On the sofa with… Daniel Cortina, Quality Director at SEAT


Advanced Manufacturing Madrid – One of the objectives of the automotive sector is to achieve a more autonomous electric car without compromising its reliability. How does the quality department participate in this process?

Daniel Cortina –From the Corporate Quality area, we participate in new projects from the initial stages, providing requirements from the customer’s point of view. In other words, we define what characteristics these models must have, what their functions must be like and what standards the different components must meet in order to achieve the reliability and performance objectives.

Once we have defined these requirements at the beginning of a new project, we ensure that they are met throughout the development phase in close collaboration with the other areas of the company and, in particular, with Engineering.

Finally, just before the vehicle is marketed, we carry out a final verification of compliance with the established standards to ensure the highest degree of customer satisfaction.

Autonomous driving functions, such as connectivity and other infotainment elements, require special assurance due to the complexity of the systems themselves. We base this assurance both on component or system tests (either in laboratory or simulated conditions) and on the entire vehicle, for which we test our vehicles under various extreme conditions with a focus on functional assurance.

From the moment a product is launched until the end of its production, we ensure the same level of quality in each and every vehicle we deliver to our customers.

AMM – SEAT was the first company in the Spanish automotive industry to obtain the Ecodesign certification. What does it consist of and what are the good practices for which you were awarded it?

D. Cortina – The Ecodesign certification endorses the company’s environmental management system during the product design and development processes, and is part of the environmental strategy of SEAT S.A. The certification supports the management system to identify, control and continuously improve the environmental aspects of the design and development processes.

In addition to the above certification, all SEAT production plants, both for vehicles and their components, have ISO 9001:20015 and VDA 6.1:2016 quality management system certifications. We also have our own training centre, a benchmark in the automotive sector, which is also ISO 9001 certified.

AMM – Why would you say that the Quality department has a relevant role in a company like SEAT?

D. Cortina – Quality has a characteristic that makes it unique, as it maintains a link with all areas of the company, as well as with all its transversal processes. We are responsible for ensuring the development processes of our new vehicles together with Engineering, Production, Purchasing, Finance and Marketing.

We have a relevant role in the subsequent industrialisation of the means necessary for the manufacture of our future SEAT and CUPRA vehicles and, finally, we must ensure that the plants in which they are produced are ready for series production in compliance with the stipulated Quality standards.

Once our products begin to be marketed, we must ensure throughout their life cycle that they meet our customers’ satisfaction objectives. In this sense, we monitor and propose, if necessary, contingency plans to ensure the necessary quality of our products, in collaboration with Sales.

In short, we participate in all the company’s processes, which makes us unique and, at the same time, also entails a high level of responsibility.

AMM – You’ve had a long career at SEAT and the Volkswagen Group, but only a few months ago you became Quality Director. How has this change transformed your day-to-day life?

D. Cortina – It’s like starting from scratch. Everything I do is new to me and that means facing daily challenges, which I do with a lot of enthusiasm and humility. Luckily I work with a fantastic team, very professional and committed, who have understood that together we have to transform our area and prepare it for the challenges of the future. I am sure that, working together, we will succeed.

AMM – Finally, what do you think of events like Advanced Manufacturing Madrid, which bring together the entire industrial sector under the same roof? Will you be visiting the fair this year?

D. Cortina – They are interesting and enriching as it is a meeting point for professionals from the industrial sector to learn about the latest innovations and also to network. As is usual for me, I will promote the participation of my team members in events like this.

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