TXST Faculty, Students Test Quality of Workplace Products for the Texas Workforce Commission
Texas State University entered into an Interagency Contract (IAC) with the Texas Workforce Commission to conduct quality assurance testing on products sold through the State Use Program, otherwise known as the Purchasing from People with Disabilities (PPD) program.
Texas law requires state agencies to purchase certain workplace products from WorkQuest, Inc., an organization that helps employ individuals with disabilities, except for certain instances, including when a product does not meet the quality needs of the agency.
In a strategic partnership, the Ingram School of Engineering and the McCoy College of Business are leading a three-phase analysis initiative. Their collective objective is to ensure the exceptional quality of commonplace materials, including gloves, belts, toner cartridges, writing instruments, and adhesive products such as tape and sticky notes.
This dynamic collaboration extends beyond conventional methods. The team is conducting meticulous tests aligned with industry benchmarks like American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Technical Association of the Paper and Pulp Industry (TAPPI), establishing a robust framework for comprehensive quality assurance. Furthermore, they're pioneering testing methodologies for non-standard parameters, introducing scientific rigor to the assessment of everyday items. This ongoing project represents a significant advancement in the realm of quality assurance.
The project is led by Francis Mendez, Ph.D., and Robert Wright from the Department of Information Systems and Analytics. In addition to TXST faculty and staff, the cross-disciplinary team is also made up of both undergraduate and graduate students who combine their knowledge in statistical analysis and engineering to help ensure products exceed the quality needs of agencies that buy them.
Luis Pardo, a graduate student in the College of Science and Engineering says that the collaboration between Ingram School of Engineering and the McCoy College of Business has been a key factor in the project's success.
“The combination of business and engineering perspectives allow for a more comprehensive approach to problem-solving,” says Pardo, who earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems.
“The business perspective helps us map dollars and cents to potential issues with the products, allowing us to test products that will best help our client. The engineering perspective helps us understand how we can best test the products to replicate use-case scenarios, ensuring that we have reliable, reproducible results.” To date, the team has tested more than 100 items.
The team will continue providing quality assurance testing through August 2024 with the current contract.