WOODHAVEN, Mich. - It’s been a busy year for Theron McGee, Woodhaven Stamping Plant’s (WSP) Quality Operating System coordinator.
Not only did he successfully obtain his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Baker College, graduating Magna Cum Laude, but he achieved a career milestone by earning his 6-Sigma Black Belt certification.
While the Black Belt has nothing to do with martial arts, it does assist McGee in helping to protect the plant from unwanted costs.
“It allows me to go in and recognize opportunities, fine tune a process, eliminate waste and make sure those processes are repeatable and in control,” McGee said about his recent certification. “There are so many tools within 6-Sigma that help me identify potential cost savings.”
Speaking about savings, McGee’s 6-Sigma cost-saving projects have saved WSP and the company more than $1.1 million since his original 2003 Green Belt certification, which is one designation below Black Belt.
“Theron does some very nice work,” said Andy Herbert, plant manager at WSP. “We’re at a stage right now where we can let Theron take point on various cost-saving projects using his 6-Sigma knowledge. He’s been a helpful asset.”
Not only did he initiate a project that reinvented a process on one of WSP’s assembly lines that saved more than $300,000, but that project was adopted by other Ford stamping plants.
McGee has been showcasing his “Go Further” mindset by crusading to help others receive certification throughout WSP and other plants.
“Since March, I’ve been able to support all the Green Belts and Black Belts, hourly and salaried, throughout Ford manufacturing,” McGee said. “Every day someone approaches me about the requirements of 6-Sigma certification.”
The 6-Sigma certification is recognized globally and isn’t issued easily. The program requires several classes, projects and a final exam before anything is issued. The process typically takes two years, but McGee was able to complete it within 14 months.
“The achievements that I have received thus far this year come as a result of very hard work,” McGee explained. "To achieve 6-Sigma Black Belt Certification and my Bachelor’s Degree in the same year was very challenging. Although it was very challenging, I overcame the challenges by remaining dedicated and never swaying away from my goals no matter what obstacles were before me.”
McGee said he also had the support of his wife, family and his team mates to help carry him through the rough times and said he appreciates the trust that the Global Quality Team has placed in him to help others to achieve their certification.
McGee plans to continue coaching, training and supporting as many 6-Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt candidates as possible. His short term goal is to continue using the 6-Sigma methodology and lean applications to ensure that processes are repeatable, reduce variation, increase efficiency, eliminate waste and improve quality.
“Being certified as a 6-Sigma Black Belt has opened doors for me,” McGee said. “It allows me to work with various teams throughout Ford, support candidates, teach problem solving disciplines, coach team members and significantly improve Ford’s bottom line every single day.”
His long term career goals are to teach quality, lean applications and the 6-Sigma methodology at the college level as well as become a Master Black Belt. McGee said his greatest satisfaction comes from his volunteer work and truly enjoys volunteering his time to help people inside of Ford and in the community.