provider?
Finding the right fit is all about knowing your needs first.
Here are a few tips:
- Prepare a detailed job description.
- List down what you are looking for in a partner.
- Be diligent in your research.
- Look for portfolios or social proofs.
What is the typical process for outsourcing QA services?
The process for, say, software QA outsourcing or outsourcing QA testing, is similar to most outsourcing processes. The basic steps are bulleted below, and you can always reach out to Outsource School for additional help in this area.
- Identify and specify needs
- Research hires
- Select and finalize details (rate, deadlines, meeting scheds etc.)
- Regular check-in
- Delivery of product/project deadline
- Revisions (if necessary)
What are the potential risks of QA outsourcing, and how can they be mitigated?
There are a few risks of outsourcing.
Like we mentioned, language, cultural, and time zone barriers can be big risks to working relationships and productivity. Communication with remote teams can be challenging. Data risk is also another reason for hesitancy.
Proper research into the company and people you are looking to hire can mitigate a lot of this. Look for companies with excellent reputations, good communication skills, and strong data security measures in place.
Pick countries that work best with your time zone and business hours. Or, make sure that overseas hires are night owls who perform better working the wee hours.
Set up communication channels ASAP and onboard new hires properly to meet your expectations.
What Is Outsource School?
Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.
Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.
Free resources you might like:
- Outsource School Case Study: How We Scaled to 45+ VAs and 8 Figures in Revenue
- Free VA Calculator | See How Many VAs You Can Afford
- Free Training on 5 Keys to Working With VAs
- Learn Outsourcing 101 | Guides, Downloads, and Checklists
If you’re looking to outsource QA, you’re looking at a worthwhile investment. Save time, money, and gain the respect and loyalty of your customers. So, don’t let us hold you up. Go and make this smart business move!