Q: How can organizations avoid those “cracks” in their implementation efforts?
A: I often refer to the efforts and actions to make the practical implementation successful as a “chiropractic adjustment.” So many companies have the standard portions of their continuous improvement systems in place (many must to be certified to ISO 9000, AS 9100, or similar); therefore, it is not the absence of these fundamentals that leads to some of their performance challenges. Instead, I believe it is the practical translation between concept and reality that is the culprit. Just like going to see your local “chiro”, addressing these target areas by prescribing small, practical adjustments can lead to healthier operations.
Q: In addition to your accomplishments with Boeing, you were named one of five finalists for the 2020 Aviation Week Program Excellence Awards – Special Projects category. Your project, Get to Gold – Eliminate Quality Escapes, also won the 2019 Boeing Chairman’s Quality Award. What was the project about?
A: ‘Get to Gold’ really was so special to be part of. The project was launched to relentlessly reduce defects being passed to customers by combining systems thinking, problem solving techniques, data science, and some great teamwork from across the globe. We achieved over an 80% decrease to quality escapes and related quality costs in less than two years.
My personal approach to this endeavor was to tackle our biggest headache with a company-wide DMAIC project. In fact, ‘Get to Gold’ was my final project for the U-M Nexus Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification. Beyond improving performance and earning my credential, I am proud that the project earned this level of enterprise and industry attention — particularly for all of those that helped out as part of the project team.