Researchers and engineers, calibration laboratories, quality assurance/control functions, testing and inspection staff: we have many measurement requirements in common. However, we often don't have enough collaboration between the ivory tower and the shop floor. Yet, we all provide a portion of the infrastructure needed to ensure that the business end of metrology is successful.
Poor quality measurement results anywhere along the supply chain often lead to poor quality products or services, thus impacting business. Dr. W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) provided a foundation for quality that is now used throughout the world. One of Deming's 14 key principles was to "Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for massive inspection by building quality into the product in the first place." Calibration requirements are similar – we calibrate our reference standards, implement measurement assurance, assess the quality, evaluate measurement uncertainties, and define and document metrological traceability to ensure that the measurement results going out the door are of sufficient quality.
But, going back to the collaboration between the ivory tower and the shop floor...Deming also called for breaking down barriers between departments and responsibilities. So, how do we as calibration professionals work more effectively together? How do we collaborate with quality and testing staff to implement essential measurement requirements for metrological traceability and measurement uncertainty outside the calibration laboratory? What can the calibration staff learn about continual improvement from testing and quality perspectives? What can the quality staff learn about metrological traceability? What can testing learn about measurement uncertainty? What can we all learn together?
Whether you are engaged in research, application, manufacturing, quality, testing, education or training, or all of the above, please submit a paper or coordinate a panel session to reflect on how we all affect the bottom line, the business end of metrology. Let's come together, break down the barriers, share ideas, and collaborate at the 2012 annual Workshop & Symposium in Sacramento, California!