ASQ - Six Sigma Forum

John Vandenbemden


John Vandenbemden, ASQ fellow and consultant

Where do you work?
I own a consulting firm, Q-Met-Tech, but also do projects for other consulting and training organizations such as BQI, ICH, QPRO, Sigma Solutions, QAS as well as Eastern Michigan University.

What do you do?

I have spent the majority of my career in quality, beginning as an engineer to a vice president.  As a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a Certified SME Bronze Lean and RABQSA auditor, I’ve found numerous opportunities for consulting, training, projects and auditing.

What’s your educational background?

I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s of teaching degree in Mathematics

How long have you been an ASQ member?

Since 1984.

What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Successful projects are 95% planning and 5% execution. Throughout the define, measure, analyze, improve and control process or design for Six Sigma, you must follow the plan-do- check-act process. What many forget is that you must also plan the check and actions. Too often, one takes the easiest or most popular path, which is often not the best path for significant change.

Why do you think Six Sigma is important?

Six Sigma not only drives process change, it drives cultural change through innovation and challenging the status quo. If Six Sigma is properly brought into the organization, it impacts the entire organization. It assists in breaking down the silos and promotes using facts and data to make decisions.

Why do you think quality is important?

When fear, frustration and failure are embedded into an organization’s culture, there is a correlation to the quality performance of the organization. This includes the quality of life, which brings in the quality performance aspects of ill-health, safety and environment. This is where Six Sigma can be such a benefit to help drive cultural change and the improve the perception of quality.

What’s your favorite benefit of quality?

It can produce a dependable and reliable product that provides security and satisfaction to the consumer and producer as well as the stakeholder.

Why did you choose to go into the quality field?

I was very frustrated with so much waste in failures and rework. Many were shocked when the concept of quality costs was developed to understand the impact that the mismanagement of resources to chase problems can have on profitability.

What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?

Many of the methods being promoted for problem solving and continual improvement are basically the same. What is critical is to understand these methods and their strengths and weaknesses. Then as you approach a problem, situation or opportunity, gain a good understanding of what you are working with and then select the best method that provides you an opportunity to be successful.

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