Mark Bentlage BioMark Bentlage began his career as a Supplier Quality Engineer at IBM Endicott after receiving his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. For his first assignment, he was responsible for several suppliers who made connectors and another that assembled them onto circuit boards. He learned a valuable lesson by having to use those connectors, essentially being his own downstream customer. This ignited his interest in pursuing Zero Defects. From there, he was a Procurement Engineer in a group that purchased circuit boards in the US and Far East. This allowed him to see the Enterprise Business Processes of many companies, including process design and control and product quality… the best of the best and the worst of the worst. After that assignment, he began working in operations at IBM/EIT, where he managed teams at IBM/EIT in Product and Process Quality, Process Engineering, Yield Management, Process Development and Applications. In 2007, Mark was hired by BAE Systems as a Subcontract Program Manager, leading teams to implement Supply Chains for Electric Motors, Generators, Gearboxes and Braking Systems. This included requirements flow- down, Supplier identification and capability assessments, new product introduction, ramp to rate and ongoing support of these products.
In addition to his BS degree, Mark received an MS in Manufacturing Systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1997 and was an adjunct instructor for Binghamton University’s SSIE 510, Science of Manufacturing. He is as a charter member of the SSIE Department’s Advisory Board, serving since 2002. Mark has also served as VP of Programs for the Binghamton Chapter of Project Management International (PMI) since 2019.
Immediately after World War II, due to the destruction of factories in Europe and Asia, the United States became the largest manufacturer of goods in the world. With little competition, the US had huge demand regardless of cost or quality, and showed little interest in improving. Meanwhile, Japan was rebuilding their manufacturing base with new factories and put into adopted the teachings of Walter Shewhart and W. Edwards Deming in Total Quality Management (TQM). While this occurred in electronics and other industries at the same time, the one which received the most visibility was Japan’s Automotive Industry. Their efforts resulted in overtaking “The Big Three” US Automobile Manufacturers with better higher quality, better performing, more reliable and lower cost vehicles.
After declining market share, the US auto and other industries responded to the foreign competition. Initially, many companies tried to implement portions of the follow the Japanese model, but with no comprehensive strategy, they continued to lag behind Japan. As an example, IBM rolled out initiatives like Zero Defects, Market Driven Quality, Concurrent Engineering, and 6 Sigma. These initiatives provided employee education, but there was little buy-in from senior level down to first line management for facilitation or the fundamental cultural transformation required to effect change. As a result, employees endured these initiatives, with some getting frustrated, and others saying “just another coffee mug” and did nothing while they waited for the next initiative.