Five Questions for Vaughn Hall: Focus on Quality | Diversity and Inclusion | Sustainability

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Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion

Five Questions for Vaughn Hall: Diversity & Inclusion and The Values – Focus on Quality

Five Questions for Vaughn Hall

This is the first in a series of articles in which we will explore the connection between Corning's commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and The Values. Today, Vaughn Hall, international vice president of operations for Corning Glass Technologies (CGT), talks about Quality.

Vaughn, please share with employees how Diversity & Inclusion tie to Corning's Quality Value

To deliver Total Quality, we need to understand, anticipate, and surpass the expectations of our customers. To truly accomplish that, our teams must reflect the dimensions of diversity embodied in our global customers and suppliers. We succeed when our diverse teams collaborate, continuously refine, and improve by learning from each other's experiences and by encouraging every individual to contribute fully.

How does Corning's emphasis on Quality manifest itself in our manufacturing operations?

There are four fundamental principles associated with Corning's Quality Value: (1) Meet customer requirements; (2) Strive for error-free work; (3) Design in Quality; and (4) Measure and improve performance. These principles apply to the daily operations in all of Corning's businesses, including CGT where we are working within a highly competitive environment that requires us to redefine what we mean by "customer requirements." In the past we used defects/PPM as measured by the customer to gauge our Quality performance. Today customers cite yield as the key measurement. They compare Corning's glass performance with that of our nearest competitor to determine which of us does the best job of improving yield, so the pressure is on us to win that race. In addition, three of our key customers are setting performance targets that we must hit. To be successful, we must communicate openly with our customers and partner with them in new ways to drive better performance.

This new approach by customers is driving us toward another level of Quality and requiring us change our quality mindset. We have to re-examine our principles and recognize Quality is about exceeding (not just meeting) customer requirements, and it's about more than striving for error-free work – we must go further to improve our customers' performance. In response, CGT has put a special team in place to revisit our manufacturing process to understand our current capability and anticipate additional requirements to ensure we can support high-end display technology, like 4K and even 8K, that is trending in the industry. We are committed to raising our bar to exceed customer requirements, to delivering error-free work, and to continuously improve measurements – both our own and our customers' – as we optimize our manufacturing operations. 

Can you describe how you've seen diversity and our inclusive culture impact manufacturing operations?

Let me start with some facts about our global team. We started our business in Harrodsburg, KY, and expanded globally as the business grew. Today, 17% of CGT employees are in the U.S. and 83% are located in Asia. From a diversity perspective, it's very important to understand that Asia is not singular region; in fact, our talented employee base represents four regions – Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China – and there are distinct cultures within each. Honoring that diversity is a part of our daily operations. For example, it is important that our employee communications be effective and efficient. English is our official business language, but it is not native for the majority of CGT employees. Therefore, we translate critical communications in four languages to ensure understanding.

Externally, we are working with a diverse customer base with unique markets and varying requirements across the regions. We have to make sure our employees understand the customer requirements in Japan may not be the same as those in China or Korea or Taiwan. While this is challenging, it provides an opportunity for us to take advantage of our inclusive culture to solve problems in a pro-active way. We share best practices across the regions, and we use local talent and leverage common Corning tools to develop innovative solutions. Our teams, regardless of location or language, collaborate and leverage diverse perspectives in this process as we manage our global manufacturing operations.

What are some ways employees can support our inclusive culture and thereby contribute to Corning's success?

First of all, mutual respect is a basic principle. I believe that everyone always wants to be treated with respect regardless of their race or background. That is a baseline in keeping with Corning's Values. Another important principle for maintaining an inclusive culture is open communication. CGT's leadership places emphasis on clearly communicating business performance along with our short- and long-term objectives with all employees, both direct and indirect workers. This practice ensures everyone can focus on the same priorities. Communication is a two-way street, so we provide feedback channels where employees can raise concerns or make suggestions to the leadership. This is a key element in the foundation of our inclusive culture and positive working environment.

Recently I attended plant review meetings in all CGT manufacturing facilities. I was impressed that each facility presented its own unique idea for solving a problem or issue in Quality, cost performance, or technology, but all of them share the same drive to achieve results and improve performance. It is gratifying to see how we bring the best ideas from different cultures together. I have seen the power of our inclusive culture help us grow together as a stronger team and make Corning better as a whole. All in all, I truly believe that is a unique strength and advantage of our global operation. That is also why I am so proud to be part of Corning.

How can employees learn more about Diversity & Inclusion and Corning's Values?

I encourage employees to explore the Values and Global Diversity intranet sites as they contain a variety of resources and information. Everyone should also familiarize themselves with the Performance Excellence site because it provides detailed information about Corning's Quality Policy, Quality Management Systems, and other fundamentals about continuous improvement. Finally, employees should join the Values and Diversity groups on the Blue Line and continue to follow this monthly series on Corning World Online.