NNSA’s Defense Programs has chosen manager J. Anthony Wingate (422) as Sandia’s Employee of the Quarter, an award given to people for going beyond the call of duty in supporting NNSA missions.
Anthony was chosen in August for his role in creating a streamlined process that organizations can follow to gain ISO 9001:2008 registration, a process that Center 400 recently used in obtaining its registration in less than half the time and cost of typical registrations. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) program is a worldwide industry standard that emphasizes customer satisfaction through quality management practices, focusing on following the best processes for every step.
“It’s a way of measuring that you’re doing what you say you’re going to do and that you have confidence or evidence in place to support it,” says Anthony, head of subsystem and component quality in Surety Assessment and Engineering Center 400.
He and manager Dennis Owens (424), co-leader on the project commissioned by Center 400 Director Rick Fellerhoff, believe any Sandia center can improve engineering management practices by following the approach created for Surety Assessment and Engineering’s successful ISO process. Anthony and Dennis say they wanted to address affordability and cut implementation time.
Dennis, who nominated Anthony, says the process can’t be done by one person alone. He says it starts by forming a team, and “Anthony was a great partner to make this happen.”
He also says the recognition given Anthony demonstrates to others at Sandia that ISO registration can be done faster and with fewer resources. The key, he says, is keeping in mind the idea of preventing and reducing defects when designing a quality management system.
ISO registration varies by such factors as the size and mission of an organization, but can take more than two years and run hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, Dennis says.
The center’s template narrowed the team to a few key people and stressed that designing a quality assurance process is as important as engineering a product. Dennis says the final focus is on managing better.
“This process has opened our eyes to where we are today and where we want to be in our future and what that looks like,” he says.
Anthony says streamlining takes on added importance in this era of tighter budgets.
The more efficient process was planned and carried out in three events. The first, lasting two days in July 2010, developed a centerwide quality management manual — integral to the ISO process. While some manuals run 50 to 60 pages, Dennis interpreted ISO’s standard to mean manuals should be no more than 10, Anthony says.
Advance planning brought together a team to study good and not-so-good manuals, which ultimately allowed team members to develop a 10-page quality manual, he says.
“The intent is to have every resource on a team, whether it’s facilities, management, someone from budget, and whatever you need, to achieve the planned output,” Anthony says. The newly created manual was tweaked and finalized over another week, and a second two-day event the following month worked out procedures to implement it.
The third meeting in late fall 2010 focused on department-level procedures — in essence, individual department plans.
Anthony and Dennis say those procedures are critical, and that the system must balance what’s common to the whole organization with the autonomy of each department. To accomplish their goal, they also used Lean Six Sigma principles, which can help solve challenges in NW missions or mission support, such as HR or ES&H in nuclear weapons and Work for Others programs.
“Organizations are dynamic. People are changing, the work is changing,” Dennis says. “We are a center of various technical capabilities and as customer requirements change, each department can respond appropriately without having to change the whole quality management system design.”
An independent auditor litmus-tested the results, then ISO’s formal British Standards Institution (BSI) auditing process began. BSI did its audit early this year, making what Anthony describes as “minor adjustments.” Registration came through in March.
The NNSA award was “an amazing honor for me,” says Anthony, who has been with Sandia 16 years. “I generally do what I do because I like to do it, I see the value in doing it, and if it can help a greater cause, I give my full support.”