ASQ - Six Sigma Forum

Member Profiles

Dave SullivanDave Sullivan, senior quality technician, DeWAL Industries Inc., Saunderstown, RI

Dave Sullivan, an ASQ member for two years, is a senior quality technician for DeWAL Industries Inc., a small privately owned company in Saunderstown, RI. The company supplies high-performance, high-end materials such as Teflon Tape and Teflon Film. Sullivan attended William M. Davies Technical High School, where he majored in residential, commercial and industrial electricity.

Sullivan, who is also a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, started out as a Class B quality technician. His supervisor at the time and the quality systems manager guided and taught him what they knew of quality and of the products he would be inspecting. By taking initiative and programming new testing equipment, Sullivan quickly moved through the ranks to a Class A+ status. Once he had a good grasp of the products, Sullivan decided he wanted to learn even more, which led him to obtain the Six Sigma certification.

At DeWAL, Sullivan’s projects have focused on bringing processes under tighter control, auditing data, safety metrics and risk analysis, and evaluating improvements to existing and newly acquired equipment. His greatest accomplishment was a 92.75% improvement to a process. DeWAL is currently working toward using design for Six Sigma in all new processes.

In his three years with DeWAL, Sullivan has gone from being a Class B technician to a Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He has written many of the standard operating procedures for the quality lab and designed data sheets to track all of the processes within the organization so real-time results can be communiated to upper management. Sullivan has also built a solid reputation as someone who can be depended on and trusted with proprietary information.

Sullivan recently shared his thoughts on the importance of quality and his favorite benefit of quality.

What do you think is most important in implementing a Six Sigma project?
Choosing the right project and getting the support of upper management. Without that support most projects are doomed to fail.

Why do you think Six Sigma is important?
Six Sigma is a proven method, and it integrates well with lean manufacturing. It is versatile enough to be applicable to most business settings.

Why do you think quality is important?
It’s good business. You can have the most inexpensive part or service in your industry, but if your quality is poor, your returning customer base will be virtually nonexistent, and word-of-mouth will reduce even your first-time customers. Cheap does not equal good business. Quality equals customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction equals returning business—and that’s good business.

What’s your favorite benefit of quality?
Consistency, I can monitor a process for trends and spot potential anomalies and contain them, quickly locate potential sources for the anomalies and correct them.

Why did you choose to go into the quality field?
One of my strongest skills in school was troubleshooting problems with an electrical circuit. Once I left the electrical field, those skills carried over with me, first to part and piece inspections, then process inspections and finally to my Six Sigma training.

What’s your best advice to someone new to quality?
Ask questions! No matter how foolish you might think your question is, ask as many questions as you have to get to an answer you understand.

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