Lighthouse Awards Spotlight: Part 2

SEAKR: Best Systems Engineering Process Using Cockpit

During Cognition’s 2017 User Conference, we presented the first annual Lighthouse Awards. A new feature of the conference, the awards were given to distinguished guests who have shown excellence in product development and compliance work while utilizing the Cockpit™ Platform. In the “Lighthouse Awards Spotlight” article series, we highlight the winners and their implementation of the Cockpit platform.

SEAKR and Cockpit

SEAKR Engineering, Inc. has been revolutionizing spacecraft memory systems since 1981. They design and manufacture processors, command and data handling systems, advanced payloads, and manned space hardware, including state-of-the-art space communications processors capable of channelization and beamforming.

Their products are in orbit around the Earth, aboard the International Space Station, and have traveled as far off as Jupiter. They are involved with NASA’s JUNO mission, helping gather data about the formation of other planets in the solar system. SEAKR also supports the Defense Department with space-based capabilities that improve the US battle network and support commercial satellite networks as that market continues to evolve.

For the past six years, SEAKR has been implementing the Cognition Cockpit platform in the continual development of their products. “Around six years ago, there was a confluence of events that occurred, forcing us to start developing more complex products,” says Monica Calcott, Director of Systems Engineering at SEAKR. To aid in this effort, SEAKR turned to Cognition and its Cockpit platform.

SEAKR was initially attracted to Cockpit for its ability to manage flowup and flowdown of requirements as well as its traceability to verification of those requirements. This was combined with Cockpit’s affordability and ease of use. “We needed a cost-affordable way to better track and verify requirements throughout the project, and Cockpit was the best platform for that,” says Ms. Calcott.

The organization now deploys Cockpit at their Centennial, Colorado headquarters. Working from what Ms. Calcott describes as a “common base,” her Systems Engineering group has been able to develop a platform that compliments their engineering product development process organization-wide. This, she believes, will serve as the basis for successful future development and growth at SEAKR.

Developing a Systems Engineering Process within Cockpit

During the early days of Cockpit implementation at SEAKR, it became apparent that a systems engineering approach was needed to better implement it into their product development process. “Our engineers were doing firefighting most of the time,” says Ms. Calcott. “We needed to create processes and configure Cockpit to support those processes, so they could be pro-active rather than re-active.”

After defining roles, systems processes, and responsibilities for each of the staff, the systems engineering group serves as ‘tool experts’ and coupled with custom training material has led to early adoption of the Cockpit RME across the organization. After about a year of slow rollout, the platform was fully deployed across all necessary business units with defined processes in place.

“With our systems approach to Cockpit development and adoption, we were able to develop real consistency across business units,” says Ms. Calcott. “It allowed us to cross-check requirements to ensure they were being verified and implemented in our designs within a single, centralized model.”

The Award

Because of their work in implementing systems engineering processes into a customized implementation of Cockpit, SEAKR was presented with the Lighthouse Award for “Best Systems Engineering Process Using Cockpit” at this year’s Cognition User Conference. “Ms. Calcott and her team have exceled in developing their processes and configuring Cockpit around that,” says David Cronin, CEO of Cognition.

On receiving the award, Ms. Calcott says she is flattered that her and her team were recognized for their hard work. “We could not be where we are without the platform and the processes without Cognition, honestly,” she says.

Looking Forward

As SEAKR continues to work with Cockpit and tackle greater systems engineering challenges, they expect stable growth and success with their implementation of Cockpit. “We’ll continue to evolve our processes and optimize it for ease of use, simpler navigation, and seamless export,” says Ms. Calcott. “Along the way, since we love working with Cognition, we hope to continue collaborating and making the platform better.”

“Ms. Calcott and her team over at SEAKR are great champions of Cockpit,” says Mr. Cronin. “We’re excited to continue our partnership and see where the next few years take us.”

Congratulations SEAKR, from all of us here at Cognition!

Cummins: Longest Continuous User of Cockpit

During Cognition’s 2017 User Conference, we presented the first annual Lighthouse Awards. A new feature of the conference, the awards were given to distinguished guests who have shown excellence in product development and compliance work while utilizing the Cockpit™ Platform. In the “Lighthouse Awards Spotlight” article series, we highlight the winners and their implementation of the Cockpit platform.

Cummins and Cockpit

Cummins Inc. is a Fortune 500 company that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines, as well as related components and technology. They boast 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,400 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Founded as Cummins Engine Company in 1919, the company was among the first to leverage the commercial viability of diesel engine technology. Their products have been powering American roads and highways ever since, and now the diverse organization has transformed into a global leader in power technologies. By approaching the market with the best products, partnering with customers, and working to promote a clean and healthy environment—all while committing to creating wealth for its stakeholders—Cummins has been able to become a major force in its industry.

Cummins became a Cognition customer several years ago, when they were developing a Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) deployment organization-wide. “We first got involved with Cognition and the Cockpit platform somewhere back in 2001,” says Chris Hoffman, Technical Advisor &Tools Integration Leader at Cummins. “The team working on that DFSS deployment was looking for a solution to help us do critical parameter management. Cockpit was that solution.”

Longest Continuous User of Cockpit

Cockpit has changed radically since Cummins first came on board, as has their use of it. Initially, as Mr. Hoffman says, it was to assist with critical parameter management in regard to DFSS. “As we’ve gone on and our process has changed, we’ve adapted Cockpit to fit within that process.”

Cummins has several functions they perform within Cockpit, as part of a larger suite of engineering tools. “It has served well as a collaborative solution for us,” says Mr. Hoffman. “With so many globally-scattered teams, we need to have a unified method of document control and information sharing.” Cummins product development teams also utilize Cockpit as a secure file storage system and run many of their team meetings through the platform for several projects.

Cummins still finds major value in how they’ve integrated Cockpit into their process. This is a function of both the Cockpit features Cummins utilizes but also their relationship with Cognition. “While Cognition has pivoted more to serve the medical device sector, we definitely maintain a close partnership,” says Mr. Hoffman. “We feel as though we have some ownership in the solution, and the relationship is mutually beneficial. Some of what we ask for from Cognition can end up being useful to other Cockpit users as well.”

The Award

Because of their dedicated use of Cockpit and their fantastic relationship with Cognition, Cummins was presented with the Lighthouse Award for “Longest Continuous Cockpit User” at this year’s Cognition User Conference. “Mr. Hoffman and his team have proven themselves loyal and faithful friends to Cognition,” says David Cronin, CEO of Cognition. “We’re very happy to recognize them for their long relationship with us and their feedback that has helped launch Cockpit to where it is now.”

On receiving the award, Mr. Hoffman says he and his team were proud to be recognized for their achievement. “I still remember when Cockpit hadn’t gotten to the web environment it sits in today,” he says. “They’ve come a long way, and we’re proud to have been part of the journey thus far.”

Looking Forward

As Cummins continues to work with Cockpit and tackle greater team and document control challenges, they expect stable growth and success with their implementation of Cockpit. “We’re just one of many businesses who need the type of solution Cognition and the Cockpit platform provide,” says Mr. Hoffman. “We’ve got a great process in place now, and we’re excited to see where the future takes us with Cognition.”

Congratulations Cummins, from all of us here at Cognition!

About the Author

Nick Schofield is a content creator for Cognition Corporation. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, he has written for newspapers, the IT industry, and cybersecurity firms. In his spare time, he is writing, hanging out with his girlfriend and his cats, or geeking out over craft beer. He can be reached at nick.schofield@cognition.us.