You may have seen them when you drive on the highway A7 towards Hoorn direction to the Afsluitdijk: the almost endless linked buildings of Microsoft. Here at Agriport Microsoft’s mega data center is emerging, a project for which ET Management and Advice has been hired as a Quality Control Officer. In short, we do the QC, the quality control, at Microsoft.
This means a lot of field work, also because of the size of the complex, which is about fifteen hectares. Nowadays the word fieldwork is associated with nature and that, using the senses, is also a strength of ET Management and Advice. As the ‘Wolf of Winkel’ we are the eyes and ears of both the customer and the designing party whereby the many years of experience makes us instinctively feel when something is not right.
That is often something small, such as minor damage to an air grille or water outlet. But once the eye has fallen on these minor deviations, the chances are great there is more to it as experience has shown. The sensitivity of the Microsoft project, including the risk of hacking or other forms of privacy breaches, means that ET Management and Advice is present on the plots near Middenmeer for at least two days a week. So that ongoing work can be followed with a hawk’s eye and already completed jobs can be checked accurately.
Versatile business skills
However, the strength of ET Management and Advice does not only lie in alertness or know-how. No, the added value of ET Management and Advice lies mainly in the versatility in business skills. In this project, the specifications of forty different products must be checked for quality. We are talking here about raw materials, intermediates and end products, each of which must be assessed on its merits. That is to say upon entry and after implementation by employees, so that it is certain that the quality is guaranteed from the moment of entry to the last action.
Measure, measure and measure again
In addition, the ‘services’, such as the electrical installations, ventilation systems and water supply, must also get a quality check. Starting with how they are put down on paper, whether it meets the required standards. And ending with the proverbial last nail that is hammered into the wall. This means a lot of measuring. Measure whether raw materials, intermediates and end products meet the requirements of the specifications and measure whether all utilities meet the high requirements that a mega data center asks from the electrical supply and cooling in particular.
If there are weak links in this entire process, it does not matter whether these are products or have a personal background, the role of the QC in cooperation with the QA (Quality Assurance) is that of a police officer: we monitor the technical complaints, the handling of them and perform auditing to streamline the process to the correct quality level.
QC is like patient care
In a general sense, however, the QC can be compared more to the measurements taken when a patient is operated on. During the operation process, all kinds of measurements are carried out to see whether the patient (in this case also the customer of the service) is able to withstand the operation process. All kinds of devices display values or issue signals, allowing the surgeon and other professionals to see if the process is going well.
The Formula-1 races also provide nice comparisons. Data is collected during the race to visualize the status of the car and the driver. So QA and QC complement each other. One is in control over the processes, the other controls them by measuring the products and services. However, they often drive each other in the wheels, while the trick is to strengthen each other.