Yataiva Harris, industrial engineer at Defense Management Contract Agency
1. Where do you work?
I work for the Defense Contract Management Agency, an agency of the Department of Defense.
2. What do you do – what’s your title?
I am an industrial engineer.
3. What’s your educational background?
I hold a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, an MBA and a doctorate in industrial engineering specializing in engineering management.
4. How long have you been an ASQ member?
5. What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Management being on board is the most important piece. Management changes from time to time and if the entire management body is not on board, the thought of continuing with Six Sigma is slowly left by the wayside with each change of command.
6. Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
It reduces variability, which makes processes more predictable. This allows for regression analysis to be developed, so that before a change occurs in a process you can predict your own outcome and be better prepared.
7. Why do you think quality is important?
Quality is important because a conforming product is all the customer wants. They don’t want extra bells and whistles—they want merely what they asked for. Quality separates those who can cut it from those who cannot. It is a big deciding factor for who gets customers’ repeat business.
8. What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
It creates a good product for the customer. That is what begins the development of a good relationship with your customer, and possibly leading to repeat business.
9. Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
From working in industrial engineering over the past few years, I had a chance to take on a quality engineering role and began to look at manufacturing differently. That assignment opened my eyes. Now I try to look at every issue with both "hats" on.
10. What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
The best advice I can give to someone new to quality is to remember that improvement is necessary and you can always get better. Do not become complacent because the world around us is changing with every second. Do your best and give your job all that you have because if you were the customer on the receiving end, would you not want someone to want to produce for you their best product?