A reputable manufacturer should have a team in place that continually audits incoming materials and outgoing products. These efforts ensure that your dispatch team receives intact, top-quality, durable and beautiful workstations. Read on to meet the Watson Consoles Quality Crew.
Supporting dispatch workstation customers and builders, alike
The quality and durability of our products is of utmost importance. Our customers, those who help keep us safe, should be able to do their jobs without having to worry about their dispatch console workstations.
Quality assurance and quality control
The Watson Consoles Quality Team ensures that manufacturing teams have high-performing materials and that you, in turn, receive the highest quality product. Meet Randy Mercado (pictured right), Quality and Safety Engineering Manager, and Kenadi Allen, Quality Inspector (pictured below). They lead quality assurance and improvement efforts at Watson Consoles.
Q & A WITH WATSON CONSOLES’ Team leads
We recently sat down with Randy Mercado to gain a deeper understanding of the quality control process, what it entails, and what it means for Watson as a whole.
Q: Tell us about your role in quality control.
A: My role encompasses both quality control and quality assurance. I’m responsible for designing, implementing and maintaining the Watson (Quality) Management System (WMS). As the WMS Quality Manager, I’m responsible for the adherence to ISO: 9001 certifications. I'm also responsible for implementing and improving process controls.
Q: What do you enjoy most about the process.
A: What I enjoy most is the opportunity to learn about the science of Quality and being to apply the appropriate methodologies based on the organization's needs. I equally enjoy working w/ people in improving processes that better the overall quality of our company.
Q: What gains has Watson made as the result of the quality control program.
A: We've make gains annually as the result of a formal quality program including these highlights:
- Solidifying our Supplier Correction Action Request (SCAR) process which has resulted in the successful closure of 6 cases since April of 2017.
- Implemented a formal receiving inspection process that has prevented non-conforming material from being received and processed.
- Established various line inspection processes to test the critical characteristics of a part or product.
- Reduced the number order shipments with missing or incorrect hardware components.
- Created a practical visual quality standard that improves our production consistency.
- Formalized a non-conforming material system procedure that describes how to segregate, mark & handle non-conforming parts.
With these activities, the quality department has reduced the occurrence of non-conformance and defects.
Q: Regarding consoles in particular, why are quality inspections so important?
A: Strategic inspections are an important quality process to an organization dedicated to delivering the best product for their customers. With regards to consoles, these inspections alert management of non-conformances. They are immediately investigated and determined if they're fit-for-use.
Consoles are systems products, meaning they consist of multiple assembly and systems, which aren't consolidated until final assembly. Our production investigation process considers the whole system to determine whether a non-conformance will have a negative impact on the customer or whether it is fit-for-use.
Q: How often are quality checks performed?
A: We have in-place inspection processes at key areas in our production line. We communicate the quality plan and Critical-to-Quality (CTQs) to all production leads. This improves the awareness of all our team members of the expected quality for the parts they make. We also have a QC inspector who performs strategic First-Pass-Yield (FPY) inspections at a few key processes daily.
Q: What are you looking for during your quality checks?
A: Well, “quality checks” means inspections. Inspection criteria vary based on material and processes. In general, we inspect for cosmetic flaws, functionality, completeness of work, fit & finish, dimensional accuracy, and robustness.
Q: What is involved in an order pre-build?
A: Only in the highest degree and in rare cases that we do order pre-builds. Frankly, we neither have the staffing nor a budget to perform an order pre-build in all console orders. However, ordinarily, an order pre-build consists of scheduling the pre-build for inspection. We inspect for the correctness of finish & color, full functionality of the complete console, completeness of the order, fit & finish, and a myriad of other things.
Q: What is on the horizon as you continue to build and refine the quality process?
A: We plan to implement a process of setting requirements for material and components from suppliers. We are also going to be establishing a vendor quality rating for our top suppliers, which will consist of reporting and refining the corrective action policy procedure.
Why this Project Matters
Each of our products are designed to benefit the operators and technicians that interface with them. Our products are engineered to be a durable asset, provide functional value, and to deliver a design punch. Our company culture supports our design methodology in that people come to work at Watson Consoles because it’s a company where individuals affect positive change. Making products better for our customers AND more sustainable really happens. This is one of the benefits of manufacturing right here in Poulsbo, WA. We have visibility and hands-on control over design, materials, manufacturing, and fit-and-finish.
TO YOUR PSAP
Mission critical and life-saving work deserves the support of all vendors, top to bottom. Understanding the work challenges PSAP teams face is critical to delivering solutions that improve a team’s effectiveness. The dispatcher workstation provides a steady platform for the equipment and tools dispatchers rely on, daily. Watson Consoles delivers workstations that support a low-stress, focused and healthful work experience for the mission critical communications professional.