Teresa Whitacre, quality assurance manager, Bolttech Mannings Inc.
Teresa Whitacre, an ASQ member for 21 years, is a quality assurance manager at Bolttech Mannings Inc. in North Versailles, PA. She is also principal with Marketech Systems.
Whitacre has a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Ashford University in Clinton, IA, an engineering certificate and minor, as well as an associate degree.
Recently, Whitacre answered some questions about the importance of quality and provided some insight for those new to quality.
What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Management support. If managers don’t support it, the implementation will not be successful.
Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
Six Sigma allows us to understand the entire organizational processes, not just conformance to requirements or balance sheets. Six Sigma involves everyone, at all levels, in the efficiency and success. If the company is successful, so are the people.
Why do you think quality is important?
Quality is the backbone of everything—if the product isn’t right, the company's reputation may suffer. People may be hurt or killed if the product fails. Quality is important in processes as well for well-developed and well-implemented processes that make everyone's job easier. Without quality in what we use, what we buy and how we treat ourselves, everything seems to fall apart.
What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
That quality is everywhere—you touch every facet of an organization, you touch every facet of the product or service. Another benefit is that quality is portable—what you learn in quality you can apply in other industries and at church and school, and in other activities.
Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
I got into it by accident. I was involved in a supplier audit and got interested in the standards and the regulatory aspects. I took a basic quality control course at a community college and I was hooked.
What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
Understand that quality is more than conformance to requirements. You truly are the eyes and ears of the customers. Remember shortcuts never get you anywhere and quality principles are applicable to any organization and any industry. Always do the right thing and follow your gut.