Continuous Improvement & Operational Excellence

· by Mariah Ramirez

Mariah is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at HTI. She joined the HTI team in 2018.
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continuous improvement and operational excellence stacy baughman spotlight

Candid Conversations with Stacy Baughman, Manager of Quality

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with our Manager of Quality, Stacy Baughman, and discovering more about her role and its impact on HTI. Stacy started with HTI in 2012 as a Professional Recruiter. Since that time, Stacy has transitioned to our Quality Department where her primary focus is Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence.

How would you sum up your life in 5 words or less?

Family, faith, friends, active, energetic.

What part of job are you most passionate about?

Empowering other people to believe in their voice.

Cats or dogs?


Least favorite food?

Fast food.

If you could invite 3 people dead, alive, or not yet born to dinner who and why?

Martin Luther King because I would love to talk to him about the language he believes led to the unity he drove. My kid’s kids because I’d love to see what kind of parents my children end up being. My dad’s grandfather. He was a French chef and he worked all over the world. He had a really interesting life, so I’d love to talk to him about it.

What do you feel is most blog worthy about your job?

I think the key in driving organizations forward is creating and fostering an environment of continuous improvement. This starts with active listening and empowering people to feel comfortable saying how they feel and voicing an opinion about what they do. The more you consciously decide to listen to people at all levels carefully, the better chance you have of understanding. It’s a huge piece of what has made Operational Excellence successful but can also apply to a lot of other things in businesses and life.

How do you make processes more efficient?

The first step is always sitting down with the people performing the process. The more detail you can get about daily activities, challenges, and improvement ideas, the better. Once I have that foundation, I take my overarching knowledge of the other factors that interact with that process that the person might not be aware of. With this combination, I then analyze whether to keep an existing process in place or recommend a change to whoever is leading that division. I discuss with them how to best execute the recommendation and make sure everyone feels like its something that will be beneficial to them moving forward.

Why should other companies consider that important to do?

Because it’s very easy, especially as organizations grow in size, to fall into doing something the way you have always done it simply because it works well enough. Especially if you don’t see any negative repercussions from that. If you do fall into that autopilot mode of operation, then you become stagnant and you never drive forward. You also stifle people’s voice within your organization. It’s easy to become complacent so you have to intentionally combat that with a continuous improvement mindset.

What’s been your biggest achievement in your quality role?

The structure overall we’ve put into place, and the cultural shift we’ve been able to drive through Operational Excellence within the organization. I believe that culturally, people at HTI have learned to consciously think about better ways they can do things. I think employees and managers at all levels feel comfortable coming to me or the right people to voice ideas with the understanding they’ll at least be heard and considered carefully, even if they do not see an immediate result.

What changes have you seen in the organization since taking on this dedicated role in quality?

I think people have a better understanding of what makes them successful in their job and a better interdepartmental understanding of each other. Operational Excellence is about creating transparency inter-departmentally and vertically. It provides a visual-a road map-and more than that a belief system in the way we each do our jobs and how we work together to create success.