Quality is the hallmark of every Hughes product, service, and technology. Beginning at the top with a corporate Quality Management Council staffed by senior executives, the Hughes commitment to quality filters through every level of the company. From marketing/sales to engineering and manufacturing, to network operations and installation, and including just about every other functional area, all employees are trained in customer-centric thinking, time-tested quality principles, and industry best practices to produce products, services, and technologies at the highest level of excellence.
Understanding the Customer
At the heart of the company’s approach to quality is to understand the customer, the customer problem, and the customer need. But Hughes takes it even further, seeking to understand the psychology, culture, and needs of different industries and geographical regions, and then using that knowledge to develop solutions to meet a range of requirements.
For example, the Hughes Executive Advisory Council is made up of customer CIOs and top-level managers who help Hughes set strategic direction for its enterprise market initiatives. In addition, the Hughes Users Group (HUG) advises the company on how to implement that direction.
Hughes also carefully monitors independent quality surveys and conducts an annual customer survey that measures key aspects of customer engagement and satisfaction in 18 categories of activities across their business.
“The customer is always looking for high value and in the end, the customer is the best judge of the value received,” said Hitendra Ghosh, vice president of quality assurance for Hughes.
From Product Quality to Service Quality
The company adheres to the quality standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on processes such as the engineering, design, development, and manufacture of products and services, and post-delivery processes, including installation, repair, and support.
Over the past 10 years, Hughes has expanded beyond supplying innovative technologies and products to become the world’s leading provider of broadband satellite services and a major managed services provider, often employing a wide range of broadband technologies. Indeed, today 70 percent of Hughes revenue comes from services. As a result, the company is now engaged in transitioning its former quality management system (QMS) to a service quality management system (SQMS). The comprehensive plan includes detailed process mapping to industry best practices to build the three pillars of SQMS and elements of the service lifecycle.
According to Dave Zatloukal, senior vice president of Service Delivery for Hughes, North America, and the executive champion and sponsor of Corporate QA, “This plan is a major transformation in the way we do business and how we think about the customer’s needs and expectations of the value delivered during service transactions.”
An Integrated Quality Team
Supporting the functional organizations’ quest to match our customer’s perception of quality, Hughes has a highly skilled team of quality professionals whose mission is to ensure that quality initiatives are implemented. This staff is responsible for conducting quality acceptance testing and audits, identifying problems, and developing policies and procedures. Each quality technician is assigned to an internal organization and acts as advisor and consultant to that group.
But quality extends well beyond a small team of quality professionals. An important part of the Hughes philosophy is that everyone in the Hughes family contributes to the value chain. Because quality touches every aspect of Hughes operations, every member plays an important role in the overall quality of what the company produces.
A Customer-Centric Culture
“Quality doesn’t happen by accident,” added Ghosh. “It’s important to have a clear strategy, to set goals, and to understand the concept of variation control. With customer-centric thinking and metrics-based performance management, everything else falls into place as we work with the customer as partner.”
This customer-centric culture continues to open up more and more opportunities in the global marketplace. And a clear focus on quality and excellence continues to lead customers to place their trust and confidence in Hughes for true value in every product, service, technology, and customer relationship.