The quest for continuous improvement and customer satisfaction has been part of Mack Molding’s mission and key values since its start in 1920. In the early ’90s, we ratcheted up that endeavor in pursuit of perfection and total customer satisfaction. Today, Mack is formalizing that process even further through Six Sigma training. “Our overall goals are to cut out waste, drive toward lean manufacturing, and eliminate any steps in the process that don’t add value to the final product,” says Ray Burns, president of Mack Molding’s southern operations.
Steve Parker and Brian Colton, quality managers at Mack’s Inman, S.C., and Statesville, N.C., facilities, are pursuing Black Belt training through PACCAR Inc., parent company of key customers, Peterbilt and Kenworth. The four-week course is a methodology based around DMAIC – define, measure, analyze, improve and control. It focuses on root cause analysis or the original reasons for nonconformance with a process; process improvement; statistical methods to analyze and monitor process capability and performance; and waste elimination.
Currently in their final week of training, both Parker and Colton are completing process-related projects that will have bottom-line results for all customers. Parker is looking to speed up the root cause/corrective action process that is employed when a defective part is made, while Colton is studying ways to decrease the set-up time needed to change tools in the press.
Parker has worked in the quality assurance field for nearly 20 years, with much of that time in plastics. He began working for Mack in 1992. A graduate of Limestone College, Gaffney, S.C., he holds a bachelor’s degree in business, and is a lead assessor for ISO 9001:2000. Colton, an engineering graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, was quality and engineering manager for the Alcatel Fiber Optic Plant, Claremont, N.C., before joining Mack in 2002.
Wanda Knowles, director of quality and information systems at Mack’s headquarters plant in Arlington, Vt., is also currently participating in Six Sigma training. As part of her project, Knowles is working in concert with a customer to uncover process improvements for a new product launch.
Knowles joined Mack in 2000 with 22 years of quality management expertise garnered while working with such prominent OEMs as Simplex Time Recorder and Bose Corporation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in quality management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a master’s in project management from Tufts University, The Gordon Institute, Medford, Mass. An ASQ certified quality engineer, Knowles is also an ISO 9001:2000 internal auditor.