Gowanda’s Quality Manager Achieves Six Sigma Black Belt


Gowanda, NY (USA) – We are pleased to announce that Ken Hicks, Quality Manager at Gowanda Electronics, successfully completed all the requirements associated with Six Sigma Black Belt certification. He was officially certified as a Black Belt in July 2008 by The Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE) at the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNYAB). He began his training there in early 2007, starting with the Green Belt, and then working his way through the requirements needed to attain the Black Belt.

Requirements for the Black Belt include extensive classroom education (200 hours), interactive learning, self-study, and workplace application of the concepts of Six Sigma, including a project which utilizes Six Sigma tools to produce breakthrough performance and financial benefit at the candidate’s company. This lengthy process ultimately concludes with a written four-hour-long examination consisting of multiple-choice questions that measure comprehension of the “Body of Knowledge” of Six Sigma, which is a quality control method for reducing variation in manufacturing, service or other business processes. The Six Sigma Black Belt training at TCIE consisted of five training phases covering the basic principles of Six Sigma quality improvement methodology, namely Design, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC). After each of the five training phases, the participants returned to their respective companies and applied the tools and methodologies learned.

Ken’s Six Sigma project, the capstone piece of the training process, was entitled “Yield Improvement for Tight Tolerance Parts in Department 16”. His success with this project enabled the company to produce more parts that met strict tolerances, thereby improving production yields, reducing waste and costs, and increasing customer satisfaction regarding timely delivery of in-spec product.

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