Harman Luxury Update
Commitment to Quality
November is “Quality Connects Me” month at Harman. We celebrate it by sharing success stories of individuals, at all levels within the organization, who contribute to this commitment. Quality could not be a company pillar unless we have great people and great processes in place to make that happen. I am proud of the fact that the entire Luxury Audio team strives to ensure our products live up to the standard we set and the standard your customers deserve.
I have included a few examples of how Luxury Audio achieves our quality goals.
Engineering: Shared by Todd Eichenbaum –
Director of Engineering at Mark Levinson
Quality must be designed into a product from the very outset; it cannot be added or improved later. When we design a circuit, we analyze the task that each individual component must perform as it relates to the manufacturer’s specifications. If the circuit will not work as intended given the component-to-component variations specified by the manufacturer, then we must either choose a different component or design the circuit differently. Performing these worst-case analyses guarantees that the circuit will perform consistently, unit-to-unit and year after year.
When we design the mechanical “package” for a product, we give careful thought to the method and sequence of assembly of all the parts. We strive to make all cables and fasteners easily accessible, which minimizes the risk of damage or error during assembly or, when required, servicing. Making a product simpler to assemble inherently improves its chances of being built correctly, which greatly reduces the possibility that an incorrectly built unit winds up in a customer’s hands.
Quality Control: Shared by Dale Seidlitz –
Global Quality Service Manager
Having quality imbedded with engineering during the NPI process as a separate entity ensures safety, reliability and quality are always met prior to the proper gate release and ultimately production release to the customer. It also allows a separate non-biased person to have a say in the final performance of the product as well as ultimately the customer experience.
Global Quality reports to a completely separate structure within Harman. It has full authority to stop, change or question any engineering or production issue that is not to the expected standard if necessary. This group routinely pulls units from the warehouse and conducts out-of-box inspections to insure the current production process is perfect. This includes a full inspection as well as a full test of each product to be certain nothing has changed in our production process.
Assessing Quality through Customer Service; Shared by Stefan Happe – Global Service Manager
Customer Service is on the front line, filtering the incoming claims for potential quality related issues. They have a clear set of processes to follow if they determine that there could be a quality issue on a specific product. The frontline customer services reps communicate directly with our engineering and quality control teams. They log each call and create records of specific problems being observed from the field. If they see more than one or two of the same issues they start immediately to investigate. This investigation may include asking for the product to be replaced and sent back to our R&D teams to determine if the problem can be isolated to a specific part or a break down of quality processes in the assembly of the product.
I experienced the team working together this week on a potential quality issue. There was a call from the field that a specific product was blowing fuses at a dealer’s showroom. I witnessed how quickly this concern was escalated up from customer service to the Director of Engineering. The engineering team immediately tried to recreate scenarios that could possibly cause this product’s fuse to blow. They looked at all possibilities including the batch of fuses used in that day’s assembly of product. It was determined the root cause must be occurring within the dealer’s showroom. We did in fact find out that the dealer was plugging in multiple high current amplifiers into a multiplug extension cord which caused power interruptions and spikes. We sent the dealer a bag of replacement fuses and advised him to install more power outlets and minimize the use of extension cords on high current amplifiers in general.
In that example the team worked together to solve the customer’s issue. They even made sure that the product owner’s manual made mention of power requirements and it was determined that the manual did mention the need for a dedicated electrical outlet for the device. The call was documented. Should there be future calls regarding fuses being blown, the customer service team will be asking if the product is being plugged into an extension cord.
As you prepare to celebrate the upcoming holidays, know that Harman Luxury Audio will also continue to celebrate Quality Connects Me month every year.
VP & GM - Luxury Audio