We recently sat down with David Isaacson, ETQ’s Vice President of Product Marketing, as part of our Executive Spotlight series to learn more about the role of product marketing, the key challenges facing manufacturers, and the value of taking a quality-centered approach.
What role does Product Marketing play in the organization?
Our goal is to make sure our products are well positioned in the marketplace, and that we’ve properly communicated the value. That includes ensuring they’re packaged and priced right, that our messaging will resonate with customers, and that the sales team understands the value we provide and how to best communicate that to the customer. We also ensure that we’re not introducing a product until we know it will meet our customers’ needs, that we’re able to support it, and that customers understand the value the product provides.
What is the goal of a quality-centric approach to manufacturing?
A primary goal for any manufacturer is to produce high-quality products without defects. With a quality-centric approach, design and development is an iterative process that ensures quality is factored in at every stage of the product life cycle. You are considering areas where you might have issues and taking proactive steps to mitigate those risks. At any stage, if there is a problem, it can be identified, tracked and corrected in the quality management system to remediate it early. This also extends to logistics to ensure the product arrives to the customer in the same condition as when it left the loading dock. At every step along the way there is a feedback loop to capture data and leverage it to ensure continuous improvement.
Do manufacturers typically work with ETQ because they’ve encountered quality problems or because they’re taking a proactive approach?
Different markets approach it differently; however, the vast majority of our customers understand the real value of working with ETQ and are proactively addressing quality management. Life sciences and other regulated industries are mandated to integrate quality measures. Organizations that want to be ISO 9001 certified will also be required to factor quality measures into their processes. Compliance is a significant driver of quality management. There are organizations that have come to us because they’ve had problems and have learned the hard way that they need to integrate and streamline quality processes across the product lifecycle, but being proactive can help avoid these problems in the first place.
Also, there is the benefit of being audit ready that drives many organizations to embrace quality measures. Let’s face it, all organizations get audited – either internally, by customers or by regulatory agencies. Being audit-ready makes for a smoother, less costly audit process, and one that is likely to produce fewer findings.
What do you see as some of the most interesting trends impacting manufacturers this year?
There is an increasing amount of data being recorded and activities being performed across a variety of systems – such as PLM systems, metrology systems, design systems, and quality management systems. Yet these systems are traditionally siloed and do not communicate with each other. This is changing and our acquisition by Hexagon is enabling it and benefitting our customers. That’s the promise of connected quality.
It’s important to note that employees are a crucial part in the process. If someone has an accident or flips the wrong switch or uses the wrong additive, it requires an immediate response. This is why it’s important to have employees connected into the systems. And with the severe and prolonged labor shortage facing manufacturers, it’s essential to ensure the people you have are enabled, making them more productive and effective in their jobs.
What do you see as some of ETQ’s biggest opportunities for growth?
Only an estimated 25-30% of companies have integrated quality management systems, so there is still significant opportunity for growth in our market. We view the value of a QMS such as Reliance on a 1/10/100 scale, with the cost to remediate a problem in design being a factor of 1; the cost to remediate a problem at the end of the product line being 10 times, and the cost by the time it gets to the customer is 100 times. The sooner you can deal with problems, the less costly it is to address the issue.
Our goal is to help organizations understand the ROI of quality in the language of business and elevate how our customers think about quality throughout the organization. If they can reduce scrap, for example, they’re not just making a better product and reducing waste, they’re impacting the bottom line because of quality. That underscores the need for quality to have a seat at the table.
How do you spend your spare time?
My wife and I love to travel. We’ve also got a daughter in college, so that’s a big focus for us. And I’ve recently bought a few new toys to support my culinary interests and have been enjoying more time cooking with family and friends.