The quality approach has always been present in the activities of LPC2E as with all space players. It has recently been systematized and extended, as part of a joint effort conducted in all space laboratories as requested by CNRS-INSU and CNES.
The aim is to adapt the operation of laboratories to a world in which increasingly demanding and complex projects are carried out in an increasingly collaborative and integrated manner between space agencies, industrialists, laboratories and subcontractors. Extended to all laboratory activities, the quality approach therefore aims at ensuring its smooth operation by harmonising and homogenising the methods, tools and resources used. The expected result is to improve and maintain the necessary level of trust in our relationships with our partners and the community at large. For example, there would be no point in making advanced instruments if the link between scientific need and technical performance was lost, if sufficient storage and shipping conditions for instruments and their components were not ensured, or if the laboratory could not ensure management compatible with the budgets implemented.
The laboratory’s approach, in line with the standards recommended by the INSU, takes as a reference the ISO9001-v2015 standard and should lead to compliance with this standard. It is asked to establish a cartography of all the processes implemented in the laboratory’s activity; then to associate to these processes procedures and a documentary reference frame, which is enriched by the analysis of observed anomalies, in a continuous improvement process. The quality approach thus makes it possible to bring a transverse, interdisciplinary and multi-scale vision to this analysis.
Starting from an initial need linked to the particular requirements of space achievements, the quality approach extends from the top to the bottom of the laboratory activity. The implementation of appropriate methodologies and tools (electronic documentation management, tickets/requests/anomalies management, etc.) initially arose out of a need for space projects, but their operability and effectiveness are demonstrated at all levels of the laboratory’s life. It then becomes natural to propose and apply it transversally to activities that do not have the same level of requirements a priori, but can benefit from the tools and methods set up by the laboratory. The quality approach, ensuring the proper execution of proposals submitted to funding agencies, thus becomes a competitive advantage for these activities.