Of course I had heard great things about the Company, its energy, ethos and achievements, but could it all be true? What gremlins were lurking beneath the glamour of the (mercifully few) interview presentations? Well, surprisingly not many at all.
The Inzpire Mission Systems Group has grown rapidly over the last few years, and not only in its head count. As the complexity and variety of the systems we produce grows, along with the number of customer organisations (both national and international), there was a need for more formality, and therefore more process. Mission Systems Group has not shirked this responsibility, but neither has it gone process-crazy. Processes, and the procedures that underpin them, continue to be developed, but in a pragmatic way, and only if they will add value. And that brings me to safety…
Not surprisingly a lot of good safety engineering activities were being performed prior to my arrival. They had to be; the GECO Mission Support System was already entering service with the JHC Puma Force. The ‘management system’ that gives these safety activities structure and ensures that they are sufficient, robust, appropriate, well-documented and compliant (i.e. capable of satisfying all applicable legislation and regulation) also needed to remain aligned with the growth of the organisation. So that’s been my task; calling upon my experience as a safety engineer with the RAF and QinetiQ, working closely with the other Team members (my greatest resource), and of course our customers and the users of our Systems I have begun the task of maturing a good safety management system into a truly excellent safety management system; because that’s the way we do things around here. We seek excellence in all that we do, and thankfully for me, this guiding principle extends to the safety of our products.
Safety is, of course, balanced against the need to provide some capability, and Inzpire’s products are no different in this respect. For example, our GECO System provides a truly awe-inspiring mission planning capability, and the customer community is delighted by the efficiencies that it realises; however, whilst it is important that we deliver this operational capability it is also important that our Systems can be shown to achieve an appropriate level of safety, and that the customer understands all of the residual risks being passed into his operation. That’s the purpose of our product safety assessments, and each GECO product is supported by an associated safety assessment report that is tailored to our customer’s information needs, whether these are driven by their own safety management system or the demands of a regulatory authority.
Looking to the future it is already apparent to me that the complexity and the safety-criticality of our GECO products is going to increase, and the safety management system that I am implementing will need to deliver the evidence necessary to certify ever more complex and often highly-integrated systems. This will be a challenge, involving not only me, but the entire Team. However, I came to Inzpire for a challenge, and I came to work for a company that was genuinely, and above all else, intent upon satisfying our military customer’s need for capable, dependable, safe and cost-effective products that are delivered on time and within budget. So far, I think we are ticking all of those boxes!