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Q&A with Ronald C. Prince

Ronald C. Prince is vice president, process management for Macy’s Logistics and Operations. He is scheduled to give his keynote presentation at the IIE Engineering Lean & Six Sigma Conference Tuesday, Sept. 24.

How do lean and Six Sigma methods play a role in what you do for Macy’s?

The Six Sigma breakthrough at Macy’s was when Six Sigma/lean transitioned from being a program to being a normal part of how we do business. Customers come first, and data and Six Sigma methodologies are used in all aspects of decision making and problem solving. Six Sigma resources and skill sets are applied not only to defect reduction but also development and implementation of new processes and technology in support of major company initiatives.

What is the biggest issue or challenge surrounding lean and Six Sigma implementations?

One of the biggest challenges in any company’s implementation is to maintain the momentum and energy around Six Sigma and avoid it becoming another program that came and went. Black belts and Six Sigma leaders eventually move into other positions, and over time leaders in key positions change. To be successful you have to keep Six Sigma relevant and a critical part of the success of the business.

What do you plan to discuss in your keynote presentation?

I will be discussing the importance of constantly asking: “What is the next evolution of Six Sigma for the business?” Over time, the needs of the business change, and the cookie cutter approach to Six Sigma does not always work. The needs of the business and the problems you have to solve drive the methodology and resources you use, not the other way around. I will discuss not only how this approach has made Macy’s successful, but will provide some insight as to how this may apply to other companies or types of businesses.

What would you like attendees to take away from your presentation?

Implementing lean and Six Sigma does not have to be and should not be complicated. The focus always remains on the customer and the business. It takes work, but when people focus on their processes and use the tools, methodology and resources in a manner that supports the strategic direction of the company, Six Sigma /lean will be sustainable and become part of the DNA of the organization.

For more information about Ronald C. Prince and the other IIE Engineering Lean & Six Sigma Conference keynote speakers, go to the Keynote Speakers page at www.iienet.org/leansixsigma.