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Year in Review

Author: Russ Aikman

Posted: December 2019

Hard to believe but another year is almost gone. We’d like to share some of our activities and recognize those who helped make it such a fun, interesting, and productive year.

January got off to a good start with the 3rd Annual LSS Champion Roundtable. We had 47 participants from 18 companies, some coming from as far away as Wisconsin. Our keynote speaker was none other than Mike George, Sr. who spoke on the Future of Continuous Process Improvement. His focus was on the role of Artificial Intelligence and its potential to solve previously unsolvable problems.   

In February we kicked off a new LSS Black Belt course in Arlington with 16 students from nine different companies. We also had a new LSS Green Belt course which started that month. It had 17 students from eight firms and was taught by Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D. and Chris Meeks.  Also during February I had an opportunity to speak to the Fort Worth Section of ASQ. My topic – Leader Standard Work: Engine of the Lean Management System – was well received.

In March a group of TMACers – including Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D., Satya Kudapa, and Diana Martinez, Ph.D. – traveled to San Antonio for the Lean and Six Sigma World Conference. We learned a lot and enjoyed seeing many former LSS students from a variety of firms including Keurig Dr Pepper, SAPPI, Interstate Batteries, and USG Corporation. We also started a new Green Belt class at our TMAC office in Houston which was taught by Diana Martinez, Ph.D. and Esteban Pedraza

For the month of April we started two new classes. The first was a Black Belt course for Knauf Insulation, taught onsite in Indiana. Thanks to Chris Lawson and Pedro Menendez for their help with this class. The second class was a LSS Master Black Belt at the TMAC Event Center. Although a small class, two of the students were from outside the US – one from Peru, the other from Argentina. I always enjoy teaching MBB classes because it gives me the opportunity to work with Kimberly Watson-Hemphill and Chuck Cox. Both have deep knowledge of Lean Six Sigma plus tons of real-world, practical experience. Also during April I got the opportunity to speak at the Printing Industry of America CI Conference in Dallas along with TMAC colleague Brandon Phoenix. Finally, Satya Kudapa and TMAC Marketing Coordinator Yesenia Zamora attended an awards luncheon for recently certified Green Belts at Oncor.

The ASQ World Conference was held in Fort Worth in May. Several of our staff attended this conference where TMAC had a booth.  By coincidence, Satya Kudapa presented on cybersecurity as part of the monthly technical sessions for the local Fort Worth section of ASQ.

In June we started two different Green Belt courses. One was a dedicated class for Oncor, the other was open enrollment.

TMAC hosted a Customer Appreciation Party in July at Texas Live, the entertainment complex near AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It gave us an opportunity to recognize multiple companies for their accomplishments over the past year.

During August and September we had several site visits and meetings with customers in the DFW area including Oncor, Smurfit Kappa, and Keurig Dr Pepper. We took advantage of the summer break by expanding the TMAC Event Center in Arlington by adding a new training room. It is a much larger space, with two screens and space for up to 50 people. While this project was going on Chris Meeks and I taught a LSS Yellow Belt workshop for Setpoint Integrated Solutions in Shreveport, LA.

Diana Martinez, Ph.D. and Chris Meeks also kicked off a new GB class in September, while Alberto Yáñez-Moreno, Ph.D. and I started a new BB class. Finally, I squeezed in a much-needed vacation trip to the beautiful Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York where I checked out area wineries, got in some bike riding and visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

In October we were fortunate to participate in a plaque presentation to RECARO Aircraft Seating at their Fort Worth facility. They were recognized for multiple improvements over several years including implementation of Lean Management, ISO 14000, AS 9100D, and certification of a group of LSS Green Belts. I also attended two conferences this month – the Minitab Insights Conference (Leesburg, VA) and TMAC’s Smart Manufacturing Conference (Dallas).

Earlier this month we wrapped up our last Black Belt course of the year. It had 17 participants from a mix of companies including Setpoint, USG Corporation, Oncor, SAPPI, Smurfit Kappa, DiaSorin, and TMAC.

Finally, I would like to thank all of our customers. Everyone at TMAC appreciates your support, guidance, and insight. We know your hard work and commitment to continuous improvement make the results achieved possible.

Next year marks the 25th year TMAC has been partnering with great companies all across Texas and beyond. A quarter century makes for a good time to look back at what was accomplished – and forward to the future. I feel incredibly fortunate to work with some great colleagues, partners, and customers.


More about Russ Aikman:

Russ is the LSS Program Manager at TMAC, and started the program in 2003. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with over 30 years of experience working in a wide variety of industries, and with small firms up to Fortune 500 companies. He has taught dozens of LSS classes from Yellow Belt up to Master Black Belt. He has also coached hundreds of LSS practitioners on their projects and advised managers on their LSS program. Before joining TMAC he worked at George Group, the first firm to integrate Lean and Six Sigma.

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