Bill Martin, director of lean Six Sigma, containerboard mills, at Rockwell Collins
Where do you work?
In West Point, VA, at RockTenn. We are a Fortune 500 manufacturer of paper and packaging products.
What do you do—what’s your title?
Director of Lean Six Sigma—containerboard mills. My primary role is supporting the strategic and tactical needs of our lean Six Sigma deployment across our containerboard mills. There is continual focus on improved project identification, project pipeline management and Master Black Belt development.
What’s your educational background?
I have a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin—Platteville and a master’s in business administration from Niagara University in Lewiston, NY.
How long have you been an ASQ member?
What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Two key items: It’s incredibly important to define the project correctly, and a good control plan is necessary to sustain the gains.
Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
It sustains improvements that provide a competitive edge and impact profits and losses.
Why do you think quality is important?
It’s very hard to make money when no one is willing to pay for your product or service.
What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
Creating safe products for my family.
Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
In high school, I had a part-time job as the technical support staff to a quality manager. He proved to me—using a distribution of data—that he could tell when and which operators altered their test results. Years later, I fully embraced Six Sigma because I was tired of consistently seeing the same problems never get completely resolved due to a lack of full implementation and buy-in from key stakeholders, especially the shop-floor workers.
What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
Try to look holistically at how quality impacts the business and quantify the financial ramifications of consumer and producer risk. Too many quality professionals only focus on quality without understanding its impact on the business or value stream.