ASQ - Six Sigma Forum

Cindy Butler, instructor, mentor, lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, U.S. Navy

Cindy Butler, Lean Master Black Belt

Cindy Butler is in the U.S. Navy and stationed at Tactical Training Group Atlantic on Dam Neck Annex in Virginia Beach, VA. Having been in the Navy for over 22 years, and in her current position for over two years, she plans to leave military service in March 2012 and intends to transition to either the civilian or contract sectors in the Hampton Roads area.

As a Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile (TLAM) Instructor and TLAM Synthetic Training Mentor, she teaches Carrier Strike Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups how to tactically employ the TLAM. She also mentors and assesses the staff in these groups during Fleet Synthetic Training events. Although she says there is no collateral duty listed for a lean and Six Sigma officer, Butler is her command's only lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. She says the command currently has no lean Six Sigma Black Belts, but does have a few lean Six Sigma Green Belts.

Butler holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature via a commissioning program in 1997, and holds two MBAs—one with a concentration in e-commerce and the other with a concentration in advanced management studies earned in 2003 and 2007, respectively.

She has been a member of ASQ for little over two years. She joined ASQ Tidewater's Section Leadership Committee late last year and has since been elected as the secretary of her local section, ASQ Tidewater Section 1128. She was also a speaker at the 2011 ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference.

Recently, Butler answered some questions about the importance of Six Sigma.

What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?

Getting buy-in from the senior management regarding the project scope.

Why do you think Six Sigma is important?

For me, it's about identifying the root cause rather than trying to fix it with the metaphorical Band-Aid. If you don't know what the root cause is, you could set your company up for failures wasting valuable man hours chasing the proverbial dog's tail.

Why do you think quality is important?

It provides stability in a process and does not have to be supported solely by corporate knowledge since a quality product or service is not only proven, it's standardized, so unexpected losses in manpower don't degrade the knowledge base.

What’s your favorite benefit of quality?

Being able to show someone how to make their own processes, their own day-to-day work easier, better and more productive by making them take ownership and gain more ownership once they see that it's not to point out weaknesses, but rather, to discover opportunities to improve.

Why did you choose to go into the quality field?

I am not in a formal quality field yet. While the Department of Defense has adopted lean, Six Sigma and continuous improvement quality practices, not all commands are willing to give time to let a team examine something as a process. My frustration with this rush to fix issues and then having to re-fix them led to my interest in the formal processes involved in lean Six Sigma and continuous process improvement.

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

Get involved in your local ASQ section. Don't just attend and go home with unanswered questions. Ask questions and listen to what people in the business are talking about.

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