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Meet the team: Mary Anne Parker, Quality Manager

Blogs November 9, 2020

OxTS the inertial navigation expertsQuality sits at the centre of everything we do. The advice we provide, the support we offer, the products and components we sell, even our brochures and sales materials, are all engrained with a quality-first, value-first approach. This ensures that OxTS customers measure with confidence whenever they use OxTS inertial navigation systems. Here, Mary Anne Parker, OxTS’ Quality Manager, tells us about a ‘day in her life’:


1. How long have you worked at OxTS, and have you experienced many changes during your time with the Company?

I have been working at OxTS for just over a year now, and there is always lots going on developing new products and improving the existing ones. To use a cliché “change is the constant” which makes for a really dynamic working environment.


2. What are your key responsibilities in your role as OxTS’ Quality Manager?

One key part of my role is the maintenance of our external certifications. As well as manufacturing our products we also calibrate them, and we are accredited to ISO17025:2017 the international standard for calibration laboratories. It is really important to us that we are able to offer this service for our customers.

Beyond the systems side of the business much of my time is spent working on process improvements. This is about looking across the business at how we can make our processes and systems better, so that the right thing happens automatically. I am a big fan of poka yoke which mean mistake proofing, this is about making it impossible to do an activity incorrectly. One of my favourite examples is a 3-pin electrical plug, you have to put it into the socket the right way around.


3. What’s a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?

Very early in my time at OxTS we were scheduled for our ISO17025:2017 transition audit, and re-certification audit at the same time. This meant a longer and more in-depth audit than normal and to add to the challenge, I was new to the company. There was no way I was going to be able to manage this on my own, so I gathered people from across the company to work through what was needed. Everyone worked together and as well as dealing with their own parts were incredibly patient with me as a rookie. The audit days went smoothly, and we had some very positive feedback from the auditors.


4. What’s been most challenging about your role so far, and how have you overcome this?

My background is in materials science rather than electronics, so the technology is completely new to me. Fortunately, my colleagues are very patient answering my questions, and explaining how things work. I have also been watching some of the webinars, and have learnt a lot from these, it is interesting having an external view of what some of my colleagues do.


5. What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?

I think that the historic image of quality departments is that they go round pointing out things which are wrong, think clipboards, checklists, and red pens. There is an element of this, but then the important thing is to do something about it. This may sound a bit geeky, but I believe that everything we do in life is a process and we are all continually making process improvement. My job is to identify those improvements and make them stick.


6. What are your goals for the next 12 months at OxTS?

As soon as the opportunity arises, I want to get more hands-on with our products. I normally work with the Operations team, so I see how they are made, but I haven’t really seen them in action. If I am totally honest, there was an opportunity last year, but it was tipping it down with rain! OxTS inertial navigation systems are the market-leaders in the automotive industry, and so I am looking forward to seeing the technology in action in one of the OxTS test cars. The pointclouds created for survey and mapping customers are also fascinating and I’m keen to see a Survey+ or xNAV in operation for this reason.


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