On this episode of the Model Vision Podcast, John and Jim join Ian to chat about the importance of product integrity and product quality. With over 30 years of experience, John has a ton to say and teach us about what product integrity and quality mean and why it's so important to the discipline of Systems Engineering and Model-Based Systems Engineering.
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Welcome to Avians Official Systems Engineering podcast. Today I have John and Jim with me. We're expecting potentially Jeff, we'll see if he jumps on. But today's topic is product integrity and product quality, as John has brought up in our little preview conversation that we were having.
So, John, let's start with your background. And can you just go over what your career looks like? Again, when we were talking before we started recording, Jim said, you know, we really need to dig into to John's background because it's really cool and a little bit different than most folks that work for Avon and maybe even most
folks that work for Navia. So go ahead. Yeah, thank you. I'll be glad to. So my career spans about thirty eight years. I'm very fortunate to have a real blend of different experiences. I started up my career in aerospace, in defense, aerospace, on the F-16 program back in the days when it was one of the hottest jet
fighter programs in the country. And then later in my career, I had a great opportunity to work on the commercial side, and I worked with an organization called Harley-Davidson Motor Company. And so I went from jet fighters to motorcycles and I was able to really learn a fantastic blend of a very disciplined quality assurance regime into an
area where quality was very important. However, it was a very high paced production environment, so it made having to address quality very challenging. So I kind of got to learn both worlds. And then later, I worked in in an organization that made complex rehab wheelchairs for quadriplegics, which has a very important element of product integrity and product
quality. And now I'm full circle back in aerospace and defense aerospace working for Avión and so very excited to be able to bring this unique skill set to what we're doing at Abian now. Yeah, and it's super exciting that your background is so diverse, because for a lot of folks in Jim, I don't mean to throw folks
like you under the bus, but they've worked for Navaira and they've only worked for Navaira. And having different experiences is definitely a positive. But also, Jim, we love you. And of course, working for Navaira is great, too. All right.
So let's jump into today's topic a little bit and. At first, I had this question as just defining product integrity and maybe that's a good place to start. But after that, let's define product quality also and kind of compare the two and give me what the differences are and how you how you define them separately.
Does that make sense? Yeah, sure. I'd be glad to. When you think of product integrity, you think of it as a more overarching concept. And really, when we talk about product integrity and the work that we're doing, we're talking about the ability for a product or a system to meet or exceed customer expectations for reliability, maintainability, produce
ability and quality over the life cycle of that product or system. So it's it's a very overarching element and very important relative to the overall performance of a product or a system when we talk about product quality. In my mind, it's a little bit more of a subset of product integrity where product quality is the ability of
a product and the inherent characteristics of that product to meet a set of specified requirements. So what's interesting about that is I could have a design for a product, I could meet the requirements of that design. Technically, I have product quality, but somewhere in the design and development phases, that design doesn't yield the reliability and maintainability requirements
that I need. So I have product quality, but I don't have reliability and maintainability. And that's where there's a little bit of a difference between the two. So the overarching product integrity piece would encapsulate the concept of of product quality.
Gotcha, that definitely makes sense to my non engineering and non never brain, so I think that was a good definition. Just moving down my list of questions, how does that and Jim, this might be your time to shine, how does product quality, product integrity, how does that all fit into this overarching topic of systems engineering?
So systems engineering has to really bring in all these technical disciplines together. So we're talking about the beginning of a program. They need to really do the work to do all of the design requirements analysis and those kinds of things up front.
But what I think is also being realized is the the product integrity as a collection of technical disciplines needs to be elevated to the point where you need to start thinking about that stuff. You need to start planning for how to implement product integrity, that the quality, reliability, the maintenance, the sustainability and the produce ability.
You need to bring that in very early and you need to continuously address and replan and continue to get feedback as you go through the design process, the verification process. And then certainly when you get into production and support and sustainment down the line, when you're in in the later stages of a program.
So. So it's a I think it's really a key piece of system engineering. Yeah. And so what it sounds like is that it's not only just a practice and there's Jeff, it's not only just a practice to go down this path of product integrity, product quality, but it's also a mentality.
And I think this is a perfect place to talk about how Avión is providing services to our customers to help them get into that mindset. So, John, again, we were talking about this beforehand, but do you want to talk a little bit about the types of training and support services that we're offering as far as that Avian
is offering to our customers to help them getting to this mentality and then to also follow this practice for the type of work that they're doing? You bet. Yeah. So we're excited. Over the last year, we've Avians been able to bring a new training support service to Navaira in providing product quality and product integrity training.
We started out focusing with FARC and providing product quality training to the FARC as part of an overall strategy that they had to improve quality of maintenance operations to help reduce the number of product escapes, getting out to the fleet, which would in turn improve readiness and mission capability in the fleet.
And so we've been able to start by providing quality basic training as a foundation of what quality is the kind of level set the field across the our seas. And we've worked with the FARC quality director to build a strategic training track or progression track for inspectors, technicians, engineers and managers within quality assurance.
So we're excited to continue to develop that training. In addition to that, we've provided leadership overview training for leadership across the entire FARC sites, not just quality assurance, because a big piece of a product quality and quality assurance is leadership, commitment and support and creating the culture that promotes quality across the site.
So we see that as being important also. And then on the north side, on the engineering and sustainment side, we're getting involved with providing product integrity, basics training to help send the message relative to the importance of product integrity and how achieving product integrity and the acquisition and initial production phases of a program versus trying to address
that shortfalls and product integrity out in the field or in operations has been a big push. So we're excited to be a part of that effort with the naked folks and trying to send the message and learning how.
What can we do differently to raise the level of product integrity and prevent the shortfalls as we move into into operational status of of different systems? Yeah, and I think one thing that you mentioned beforehand was that our classes are tailored to our audiences.
So and you had a great spiel about this before we started recording, so I'll let you take it over. But it's it's it's really cool to know that we're not just offering this out of box class or out of box training, workforce development to our customers.
We are sitting down figuring out who we're teaching this to and making sure that we're making those connections that may seem minuit to some people, but to folks that appreciate that kind of stuff. Obviously, it's it's definitely a positive.
So, John, you talk a little bit more about how we're tailoring these products for our customers. You bet. I'm very proud of this effort because I think it makes us that Avión very competitive in in this world. There is a lot of off the shelf quality courses out there, too.
Too many, actually, and a lot of them are just cut and paste and it's easy to do. But what we do is the very first thing we do before we kick off a project is we put together a course design plan and we spend a lot of time with the sponsor of the project on the Navaira side
, making sure that we have the target audience nailed down, make sure that we truly understand the message, and then we create a storyboard and we try to tell the story in the storyboard about what this training is, is going to deliver and how it's going to progress.
We spend a lot of time working with the stakeholders within Navia, understanding their processes. So I do a lot of research relative to their policy, standard operating procedures, standard work packages. We we make sure we understand their language, that we're speaking and using terms that that they use, not terms that I use.
So it's very customer centric. And we had one of the greatest compliments we had recently as we delivered quality engineering and quality manager training, basic training and the quality manager from the Jacksonville facility, FRSC SE made a comment that we delivered the training so effectively that it sounded like we were employees of the forces ourselves.
And I think that was great because I think they listened. They listened to our what we had to say and I think they could tell that we were really focused on making sure we knew what their business was and what their processes were worked out really well.
I thought. Yeah, I think any time and Jim, I'll let you say what you're about to say. I think any time that we have this tailored product that just helps people. I mean, I think there's a there's a certain attitude people have when you walk into a room and you see it's just like this normal presentation that
you that you the the presenter has probably given a thousand times. And it doesn't apply to you specifically versus what John is explaining, where these these are pictures of our customers. These are words that our customers are using and it's just more comfortable.
They probably absorb the information a lot better. So definitely cool to hear that we are doing that as a company. Jim, go ahead. Yeah, what I was going to I was going to say just a couple of things kind of associated with that.
You know what John has been doing a lot, and especially in their product integrity training development is really helped shape the message that the command that the leadership at Navia wants to convey across the warfare centers and across the programs.
And, you know, John comes with a tremendous amount of experience doing that. So he's he's worked in that in those fields for a long, long time. So he's able to see what has been effective and what is not necessarily worked to the best.
And that's able to flow into our lessons plans and our storyboarding. So we're able to apply those those specific subject matter experts in the training development. Yeah, and I assume, as you're saying, that, Jim, I'm going to take a guess that you apply your expertize and product integrity and product quality to the products that you're presenting as
well, right? Yes, mostly. It's mostly my background is systems engineering. But yes, I mean, it's it's know we we in the. My mom, we need to we need to start thinking about it, and it's really early days, but you can't you know, I'm I'm I'm understanding what Navia is trying to do and and bringing that into the
program as well. So, yeah. All right. So honestly, I think we hit a lot of what we wanted to talk about. The one couple notes I have on here, John, I don't know if you to talk about the reliability centered maintenance that you kind of started talking up preshow or not.
Is there anything there you want to cover? Well, when we think about product integrity, reliability and maintainability are the starting points of it. And we're very fortunate working with Navaira. They have they have some very, very sharp intellectual people that lead the reliability and maintainability side of the business.
And they they use, you know, leading leading edge technology models in and trying to build a maintenance program. One of the tools they do use is the reliability centered maintenance and reliability center maintenance assessments that then drive down the road.
It drives an entire preventative maintenance program for a particular weapons system. And it's you know, it's just amazing to work with those folks and see the level of analytical effort that goes in to putting it all together. I mean, you think about a, you know, an F 18 Super Hornet.
How do you even go about putting together a preventative maintenance program for that entire aircraft? And these you know, these they use this kind of modeling to to help do that. And and so it's you know, it's just one example of of why product integrity as a category is is so important if you don't get that right
. And you're not and you don't execute an effective preventive maintenance program, then your things are breaking. When you didn't predict they were going to be broken, it's going to affect the readiness and mission capability of that aircraft, it's going to cost a lot of money.
So, again, it's just one tool that's used to get it right up front so that. They deliver the level of readiness and mission capability that the fleet expects. So, yeah, that's a it's a it's a great tool. Yeah, yeah.
And I think, like I mentioned earlier, I think it's not just the practice of actually applying it to what you're doing, but it is this mentality which we're trying to push through the trainings that we're offering as a company.
So, yeah, very important. And I definitely see how this plays in that overarching systems engineering world, as well as probably a lot of other worlds as well. So really cool to know that we as a company are offering that development for the workforce and.
Yeah, and yeah, last go ahead, John, it had something to add. Well, you know, the one point I'd like to make is. We work with a group like Navaira that is this huge acquisition and sustainment organization for weapons systems, but there are only as good as the prime contractors that they're working with that build these weapons systems
. So a big piece of what we try to do is help them understand any gaps there might be between their knowledge within Navaira and knowledge out in industry. So I am actually a certified third party quality management system auditor.
So the last couple of years I've been going around the country auditing the organizations that provide components and subsystems to the major OEMs that build up aircraft that deliver to the Navy. And so, you know, we we had Abian can also provide that unique perspective to the folks within the organization at Navia about what is going on
. So when I'm talking or I'm training, I could say, hey, you know, three months ago I was auditing an organization that, you know, supplies product to a major weapons system. And here's some of the challenges they're having relative to product integrity.
It's just it's it's a fantastic way to be able to bridge these gaps, because I think one of the largest challenges that any acquisition organization, defense acquisition organization faces is staying connected with industry and what's going on in the industry.
So in our world of quality and product quality falls under a group called the International Aerospace Quality Group, the IEA, Kuji. And so they're evolving with standards and approaches and processes that the folks in Novarum may not be at the same speed in evolvement that is going on at the in the industry.
So we're trying very hard to help provide that feedback, too, so that they you know, they know what to expect, especially new folks coming into the fold, you know, helping them understand if you're going to interact with one of the major prime contractors.
Here's what you're probably going to see. And here's the challenges. Here's what works. Here's what doesn't work. So I think I think that's a real plus for us as a group. Yeah, definitely. Jim, any last minute points you want to bring up now?
John hit all the hit them all great. So, yeah. And I think we plugged in a lot during this episode, which is not a bad thing. But definitely if you are interested in learning more about what we offer to our customers, always feel free to reach out to one of our BD business development members, or Jeff, who
has been on the air a few episodes before, and he can definitely push in the right direction as well. So up there he is with that. I will wrap it up here, John, Jim and the newly added. Jeff, thank you for joining me on the next episode.
We're actually talking about aircraft life cycle support. So we'll see. I have a feeling that there might be some ties between that topic and this topic, but we'll see how that conversation goes. You bet. Yeah. So I will see you next time again, John, Jim, Jeff, thank you for joining me.
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