Laser Peening Profile: Five Questions for LSPT Quality Manager Brian Brown

LSP Technologies Quality Manager Brian Brown seated in his office

Brian Brown – LSPT Quality Manager

Brian Brown has been with LSP Technologies since 2005, overseeing the organization’s AS9100/ISO9001 Quality Management System.

What attracted you to a career in quality management with LSP Technologies?

I studied Ceramics Engineering at The Ohio State University, and I was ultimately drawn to process engineering as it relates to materials science. I enjoy optimizing LSPT’s production operations, and making sure our innovative solutions conform with customer requirements and industry standards.

In my time as Quality Manager at LSPT, I’ve gotten to work within all levels of our organization. I work alongside executives, engineers, project managers and production workers. I’m able to connect high-level business plans with on-the-floor operations, and contribute directly to our customers’ success. I think my favorite aspect of quality management is the connectedness of the role. It gives me a sense of purpose that I can wrap my mind around at the end of the day.

What are LSPT’s top-level quality objectives, and how do they inform decision-making?

LSP Technologies quality policyFor many years, our Quality Management System has been driven by two main objectives:

  • Deliver Customer Satisfaction
  • Drive Continual Improvement

One of our organizational strengths is the attentiveness we show to our customers. We get a lot of positive feedback that we are easy to work with and timely when addressing issues. Responsiveness is critical to meet each customer’s evolving needs, so we provide regular updates and collect feedback across every stage of our operations.

Continual improvement is another pillar of LSPT’s Quality Management System, and it keeps us from getting stagnant or complacent with any of our processes. Our quality committee meets regularly to review any quality planning, audits, or big-picture transitions that may impact our products or services. I work closely with each customer’s quality representatives to break down any barriers that might undermine our efficiency or outputs. LSPT’s Quality Management System is a dynamic, living document, and we use a variety of monitors and metrics to ensure each process is delivering results that are consistent with customer expectations.

In addition to these long-standing principles, we’ve recently added two additional quality objectives promoting Regulatory Compliance and Process Conformity. Each year we have customers and regulatory bodies come in and perform audits of our Quality Management System, and our goal is to have no major findings of noncompliance or nonconformity.

What role does management play in LSPT’s Quality Management System?

LSP Technologies AS9100 Quality CertificateOne of the benefits of working for a small company is that I have direct access to our top-level management team. I have regular one-on-one sit-downs with CEO Jeff Dulaney, and I report directly to our Chief Operating Officer, Eric Collet. LSPT’s management team sets the tone for the entire organization, and their engagement with our Quality Management System keeps the company focused on top-level objectives like customer satisfaction.

We’ve also established Process Champions who oversee each of LSPT’s core processes. Their responsibility is to understand the requirements the process needs to meet, put in place any documentation for that process, and look for ways to continually improve that process over time. Process Champions need to understand the interplay between incoming and outgoing processes that they interact with, and they must maintain open communication to ensure customer expectations are properly articulated and fulfilled.

Everybody who works at LSPT is a customer representative in some form or fashion. We all touch customer product, customer planning, or customer audits, and we each have a role to play in fulfilling customer expectations.

How do you maintain consistent practices in an evolving organization?

Simple hand-drawn line graph of effectiveness improving with simplicityLSPT is in a major growth period right now. We’ve expanded our offerings into laser peening equipment sales, and penetrated new markets both domestically and abroad. As the company evolves, we need to mature various aspects of our Quality Management System to support new processes and objectives. The important thing is maintaining a QMS that fits our organization and the needs of our customers. LSPT offers a unique product portfolio and operates in a unique market. We can’t simply take a cookie-cutter QMS from the company down the street and apply it to our operations here.

I’m an advocate of keeping things as simple as possible, and developing process controls that satisfy all requirements no matter which customer we’re dealing with. LSPT is not a big company with unlimited resources. We need a documentation and oversight infrastructure that is streamlined to serve our needs. I apply this ‘simplicity filter’ across the board within our QMS, and it helps to weed out any unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. As you make things simpler, your staff can grasp concepts more readily and understand how to make processes more effective. We’ve learned this lesson over time, and will continue evolving our QMS to support organizational growth.

What would you say to potential customers interested in Laser Peening with LSP Technologies?

Abstract image of gears with Quality Service printed onThe customer will find LSPT to be responsive to their needs, upfront in our communications, and transparent in discussing our processes. We understand that laser peening is an unfamiliar treatment for many of our customers, and they come to us with limited knowledge of the process and its applications. That said, our customers are very knowledgeable about the issues they may be having with their part, and they know what they want to see improved. That’s why we make application development a collaborative process with shared data, observations, and expectations throughout.

When an application ultimately goes into production, customers will find that we have the key metrics and maintenance procedures in place to ensure their product is delivered on-time, on-quality, and meeting requirements. Those concepts are not new to LSP Technologies, and we work diligently to maintain our quality standard.

At the end of the day, our customers should expect superior service with superior results. We’ve been laser peening for over twenty years, and our success has come from a quality-driven approach that’s led to lasting partnerships with manufacturers around the globe.

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