Quality Through the Eyes of an Engineer & Sales Manager
Quality in Engineering
Without even knowing it we perceive the world around us through a lens of quality. Our awareness of this varies based on risk. We judge the quality of the car we drive with a sharper lens than the path beneath our feet. The increased risk pulls our attention more.
Quality as defined by the ISO 8402-1986 standard:
“The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.”
Gauging quality is often a subconscious process. It only comes to our attention when we sense something is off. For example, it’s easy to know if you should not drink the expired milk. Finding the negative is easy, learning to find the positive is a real skill. Like any skill it takes experience, trials and errors.
What does quality mean in engineering/business? Accuracy, reliability, repeatability? Really, it’s everything. Quality covers the entire experience in our use of products and services to our experience dealing with suppliers.
Quality is knowing you can rely on your supplier when you need that little bit more or the quicker turn around in a pinch. Sometimes quality is knowing that the answer you get is backed by knowledge and experience rather than empty promises.
When we order from suppliers. We ask for specifications but look for quality. Does this meet my needs? Can I be served in a timely fashion? How does this compare to my other options?
Quality in Sales
As consumers, quality plays a big part in our decision to continue using a product or service. It gives us confidence when we seek out the same quality and disappoints us greatly when those standards that we are accustomed to are somehow lacking or diminished? Quality is key in how a brand can grow. Good quality can make a brand grow, while bad quality will see business dwindle. Who wants to be associated with a brand that has quality issues? My position as Sales Manager, means quality is an integral part of the success of a business. It will be the reason customers are loyal and willing to work with you when there is an issue. It will create avenues for recurring business that we all want.
Perseverance along with a collective goal by a company and its employees to be quality minded, will allow any service provider to be recognized as a key supplier. I have the pleasure in meeting many businesses that hold a high standard of quality. Some with just a handful of employees while others being worldwide conglomerates. Each has its own approach to quality, but the goal is basically the same. Quality can sum up what others feel about your business with statements such as They are a “quality outfit” or a “good quality business”. This gathers the various elements like OTD (on-time delivery), communication, customer service, quality assurance and cost into the overall brand of the business or service. Quality in the workplace is very apparent once you have seen numerous facilities. Those that have the machines clean, the tools in place, signage that is clear and not worn, immediately convey that they take pride in their business and therefore must take pride in their commitment to their customers. Sub-par facilities do not give the confidence that they can apply a higher standard. If you break down quality to the product and or service provided, it will show you why business is repeated or sometimes not. An OEM will keep ordering supplies from a certain support vendor. They will consider OTD, communication, customer service, capability, and cost, along with quality. From my experience you can be higher in cost, can have an occasional late delivery, and not have a lapse in communication if your quality is high and consistent. Having quality issues, will be a quick way to lose the confidence that your customer has in your ability to provide the services they expect.
When I meet a new prospective customer for the first time, I want them to know that quality is a major part of our brand and reputation. I feel confident by knowing the support team back in the facility has this same goal. This does not mean you have to have certifications as a quality supplier, but you do need your employees and your colleagues to take ownership and be part of the process, by consistently looking for better ways to provide “quality”. The work however is not done at this point. It takes dedication and accountability to continue to provide quality. With persistence and thoughtful oversight, providing a service or product that you can be proud of becomes the norm and not the exception.
About the Authors
Robbie Devennie, Laser Engineer
Robbie is a motivated, focused, and dedicated Laser Engineer at A-Laser. Robbie studied Manufacturing Systems Engineering at Glasgow Caledonian University, graduating in 2013. He then took a graduate role at Tannlin Technology in the UK where he worked on the systems team. His role included product improvement, customer assistance, system building, and engineering analysis. His five years of experience working at Tannlin, often in the field, required thinking on his feet and working with limited resources. Outside of engineering, Robbie enjoys photography, as he likes to keep a part of his life in a creative field so that he can work that muscle when he needs to. Robbie excels in roles that combine technical expertise and project coordination and strives to deliver value to customers. Robbie is highly appreciated for his client-centric approach and his ability to build strong client relationships. If you have questions or want to discuss laser technology, please reach out to Robbie!
Joe Azevedo, Sales Manager
Joe Azevedo was born and raised in San Jose, CA, right in the heart of Silicon Valley. He has lived in the area for the past 23 years, gaining a variety of industry knowledge throughout his career. In the late ’80s, Joe performed processing and touch-ups for Litho films in the manufacturing of printed circuit boards. In the early ’90s, Joe started working for SMT stencil suppliers as a CAD technician and, eventually, customer service. He did this for 16 years, then joined the FCT Assembly team in November 2009, continuing his role in customer service and account management in SMT stencils. Shortly after, Joe moved over to the A-Laser division in 2010. After two years at A-Laser, he transitioned from customer service support to sales. He considers the industries that we support and the projects we service a privilege to be a part of.