A Culture Of Excellence At Nightforce Optics
By Len Backus, Publisher
Last summer Kathy and I made a 5,200 mile road trip from our home in Wisconsin to the northwest coast of the US. We got up as far north as Vancouver Island in British Columbia and as far south as Darrell Holland's home and business in southern Oregon.
We visited a number of Long Range Hunting related folks on the way and had a great time. There were many high points on the trip but none more interesting and satisfying than our 4 hour tour of the Nightforce Optics headquarters facility in Orofino, Idaho. I had wanted to visit them for several years and now the timing was perfect.
I bought my first Nightforce scope for personal use in the year 2000 and we've been a Nightforce dealer for quite a while. Nightforce in all these years has had an enviable reputation for quality and service. So when we arrived at the Orofino headquarters it was with great expectations for seeing quality control in action.
But long before our 4 hour tour was over, we were just blown away.
Our impression started with the way each member of the Nightforce team seemed so proud and knowledgeable. Several times I was standing near a tech support person on the phone handling calls from either a prospective buyer or an existing customer who needed help. It was impressive to hear the amount of tech knowledge being discussed. Everyone who handles telephone service knows the product inside and out.
We began our 4 hour tour by donning disposable booties on our feet to keep a clean, dust-free environment. That little "dot" in the hand in the picture below is not a speck of dirt, by the way. No, it is a tiny, tiny fastener used in one of the scopes.
You can purchase Nightforce products right HERE at The Long Range Hunting Store.
Well in advance of our arrival I had been asked just what I'd like to see or learn on our tour. I said I wanted to understand how they achieved such a high level of quality both in production and in service.
I can't quote you dimensional tolerances or statistical facts because we were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement before our tour started. But let me just say I watched an engineer who was doing quality checks for manufacturing tolerances on a special electronic measuring device that cost much, much more than the combined values of my two vehicles and all my personal rifles.
In fact, one strong impression I got from the tour is that the strong growth in sales and profits in recent years has enabled them to make very large investments in technology and personnel that will enable them to further excel.
Before any new scope is sent out the door it undergoes a very rigorous inspection.
Inspection checklist form.
Each scope is put through an impact test. It is pounded against a hard surface to test integrity of the reticle and the erector tube components. This has to do with repeatability of "clicks" for adjusting for both elevation and windage.
The scope is struck on the target in several different directions. And then it is subject again to the repeatability tests.
All scopes are checked for resolution (sharpness), clarity, brightness, repeatability and other factors.
As we left Orofino, Idaho that day to continue our long, pleasant journey home, it was with a sense that the team members at Nightforce Optics truly epitomize the concept of “a culture of excellence".
Our new friends at Nightforce.
About The Author:
Len Backus is the owner of www.LongRangeHunting.com. He has been a long range hunter since the 90's and is as likely to bag his game with a camera as with a rifle or a specialty handgun. His outdoor photography can be seen at LenBackus.com.