Tracerco Strives to Maintain High Level of Quality Assurance

Tracerco Strives to Maintain High Level of Quality Assurance

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16 October 2014

Tracerco, part of the FTSE 100, Johnson Matthey PLC, is a world leading industrial technology company providing unique and specialised detection, diagnostic and measurement solutions. The company aims to drive technical innovation across all its specialities, with a view of bringing significant benefits to its customers.

Over the past two years, Tracerco has received a number of high profile business awards for its products including an Institute of Physics Innovation Award in 2013 and a Pipeline Industries Guild Award in 2014.These awards are testament to the hard work and dedication of the company’s research and development team and the quality assurance procedures that Tracerco has in place to ensure that all its ground-breaking new products are not only meeting the demands of the industry, but also delivering a high-level of efficiency and quality for its customers.

We spoke to Rachel Burke, the Quality Manager at Tracerco about how the company ensures it delivers a consistent level of quality assurance across its unique and very specialised detection, diagnostic and measurement solution services and below she explains the processes in detail.

What processes are in place at Tracerco to ensure quality is at the top of the agenda?

At Tracerco we run a regular and extensive internal audit schedule covering all aspects of the business. Theinternal audits are designed to pay particular attention to preventive actions as well as corrective actions to ensure a "right first time” culture is maintained. In addition to this, regular management reviews are conducted to communicate quality updates and issues to the management team.

We actively promote the raising of "improvement opportunities” through our internal intranet system, which is available to all staff. The idea behind this portal is that staff can share their thoughts or ideas, as well as raising concerns regarding the efficiency of any product or service. We can then take these comments on board and investigate them where appropriate.

Rachel Burke, Quality Manager at Tracerco

What tests are put in place to maintain a high level of quality assurance? Are these done at stages throughout the development or production process?

A number of Tracerco’s products are approved for use in hazardous areas which means they have to go through a sequence of laborious and meticulous tests at development stage to certify that it is not only fully functional but it is also meeting and delivering the objectives originally agreed at the beginning of the project. Each product is designed with a very specific brief in mind which is reviewed throughout the entire development process. Our tests are specifically designed to ensure the product is consistently delivering on all levels and meeting the project objectives.

Once a piece of equipment has successfully passed all the tests laid out for it during the development phase and our research and development team are satisfied that the product meets all of our internal quality assurance criteria, it will go into production by a carefully selected third party manufacturer.

Our quality team has also produced a set of approved production documents which includes an additional set of stringent and detailed bespoke trials which each product will be put through during the manufacturing phase.. During the assessments each product is put through a sequence of rigorous tests where its operational qualities are scrutinized under a series of different conditions in order to ensure it is operating to the highest Tracerco benchmark of standard and has no manufacturing or performance faults which may have been overseen during the earlier development stage tests.

We will also carry out a final series of inspection schedules when the products are returned to us to ensure that they continue to meet our elevated standard levels.

These stringent and very thorough testing processes provide us with complete peace of mind that we have not only produced a piece of equipment that meets our business objectives but also delivers our customers with a tool that will meet their operating needs and efficiencies.

How is quality assurance implemented across the entire workforce? Is it something that is part of the general work ethic at Tracerco?

Everybody at Tracerco is responsible for maintaining high levels of quality and for documenting any concerns they have over quality as soon as they are identified. All our staff receive in depth training where the standards of high quality are further instilled. We are extremely proud of the innovative and ground-breaking products continually developed by our dedicated R&D team. We are committed to providing our customers with products that address and provide solutions to any diagnostic, detection and measurement issues they face. We would never compromise on quality and all our staff are committed to ensuring we continually meet the standards our customers have come to expect from us.All staff are regularly reminded of their responsibility for maintaining our high level of quality assurance through our internal audit and management presentations.

Have you received industry recognition?

Being awarded an Institute of Physics Innovation Award in 2013 for our break-through OptimusTMmeasuring device and a Pipeline Industries Guild Award this year for our innovative new subsea CT scanning tool – DiscoveryTM, are both excellent examples of how are research and development team are able to work with our customers to apply science in order to generate technology that overcomes their most significant operational challenges.

Our ethos is to strive for technical excellence while maintaining quality assurance in order to add value to our customers and this is something we are proud to be achieving.