ASQ - Six Sigma Forum

Dave Harry, Black Belt, Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc.

Dave Harry, an ASQ member since 2006, is a Black Belt at Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, Inc., in Mount Vernon, OH. Rolls-Royce has a robust and mature Six Sigma program, and Harry’s business unit, Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, is a leading packager of aero-derivative turbine gas systems for worldwide energy applications on and offshore. Mount Vernon's products play a critical role in helping to maintain adequate energy supplies for populations of countries in nearly every part of the world.

In his current Rolls-Royce Black Belt position, Harry assists in developing continuous performance improvement (CPI) standards and uses metrics to improve processes for the improvement journey to performance excellence. He uses CPI tools to promote efficiencies, facilitate kaizen events and mentor Lean Six Sigma Green Belts using Rolls-Royce approved methods and training materials.

Before working at Rolls-Royce, Harry spent seven years working as a Black Belt for Northrop Grumman Corp. in Suffolk, VA.

Harry earned three master’s degrees: one is in systems management from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, another is in management from Troy University in Troy, AL, and the third is in foreign affairs from University of Madras (Chennai) India, which he earned during a U.S. Navy tour in southern India.
Additionally, Harry is a Project Management Institute-certified Project Management Professional and a former U.S. Navy pilot. He is an active member of ASQ’s Six Sigma Forum and has recently taken a leadership position in the ASQ’s Lean Enterprise Division.

Recently, Harry gave some insight into the importance of quality and Six Sigma, and provided advice for those new to quality.

What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Both leadership and process-owner support are vital to removing barriers and affecting cultural change. Roll-Royce's improvement journey to performance excellence has the broad leadership support throughout the company to ensure true cultural change to embrace quality throughout the production and delivery process to please Rolls-Royce customers.

Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
Six Sigma provides the essential philosophy, framework, methods and statistical tools to improve products, processes and performance in how we deliver key production pipeline and barrel centrifugal compressors, power turbines and control systems that will bring energy to homes, offices, schools and factories around the world. In my brief time at Rolls-Royce, I hear Six Sigma terms being used in every meeting, and that is very reassuring that leadership, management and workforce are all committed to a cultural change to reach process excellence.

Why do you think quality is important?
As a former Navy pilot, I know the cost of poor quality can be deadly. Today, I think quality is important because it is defined by the customer, and understanding the voice of the customer is essential to focusing the performance improvement effort. The customer focus is everywhere and is even the theme of the 2011 ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference: "Enhancing the Customer Experience with Lean and Six Sigma."

What's your favorite benefit of quality?
Everyone is affected by quality, both high quality and poor quality. The cost of poor quality dictates that quality is the "coin of the realm" in a performance-based society. I might add that having a strong quality professional background and ASQ certifications certainly helped me land a challenging job with a good employer like Rolls-Royce.

Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
It doesn't hurt that Mikel Harry, "godfather of Six Sigma," and I share the same last name. Of course we joke about it when we meet at conferences. The quality field is full of wonderful peers at all levels. I know I can make a difference at Rolls-Royce, whether I'm leading a kaizen event, mentoring a Green Belt, meeting with process sponsors or just attending the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement or the ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference.

What's your best advice to someone new to quality?
The key is to definitely get involved at all levels—ASQ sections, forums, divisions and ASQ nationwide events and conferences. Like Mikel Harry, I would advise all those interested in quality to give back and volunteer to promote process and performance improvement. As I mentioned, I recently volunteered for the marketing leadership position with the ASQ Lean Enterprise Division. I have also recently transferred to the Columbus, OH, ASQ section and hope to take on an active role in the local section.


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