There’s more to making watches than producing parts and assembling them into the final product. There’s the whole aspect of quality control. How annoying is it when your watch fails and you have to send it back to the manufacture or their service center to have it fixed? We’ve all heard the stories–and it’s not limited to just a few of the brands, although some are worse than others. You end up waiting weeks to get back your watch, which is incredibly frustrating and might just make you change your mind about the brand. A reliable quality control system in place would save time and money not only for the brand, its suppliers and the reputation of the company but, most importantly, for the end-line consumer.
IWC understands how important quality control is. They take it so seriously they put together a department headed by Dr. Thomas Bregel, a doctor with degrees in atomic and molecular physics. Although he doesn’t have a background in watchmaking, he’s worked as a material’s development engineer and a prototyping engineer for production machines in the textile industry. Like watchmaking, these fields rely on a manufacturing environment that requires practical procedures in order to monitor quality. Before joining IWC in 2009, he applied his skills in the automotive industry.
Overseeing a team of 50, which is almost 7% of IWC’s workforce of 700, Dr. Bregel has implemented a program with precise guidelines using standards similar to the automotive industry. These standards apply for in-house production as well as outside suppliers. However, the inspections by Bregel’s team are the last step in the quality control process. Workers are trained to self-inspect each step of the way and time is included in their schedule to do so. Dr. Bregel’s quality control checks aren’t limited to just the production departments. These principles are also being applied to management in a top to bottom revamping.
By taking the lead in adopting 21st century business management principles, IWC is trailblazing the future and elevating the standards of the watch industry. Hopefully other companies will follow suit.