Alumni in Action: Cynthia Iwasaki, ITC Manufacturing
Cynthia Iwasaki’s voice beams with excitement as she talks about applying Lean Six Sigma at ITC Manufacturing, a steel decking manufacturer in Columbus, Ohio, where she is leading quality improvements, including a focus on reducing scrap tonnage (a metric for efficiency). To reduce scrap, processes are being audited and updated and operators are being retrained. Just last month the company had less than 1% scrap — a record low. Thanks to some of the changes Cynthia helped introduce, the company has also reduced downtime and manpower expenses.
How was this reduction achieved?
- First, she put in a system of checks and balances to minimize overall waste.
- Then she looked deeper to identify the machine(s) that were generating higher levels of waste and used some of the statistical tools of Six Sigma to measure output.
- Most importantly, she observed and learned how the processes flowed and then identified where the gaps were in the system so that improvements could be made.
Cynthia always liked to figure out how things work and make them work better. Her education and career have been in quality assurance and project management. When her previous position was eliminated, Cynthia knew that to move forward on her career path she would need to be certified in a Quality/Process Improvement methodology. She chose a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification because she had seen Six Sigma practiced and understood its value. Her timeline:
- December 2014: Position Eliminated
- February 2015: Black Belt Earned from BPG
- June 2015: Hired as a Quality Assurance Specialist at ITC
- August 2015: Promoted to Corporate Quality Assurance Manager, ITC
Cynthia is convinced that the BPG training helped her stand out. She knows it gave her the confidence to sell her skills during the interview process and prove them in her work performance. She says “I know in my heart that if I had not taken the course, I would not be where I am today.”
Cynthia uses Six Sigma daily:
- At work: To build a culture of excellence and continuous improvement at ITC.
- At home: To organize her life as she works full-time while taking classes to earn her MBA, with a focus on innovation and change management.
Are you wondering if you should get a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt? Cynthia Says:
“Applicants who understand, recognize, and identify the cause of downtime, the cost of poor quality, or other inefficiencies, have a valuable skill that employers need and want. Having a passion for your work is not enough anymore; being able to bring a valued skill with your passion is how applicants can sell themselves.”
This post was contributed By Breakthrough Performance Group
Graduate, Tricia Boies. Tricia holds her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification. She is a freelance business writer, project manager, and a process manager. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.