An Interview with Susan Huthmaker of SimplexGrinnell, IQPC's Deployment Leader of the Year

Genna Weiss

In this Lean Six Sigma Process Excellence Awards podcast. Genna Weiss of Six Sigma IQ speaks with Susan Huthmaker, Vice President of Operational Excellence for SimplexGrinnell, a division of Tyco International, who is the recipient of the IQPC Deployment Leader of the Year award.

Huthmaker came into the company in 2007 and helped SimplexGrinnell overcome many change management hurdles within its Six Sigma program— which was deployed in 2003—that included culture inertia, middle management engagement issues and Black Belt attrition. Huthmaker and her team took Six Sigma to the next level and made it a part of how SimplexGrinnell does business every day.

In this podcast, Huthmaker describes how applying the Six Sigma DMAIC methodology allowed SimplexGrinnell to improve 10 key process areas, including Black Belt selection and project tracking and execution. She explains SimplexGrinnell’s key initiatives that drove this change, which included a mandate by SimplexGrinnell’s President Jim Spicer to have over 370 of the company’s top leaders trained on Six Sigma and the integration of Lean with Six Sigma within the organization. Huthmaker shares many of the successes resulting from these efforts, such as increased engagement at many different levels of management within SimplexGrinnell and more effective career pathing for its Black Belts. Huthmaker shares what the Deployment Leader of the Year award means for her and for the future of her organization’s Lean Six Sigma deployment initiatives.