My experience with Wang Laboratories Scotland

Senior Engineer: 1984–1987

I spent the years from 1984 to 1987 working for the American computer and software manufacturer, Wang Laboratories. In 1984, Wang opened a production facility in Stirling, Scotland to build desktop computers mainly for the European market, but also serving the Middle East and Africa. As a senior member of the Engineering Department, my responsibilities over the period took in vendor engineering for electrical and electronic components; product safety and compliance engineering; and manufacturing quality assurance. Throughout my time with the company, I supervised, mentored and assisted in the training and development of other engineers in the department.

Within the vendor engineering sphere, I

  • selected and procured test equipment for the incoming inspection group;
  • developed inspection and test procedures for all manner of purchased parts and materials;
  • trained incoming inspection personnel in inspection and test methods and sampling procedures;
  • worked with suppliers to qualify European sources for components, parts and materials; to resolve technical and quality problems; to improve supplier performance; and to develop suppliers for certification for the Ship to Stock programme, eliminating the requirement for incoming inspection on their deliveries.

Amongst my product safety and compliance engineering activities, I

  • ensured our products complied with IEC safety standards, and drew up the product manuals required by the certification body;
  • arranged for product safety testing and certification by the certification body and facilitated its regular site audits;
  • specified and oversaw routine production safety testing operations, and conducted regular product safety audits and reviews;
  • liaised with design engineers and suppliers to ensure that new products or changes to products attained or maintained necessary safety certifications.

On the manufacturing quality assurance front, I

  • developed quality monitoring and analysis systems and implemented formal quality control methods in production;
  • analysed test data for repetitive failures that merited investigation and corrective action;
  • monitored and analysed the results of burn-in and ongoing reliability testing to determine whether burn-in procedures could or should be adjusted;
  • developed manufacturing quality plans for new product lines.

In 1986, I worked at Wang’s headquarters in Lowell, Massachusetts as part of a new product introduction team, concentrating on component engineering, quality, reliability and safety aspects.

While with Wang I took formal courses in quality systems auditing, and Deming Methods for Quality and Productivity by Dr Deming and George Washington University.

My last and biggest single achievement with Wang was to develop, implement and document a company-wide quality management system that was certified by BSI to BS 5750 (the precursor to ISO9000 and on which ISO9000 was based).