Wika starts Six Sigma and Green Belt workforce training
After 10 years as a LeanSigma manufacturing company, Wika Instrument Corporation (Wika) is introducing Six Sigma and Green Belt training to its workforce.
After 10 years as a LeanSigma manufacturing company, Wika Instrument Corporation (Wika) is introducing Six Sigma and Green Belt training to its workforce. Six Sigma processes facilitate Wika with improving its quality processes and identifying and removing the root causes of defects and errors with more defined steps. Six Sigma teams measure how many “defects” there are in a process, and can then systematically figure out how to eliminate them and get as close to “zero defects” as possible.
Wika customers expect quality products and on-time delivery. Six Sigma will help eliminate the need for customers to return products, have delayed downtime and long lead times. “Certain challenges are better addressed with other problem-solving techniques than Lean. Sometimes you need a bigger tool box,” said Rick Reed, Wika Director of Continuous Improvement and Quality.
Employees from various departments companywide were chosen to create two teams of Green Belt-certified employees. In diversifying these teams, Wika had the objectivity it needed with individuals with new perspectives and different viewpoints, which enabled Wika to solve problems by previously unidentified methods.
These Green Belt teams allow Wika to solve problems on a higher level. “After 10 years of Kaizen events, the tree is bare,” said Michael Gerster, President. “Our smaller problems have been corrected, and it is the deeper problems that need attention.” Green Belt employees will solve those deeper problems and provide corrective action items.
Reed added, “You are always closer to the beginning of the journey than to the end.” Wika will conduct two Green Belt projects each year and one Black Belt project, which can take up to two years to complete.
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Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.