Karl Williams, ABB Robotics Operations Quality Manager

Title: From Novice to Master Black Belt – practical competence development

 

Abstract:

From immigrant with no knowledge of the Swedish language to Operations Quality Manager at ABB Robotics, how continuous self-improvement and competence development is essential for developing a career in the quality field… fill in with how it started, progress through the years and where I am today. Focus on competence development and how Sandholm has been essential in my progress.

 

Biography:

Throughout my professional carrier I have worked with developing and improving multiple manufacturing companies and have developed a deep experience within widely diverse companies, cultures and products. I believe in planning and setting the framework and goals for team members then trusting them to execute that which they are employed to do. I see my role as empowering the team, coaching them and removing obstacles from their paths to ensure that they succeed.

 

My positions at ABB AB have been both exciting and challenging. At ABB Robotics I have the position of Operations Quality Manager for the Swedish supply unit encompassing R&D, Production, Supplier Quality, Product Validation and Warranty Investigation teams. The Supply Unit currently has appx. 1000 employees and a yearly turnover of >1B SEK. I develop Quality and OPEX through coaching and education of production line managers and other management members. As an ABB certified Lean 6-Sigma Master Black belt I am also responsible for implementing ABB’s improvement program (L6S) which is focused on DMAIC improvements and Lean Production. Together with colleagues in Poland and the US we developed the supplier APQP/PPAP standards for ABB Motors and successfully implemented them throughout the supply chain. 

 

Prior to my current position I worked at FM Mattson/Mora Armatur in Mora, Sweden as Quality Manager for the group. I was responsible for the quality processes from supplier to customer and managed a team of 10 employees. During my employment I ran several 6-Sigma projects and was an active member of the team tasked with implementing Lean Production. Due to the nature of the products we had to ensure strict adherence to regulatory and industrial standards for water quality.

I have also held the position of Managing Director for an EU-project together with Ericsson AB and several local companies from Mora. Through this project and position I have gained useful insight into business economics and the demands places on a Managing Director.

 

I have also held the position of Quality and Environmental Manager at Gunnebo Production AB in Mora and Malung, Sweden. At Gunnebo I developed and implemented the company’s quality and environmental system to certification. Every year thereafter we achieved all our quality and environmental goals.

I began my professional carrier in the US Navy as nuclear power plant technician and instructor. After graduation from the Navy Nuclear Power School I was selected to be an instructor at the Idaho National Laboratory Nuclear Reactor Facility. Thereafter I was stationed on the submarine USS Houston, SSN 713. As a crew member I was responsible for the radiology lab and radiographic analysis and monitoring of crew members as well as submarine maintenance, operations and quality control. There is no room for failure in nuclear operations therefore the adherence to standards has been engrained in my education from the beginning. My service in the US Navy has taught me the value of personal discipline and teamwork.

 

Experience                                                                                        

2015 – Operations Quality Manager

ABB Robotics Supply Unit

My main priorities are to coach and develop the managers and other employees. As a Master Black Belt, I have the responsibility to develop and lead improvement courses within the ABB L6S program (PDCA/DMAIC). I am responsible for the strategical development of the quality system in the production unit and active in ABB’s Lean development program as a “Toyota Lean Kata Leader”. Furthermore, I am a Bureau Veritas qualified ISO auditor and perform internal ISO audits and operational manufacturing maturity audits on other ABB units. In addition to my role I also run 6-Sigma projects, an Additive Manufacturing project with KTH and implementation of radio frequency identification (RFID) into our logistics organization.

2012-2014 Quality & Operational Excellence Manager

ABB LV Motors Local Business Unit

I was tasked with implementing and improving the company’s quality-, health and safety-, and environmental systems. My main task, together with 15 team members, was to coach and develop the management team and other employees in the organization. I was fully responsible for the customer and supplier complaint systems. During my employment at LV Motors my team developed and implemented a new system for monitoring of supplier quality leading to a net improvement of 4M SEK/year. I also updated the environmental system reducing the administrative cost and reclassifying the permits to further reduce cost. I also led a 6-Sigma project to reduce waste in production leading to a cost reduction of 8M SEK/year.

2006– 2012 Quality Manager

FM Mattsson/Mora Armatur              

I was responsible for the group’s quality system from supplier to customer together with a team of 10 employees. During my employment I ran several 6-Sigma projects and was an active member of the team tasked with implementing Lean Production which increased the company’s profits by 100M SEK and placed 2nd in the Swedish Lean Prize competition.

2003– 2006 Managing Director

Mora Telemastic Center

As Managing Director of Mora Telemastic Center, I was responsible for an EU-project with member from Ericsson AB, WIBE and several local companies. The project was set up to evaluate new technologies in the market and to develop a collaboration between the partaking companies.

1993– 2003 Quality and Environmental Manager

Gunnebo Industries, Gunnebo Productions AB

At Gunnebo I developed and implemented the company’s quality and environmental system to certification. Every year thereafter we achieved all our quality and environmental goals. In parallel with my role I was also the project leader for the roll-out of a new bank deposit system to ABN AMRO in Holland.

1985 – 1991 Nuclear Power Technician, Nuclear Power School Instructor

United States Navy

After graduation from the Navy Nuclear Power School I was selected to be an instructor at the Idaho National Laboratory Nuclear Reactor Facility. Thereafter I was stationed on the submarine USS Houston, SSN 713. As a crew member I was responsible for the radiology lab and radiographic analysis and monitoring of crew members as well as submarine maintenance, operations and quality control.


Education   

2020      Examiner for Swedish Quality Excellence Award from Swedish Institute for Quality, SIQ, University studies in Business Economics, Maintenance and IoT 4.0

2016      Lean 6-Sigma Master BB, Strategic Master Black Belt and Quality Management

2011      Basic Chinese, Chinese history and business language

2009      Lean Project management

2008      6-Sigma Black belt

1989      USN Nuclear power plant maintenance and quality control

1987      USN Nuclear Water Chemistry School

1986      USN Nuclear Power School - equivalent of Swedish bachelor exam (BSc.)

1985      USN Propulsion Power School - Marine Engineering

                     

Languages                                                                                                                                     

English: Mother language

Swedish: fluently spoken and written daily.

Portuguese: beginner

Chinese: 30 university credits

 

Private/Leisure                                                                                                                         

56 yrs. of age, from Holly Michigan, USA and live in Sweden since 1992. Married to Eloisa and we have four children.

I have both American and Swedish (EU) citizenship.

Member of Swedish Quality Association, Swedish Odd Fellows and Freemasons

Jujitsu instructor