Sarah Kaffenbarger
Manager, Operational Excellence

"Without manufacturing, the most innovative, impactful and life changing ideas are just that....ideas. In manufacturing WE get to turn those ideas into realities that touch people's lives! Even more importantly for myself though, is encouraging and equipping the next generation of young ladies to lead in this exciting workspace!"

Sarah is a champion for cultural change. Through clear, effective communication coupled with technical skills, she drives implementation and adoption to get results.  Sarah has contributed to the global engineering organization by leading the capital planning process from 2013 into 2014. Under her leadership, project schedule adherence increased from 69% to 91% and budget adherence increased from 87% to 94%. In the first two years of her current role as Engineering Excellence manager, she has delivered $5 million in bottom line savings to division and site budgets. She has been able to achieve this through the creation of a continuous improvement culture and increased employee engagement, and has been critical to the success of the Abbott Nutrition operational excellence journey.
Sarah has formally mentored other engineers through her roles in Operational Excellence and Lean Six Sigma, and is currently a sponsor for the divisional engineering green belt certification program. She coaches them on the problem-solving process, specifically the problem definition phase, to keep the engineers from jumping straight into assumptions and solutions. She has a knack for taking the chaotic and finding ways to streamline and simplify. In addition, Sarah has had even more impact through the informal mentoring that continues between her and her prior interns and professional development program employees.
In 2016, Sarah co-led the STEM high school internship program for all of Abbott. In this role, she coordinated and conducted interviews at area high schools, which focused on high-diversity and high-need communities surrounding Abbott business locations. Her oversight and coordination of the high school program, which offered not only on-the-job experience, but important life skills training as well, was above and beyond her role as Engineering Excellence manager.  

© 2019 Manufacturing Institute
733 10th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001