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Black Belt

Work is a continuous adventure for ‘change agent’ Lesly Ortiz.

Continuous journey

Black belt Lesly Ortiz is on an ongoing quest to continuously improve operational efficiency at our John Crane production site in Mexico. ‘However far we’ve driven our standards, there’s always a new horizon to strive for,’ she says.

She first entered the manufacturing world by studying a Bachelor’s degree in industrial and system engineering at the Universidad Tecnológica de México. She then spent several years successfully deploying Lean manufacturing and Six Sigma projects to enhance the manufacturing processes at Voestalpine Böhler Welding and Sony.

Continuous satisfaction

Today she channels that valuable experience into helping John Crane establish a continuous improvement culture: identifying, pitching and running projects, and training employees on techniques and tools that will underpin their success.

She said, ‘It can be challenging to constantly question the status quo. It’s like steering out of the shipping lane into uncharted waters: the crew can see me as “Captain Chaos” who makes life difficult. But after we’ve sailed through the disruptive “storm” phase together and are full steam ahead, they always remark how much smoother things are.

‘In fact, many start suggesting ideas for our next improvement voyage. I love seeing that transformation – both of our processes and colleagues’ mindsets.’

Continuous excellence

She constantly transforms her own skills, too. She was one of the first graduates of the joint Smiths/Oxford University Lean Six Sigma black belt programme – something she’s keen for more colleagues to do to build a dynamic force of Smiths ‘change agents’.

She was also the first person Smiths-wide to complete two black belt projects. One of these earnt her a Smiths Excellence Award for Supply Excellence for substantially reducing her site’s tooling costs and lead times whilst improving both output quality and customer satisfaction.

But she’s not one to dwell on past achievements, laughing: ‘While markets keep moving, we must keep evolving. There’s always another adventure ahead!’

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Lesly Ortiz
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Markets keep moving so we must keep evolving. That means there’s always another adventure ahead!