Quality Starts With the Customer
Emma Borgono says her career with Harris at the Clifton, New Jersey manufacturing facility has been the best 13 years of her 20-plus years in the electronics manufacturing industry. Borgono works within a group of five assemblers and she is very passionate about the quality of the circuit card assemblies (often referred to as boards) they produce.
“We all feel like this is our company,” Borgono said. “You put everything you have into making these boards perfect because people’s lives depend upon it.”
That point was etched in her mind several years ago when Harris brought in some military airmen that depend on these components to do their job safely and effectively.
“When you see the faces of these pilots that protect our country, it really hits home and makes your job seem so much more important,” Borgono said. “Any boards that go out that are less than perfect is putting them at risk.”
The production line that Borgono works on is assembling boards that are used by military aircraft to operate undetected by enemy combatants and return home safely.
Borgono remembers this one serviceman in particular.
“He asked a lot of questions. And, he was very interested in how these products are made and all the checks that go into making sure they are free from defects. They have told us many times that their lives and the lives of others depend on our watchful eyes and trained hands to make sure they can do their job of protecting us with confidence.”
Over the last two years the Clifton plant has assembled and shipped more than 500 systems, and to date has gone 32 months with zero defects.
Glenn Eng, the senior manager of quality at the Clifton facility, is proud of his team’s accomplishments.
“Quality starts with the customer – the men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines - where these products are put to the ultimate test,” Eng said. “The team culture here at Clifton is hyper-focused on quality and their attention to detail is second to none. Many employees have been here for more than 10 years and all take their jobs very seriously.”
A point that Borgono couldn’t agree with more.
“It’s really like a family,” Borgono said. “All my team knows they can go to anyone at any time and get help solving problems.”
Eng also attributes his plant’s success to the Operator Self Verification program - a process where production workers are taught, authorized and given the resources necessary to inspect their own work. Quality inspections are intertwined with production and assembly at every step of the process to avoid customer escapes, defined as any product that “escapes” the facility and is delivered to a customer with a defect or some other non-conformance issue.
“Anyone on the line can challenge any board that they feel is sub-par or may have a defect,” Eng said. “It’s a team environment that encourages communication not only among other assemblers but also among everyone in the company. Anyone can be called upon to question a defect or help solve a problem. A board will often pass through many different hands and subsequent machine testing, such as x-ray and vibration testing to check for bad solder joints. We know the human eye is never perfect, and even machines make mistakes. But we work diligently to make sure nothing leaves this building that we are not completely satisfied with.”
Borgono recalled this one board that they had problems with that kept going back and forth between all the inspectors and machine verifications to find the issue. It took countless hours throughout several days and required bringing in the design engineers in order to understand what went wrong. The line never stopped, but she kept coming back to this one board to understand what had happened.
“When we finally found the issue and certified it as defect free, I was so happy,” Borgono said. “It makes you feel good when you solve a problem and you know that board is ready for service.”
Everyone at Harris, along with countless service men and women, thanks Borgono and the entire team at the Clifton plant for their service and their passionate obsession for quality, and applauds their more than two years with zero customer escapes.