ASQ - Six Sigma Forum

Ondina M. Castillo, lean Six Sigma project manager and Black Belt, Intradeco Apparel Group

Ondina M. Castillo

Ondina M. Castillo, an ASQ member since 2007, is a lean Six Sigma project manager and Black Belt for Intradeco Apparel Group in El Salvador. Intradeco Apparel Group is made up of three companies: Inmobiliaria Apopa, Intradesa and Intradeco. Inmobiliaria Apopa is a 100% cotton ring-spinning and open-end mill, with knitting and dyeing operations, located in Apopa, El Salvador. Intradesa is a vertical integrated apparel operation that includes cutting, screen printing, heat-transferring, sewing, washing, pressing and packing operations. Lastly, Intradeco is headquartered in Miami and is a vertical manufacturing company that supplies casual clothing and thermal underwear to major retailers in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

At Intradeco, Castillo manages synergy teams and strategic projects, as well as supervises projects involving lean manufacturing and Six Sigma tools, production, product development, maintenance and the whole supply chain for Intradesa, Intradeco and Inmobiliria Apopa. She has also successfully implemented the define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) method to reduce waste and costs, increase efficiency and reduce defects and failures. Castillo has also taught the organization’s Green Belt course.

Castillo earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from José Matías Delgado University in El Salvador and a master’s degree quality assurance from Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, GA. Additionally, she is an ASQ-certified Six Sigma Black Belt and a Southern Polytechnic State University-certified Green Belt.
She recently answered questions ¬about the importance of quality and provided insight for those new to quality. 
What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Six Sigma defines a systematic, project-oriented approach (DMAIC) to study and improve processes. Therefore, a project manager must implement DMAIC phases in the most judicious point in time. When implementing a Six Sigma project, special attention should be paid to consensus development.

Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
Six Sigma seeks to improve a product or service and customer satisfaction—both seek to improve costs. The cost improvement and financial objectives are why Six Sigma has been successful as a method. Strategic objectives are made significant and practical on the shop floor, and translated to bottom-line and financial impact. Waste is reduced using statistical process control or lean, and methods also reduce costs associated with customer dissatisfaction. We seek to improve processes by achieving greater efficiency and reduced cycle times—both of which impact process costs.

Why do you think quality is important?
Quality management helps us increase the likelihood of satisfying our customers and at the same time increasing productivity and competitiveness. The companies that support quality initiatives and quality culture have received payback in the short term.

What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
Quality development is a social responsibility, because quality brings confidence and strengthens the overall business vision. I think it also is the best way to a achieve excellence and competitiveness in a worldwide market.

Furthermore, improving and developing the national and regional businesses as well as our national and regional communities by infusing quality to our industries processes, will make the Third World countries not only a good sourcing option, but also a good choice for investment.

Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
I am very much familiar with W. Edwards Demings’ teachings. I was in my first year of college when I read Deming´s Theory of Management. Quality is a way of life, and it will bring quality of life. This is my favorite quote:  "Need any country be poor? For any country willing to modify Deming's fundamental principles to suit its own culture and population, the answer may well be ‘no.’”

What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
To constantly train, network, get help, read and keep your knowledge current and updated. Be humble; be a change agent. Don’t dwell on what you don’t have, but what you are looking for. Don’t get discouraged, no matter how difficult and empathic the leaders seem to be—you are the leader they have been waiting for. Quality is about attitude, and your attitude must me positive. Believe that you can revolutionize things at your company, even if you are swimming among the sharks. Get support, and get buy in. Challenge is a constant—consequently, change and improvement should be too.



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