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Staff Profile – Soma Hebbar – Quality Manager

Q: Please describe your role at Circuitwise. What does a typical day look like?

I am responsible for maintaining the company’s quality certification and for administering customer satisfaction processes as well as continuous improvement of processes. Most of the time I am responding to customer emails around traceability and product certification related to the life cycle of the product. For example, I just had a question around intrinsic safety and earlier I had a meeting with a client wanting to harmonise their medical quality system with that of Circuitwise.

Q: What is the most important part of your work?

Ensuring that the quality system is in place and delivering the intended benefit. Identifying the real root cause of the problem and instituting lasting solutions for sustained operational excellence.

Q: What is the most interesting part of your work?

What I find most rewarding is developing quality systems that meet all three of the requirements around customer satisfaction, organisational needs and compliance with regulatory requirements. You don’t often see systems that can do all three things. An interesting aspect of my work is applying the risk-based approach is emphasised in the 2016 version of the ISO13485 standard which involves analysing an issue and solution from the risk perspective including adverse effect evaluation.

Soma with roses grown in his own garden

Q What is the most common question you get asked at work?

What customers want to know most is how we can help them meet their regulatory requirements. This question is very specific to each product and the industry the customer is in. So we have to work collaboratively to find an optimum solution.

Q: What is the best thing about working at Circuitwise?

I enjoy the degree of independence I have. I am empowered to design new processes and implement them. The managers trust all their staff to do their job well, so we don’t have too many bureaucratic approval processes. The quality processes are designed to be flexible to meet the ever-changing needs of customers. It’s simple, logical and effective.

Q: What are your favourite activities outside of work? What are you most enthusiastic about?

I love gardening. My garden is full of roses, several citrus plants and medicinal plants such as Aloe Vera. On the weekends, I like to go for bike rides and long walks. I’ve set myself a challenge to learn painting.

Q: Where did you grow up? I grew up in Mysore in India, which is in the south of the country. I got my engineering degree there and worked for ten years in PCB manufacturing before moving to Malaysia for the next four years. I worked there for one of the top five contract manufacturers in the world before relocating to Australia in 2006. I was fortunate to find a job with Circuitwise within two weeks of arrival.

Q: What is your best tip for customers in manufacturing electronic products?

Customers should take the required time to fully understand the compliance requirements before designing their product and make sure it can be easily manufactured. If the design is not validated prior to certification, the company can end up with a product that does not comply with quality or regulatory requirements and it may have to be redesigned all-over again. The risk associated with such an exercise is high.

Q: What do you think is the most important reason product developers should use Circuitwise?

The main reason companies will find Circuitwise valuable is that we have a flexible, certified system to meet their requirements at affordable price. We also protect them from the quality issues that can arise from component suppliers and manufacturing. All component suppliers assure an acceptable quality level (AQL) on their components. What this means is that a small percentage of components may be faulty. This can translate to a few boards in a run not working. If a customer tries to assemble a PCB themselves, they will be exposed to this annoying issue. They may expend much time and effort in resolving the problem and reworking boards. However, Circuitwise guarantees performance on components and manufacturing quality on 100% of the boards it delivers to customers. So we take full responsibility for working upstream on warranty claims protecting customers from this issue.


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