Marlowe L. Wicks, senior manager of quality and metrology at the Crown Cork and Seal Company
Where do you work?
Crown Cork and Seal Company at the Sugar Land, TX, location.
What do you do – what’s your title?
Senior manager of quality and metrology. At my organization, I:
-Purchase new gauging systems, replace manual gauges with either automated or in-line gauging where possible.
-Manage and implement a quality assurance database system in our plants. Convert from a flat file structure to an SQL database that helps us manage our assignable cause and corrective action activities.
-Assist in training Six Sigma candidates in the internal Six Sigma program.
-I also perform audits of supplier facilities. I work with the plants and help them design their quality gauges to interface with Northwest Analytics Software for statistical analysis by the operator.
What’s your educational background?
Bachelors of science degree with an area of interest in information systems, Crown Cork and Seal Company-certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and trained in SQL and Microsoft server software.
How long have you been an ASQ member?
Member for 15 years.
What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Make sure the company has a real need for the activity, make sure everyone is on board with scope of the work and that the project is aligned with the goals of all participants. Many times, manufacturing and quality departments have different expectations and do not always agree on the definition of a “good product.” They must establish agreement before going into the project.
Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
The biggest impact I believe is the structured approach to problem solving and the impact it has on future decisions made by those that are students of the Six Sigma method. The graduate of a good Six Sigma Program will continue to use data-driven decision making upon graduation from training.
Why do you think quality is important?
All that is left to speak for the product is its quality after it leaves your facility. Product quality drives down costs.
What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
No phone calls in the middle of the night. A friendly relationship with your customer helps as well. A good customer supplier relationship will help if you ever do have some marginal product that gets out the door.
Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
Quality was always an interest of mine as I have worked in manufacturing facilities. I was an hourly worker and bid on a job as a statistical process control coordinator. I had a math background, and it made sense to me to use this as a tool to drive our quality systems. I progressed from that point and learned I really enjoyed gauge buyoff. Then I became involved at the planning stages in which I designed and altered gauging to fit our systems better. My activities branched out to include the design of a quality database which is used as a process control management system.
What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
Take advantage of all training you can get. Find a way to make each training opportunity valuable in your job. Learn to speak with data. If you are getting conflicting information on a quality issue, walk out and see for yourself. Spend time talking to the process experts to discover the strengths and weaknesses of your processes. Always look to process control rather than product inspection for the answer to your problems.