On December 11, 1998 the Mars Climate Orbiter was launched as a joint collaboration between Lockheed Martin and NASA. However on September 23, 1999 communication with the spacecraft was lost and the Orbiter disintegrated into the planet’s atmosphere.
After a thorough review of this very timely and costly mistake, it was determined that engineers at Lockheed Martin had used the English units of measurement while NASA used the more conventional metric system to communicate critical propulsion commands upon orbital insertion.
This unfortunate error prevented the two teams from communicating properly, and had a dramatic effect on the outcome of the endeavor. This small detail, which should have been detected through a simple set of checks and balances, ultimately led to the Orbiter’s demise, costing NASA more than $125 million, 4 years of development and travel time, and the loss of key Mar’s climate data.
Communication is a key component of quality. Northstar Metal Products’ high-level communication ensures greater productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, and cost saving. Clear, open dialogue may seem like a wholly separate issue from quality management, but in fact, the two are clearly linked.
Even the smallest miscommunication can result in huge losses. That’s why Northstar places a high value on dialogue as part of its Total Quality Management philosophy. While this can be costly in the short term, there are proven long-term savings, thanks to increased productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.
Northstar operates with a quality-first mindset. Our team works with clients to discover the most efficient way to manufacture and deliver their order, while also considering the reliability and repetitive nature of each request. Northstar’s New Product Introduction (NPI) program fosters collaboration with our partners from the very beginning, elevating their speed to market while adding value to the product at every step of the design, manufacturing, and testing processes. These cost-saving best practices and consistent communication have lowered our quality defect metrics to world-class levels.
Northstar’s commitment to continuous improvement has brought client communication to the forefront of what we do. Our team values every client as a partner. Open and consistent communication throughout the design for manufacturability process means both our team and our partners will become more productive and profitable as we continue to work together.