The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) is the organisation that is responsible for ensuring the quality of a wide range of military hardware at the time of their procurement. This is a very old organisation and has evolved over a period of time to meet the aspirations of its customers. However, since the introduction of Defence Procurement Procedure it has invited lot of criticism from its users due to the delays caused in procurements and attributable to Quality Assurance (QA), as also the introduction of sub-standard equipment in service.
A closed loop feedback system for ensuring the quality of the Army equipment exists. Notwithstanding this, a number of Army equipment show a high failure rate at crucial times and are, therefore, a matter of great concern. These failed equipment have resulted in a number of avoidable casualties as well as restricted operational planning by tactical commanders in the field due to the non-availability of equipment for deployment, which results from their low reliability or high rates of failure.
In order to achieve self reliance in defence production, enhancement of indigenous private industry’s role in R&D of defence systems is inevitable. Accordingly, amendments to the DPP-2011have been approved. Along with all other stakeholders, the DGQA too needs to gear up for the challenges this new policy is going to present.
Parameters, dimensions and operational requirements specified by the user must be evaluated exclusively by the user trial team, while DGQA must concentrate only on the testing of quality encompassing the product design, the material used and the manufacturing process in addition to the environmental testing of the product under simulated conditions.
This article gives an overview of the evolution of Quality Assurance (QA) in army procurements as also various shortcomings in the contemporary principles and practices that cause delays in procurements and their possible solutions. The list of shortcomings is not exhaustive; however, due care has been taken to bring out the most important ones which need immediate attention. The causal factors of these shortcomings have been analysed and recommendations to overcome them have also been listed to make the QA practice more efficient and minimize delays due to QA.
NCNC trials in capital procurements have been found to restrain quality participation in the tender process and in turn defeat the purpose of quality acquisition of military hardware through competitive bidding. This calls for a review of the practice.
A possible solution to preventing any avoidable increase in the lead-time of procurement caused by the voids/lacunae in the GSQRs is to put in place an expert system that is equipped with adequate Knowledge Base (KB) and Management Information System (MIS).