Lean Six Sigma Helps Supply Chain Star Earn Recognition

Lean Six Sigma Helps Supply Chain Star Earn Recognition

A young supply chain star recently won recognition by receiving a NextGen for Industry Award, providing another example of a woman becoming a trailblazer in both the supply chain field and process improvement.

The award winner is Aleah Titus, one of the youngest supply chain managers at ABB. The company works with industries, transporters and utilities in providing power grids, automation, electrification products, robotics and motion solutions.

In her young career, Titus already has saved the company $5 million. Not surprisingly, a commitment to Lean Six Sigma is part of the reason.

Lean Six Sigma: A Favorite Part of Her Job

In an interview about receiving the award, Titus said that Lean Six Sigma ranks among her favorite aspects of work. She said “what drives me nuts” are gaps in business processes, which she said makes her enjoy using Lean Six Sigma tools to eliminate those gaps. Or, in some cases, devising completely new processes.

In the past year, Titus has taken her enthusiasm for Lean Six Sigma and made a commitment to guiding others “through their Six Sigma journey.” She has certified more than 26 ABB employees in Lean Six Sigma.

One of the major aspects of process improvement she teaches is to never look the other way when it comes to safety and quality of products. “That lays the baseline for everything,” she said.

Making Her Mark Early

Titus accomplished a project early that made her mark at ABB. She joined the ABB Traction Team and was tasked with looking into a material shortage that caused ABB to fall behind on five projects at the same time.

She first worked with IT staff to create a tool to highlight the shortages. She then set up work with 55 new suppliers to eliminate the materials shortage. Titus completely recovered all the business. She did all of this in 90 days.

In her interview, Titus said one of the main qualities of great supply chain managers is to “think strategically but act really quickly.”

Since that time, Titus has created and put in place a comprehensive management approach that led ABB to create a Global Category Management for Packaging that includes the United States, Finland and China.

Encouraging Women to Enter Supply Chain

Titus graduated with a degree in integrated supply chain from Western Michigan University. She was the only woman in her graduating class among more than 200 men.

She joins other women who recently have received recognition for excelling in the male-dominated supply chain field. Those include Rhiana Gallen, a Denver Water Department employee who won a “30 Under 30 Supply Chain Stars” award last year.

Women also have made their mark in Lean Six Sigma. They include Rose Heathcote, who last year became the second woman to ever lead one of the 27 Lean Institutes around the world by becoming CEO of the Lean Institute Africa. Other women such as Louisiana doctors Renee Harris and Fancy Manton, have used Lean training in a study of antibiotics resistance that led to better patient outcomes.

Titus said she likes her role as a trailblazer for women in supply chain and hopes she inspires others to enter the field, which has many job opportunities.

For all young supply chain professionals, Titus encouraged being flexible and adaptable. Most of all, she said, “Be reliable and deliver on your word.”

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