RAISING THE BAR, ALL THE TIME
Jeroen Prins - Director of Quality Assurance
It’s only human to make mistakes. That will never change. However, we need to limit those mistakes as much as possible. After all, we cannot supply nonconforming parts or components. Everything we make must be exactly right, meeting all customer requirements and complying with international standards. We raise the bar when it comes to meeting our customers’ expectations. And as these expectations continuously evolve towards a higher standard, we at Aeronamic also have to continuously evolve to keep up and push our own limits.
Together with my team, I’m responsible for the Quality department, which contains quality control, quality assurance, compliance and supply chain quality. At Aeronamic, what makes us unique is our enormous product & process mix: commercial and defense programs varying from New Builds (OEM) to Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) activities. Our customers want our products to work all the time, every time, and on time. That’s why we’re constantly assessed on terms like PPM (part per million), On-Time Delivery and, more recently, our zero-defects policy. This is both logical and challenging at the same time. We deal with a large number and diversity of certifications, all of which concern aerospace standards and processes. Those certifications differ not only by each process and international standard, but also per country and per customer. When standards are changed, this never results in them having less requirements or regulations. In fact, the very opposite! So you can imagine that all these changes need to be managed appropriately for all standards and all varieties of components. Trust me, this can become quite complicated!
At Aeronamic, we need to keep anticipating customer demand and at the same time keep up with quality requirements. As both continuously evolve to higher standards, we continuously push our own limits to keep pace. This doesn’t mean we take shortcuts or look for an easy way out. Not at all – we don’t even consider looking for a grey area. What would that achieve? No, we always look for a way to raise ourselves to meet higher standards, throughout our whole organization. This applies to my QA-team here in Almelo, as well as our colleagues in Woensdrecht and Romania. Together, we assure Aeronamic’s quality standards. But be aware! Quality is not just a department; it’s also a mindset. We meet our customers’ expectations and – if possible – exceed them. By thinking with the design process, making suggestions and improvements, we raise the bar to ever higher standards.
Now that I’ve been working here for just over a year, I know that we do a pretty good job. Aeronamic is a mature company with a positive mindset. Of course, I can also see challenges in the coming years. At the moment, my main focus is on the next phase of operational excellence. When multiple departments are involved in a process, we can operate more efficiently and assure quality more easily if we team up faster and earlier in that process. By getting Operations, Manufacturing Engineering, and Quality Assurance to team up, for example. A process doesn’t stop when it leaves one department and moves on to the next. That’s why multidisciplinary collaboration is very important. Currently, we’re making great progress at that and if we can connect the different disciplines to each other even more, I’m convinced we’ll grow to even greater heights. Right now, that’s my mission for our company. Which quality challenges are you facing within your own organization?