By Paul Campbell

I have recently been involved with a review of Campbell Scientific’s quality policy and objectives for the purpose of maintaining an up-to-date quality system in the company. Quality requires a passion for excellence as a foundation. Built on that foundation are the processes, tools, and knowledge that allow us to improve over time as we learn from our own and others’ observations about our mistakes, vulnerabilities, and strengths.

Our quality policy is focused on delivering value to customers. The company’s organization is represented as a primary concentric ring of activity that directly focuses on and serves our customers, and a secondary ring of functions internal to the organization that support those in the primary ring.

The company’s quality policy is as follows:

We at Campbell Scientific are committed to value oriented quality from the perspective of the customer.

  • Quality of WORKMANSHIP and service are encouraged without adding unduly to cost.
  • Quality is primarily dependent upon individual COMMITMENT and acceptance of responsibility by each employee for the quality of products and services offered, both internal and external to the company.
  • Individual responsibility and continuous IMPROVEMENT will be encouraged through flexibility and feedback.
  • The quality standards and means prescribed to achieve uniformity and RELIABILITY in the products and services offered to customers will be established through the operation of the Quality System.

One of the challenges we face in delivering high quality products to you, our customer, is managing the balance between flexibility and structure in our corporate work environment. Too much flexibility and too little structure leaves a vacuum of standards and uniformity. Too much structure and too little flexibility removes responsibility and empowerment from the individual level where it is most important for a sense of ownership. We strive for a mixture of flexibility and structure so that individuals have a sense of ownership and responsibility but are not left without guidance as to standards and corporate knowledge.

For some time we have been working on improvements in our software, both PC based and embedded operating systems in dataloggers. The challenge is great because of the increasing complexity of software as memory expands, processors expand and increase in speed, and systems and sub-systems must interact. Oftentimes there is legacy code that must be maintained while new functions are added or new software development tools are adopted. This level of complexity requires both a disciplined development process and a high level of individual commitment by those involved. We engage regularly in small groups to sort out trade-offs among quality, cost, and time-to-market. We have improved our software development process with implementation of the following:

  • Team reviews
  • Design test by a peer
  • Independent verification by someone not involved in the design
  • Timely feedback to designers with a written record of reported bugs
  • Test suite for standard products to make sure that old things still work after new things are added

Along with these improvements, we continue to emphasize responsiveness to customer feedback to solve problems and enhance our products. Please know that it is a high priority to me that Campbell Scientific maintain the same high standard of product quality relating to software and embedded operating systems as we do to hardware.

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