Introduction About Six Sigma Certification
The Six Sigma approach is based on the mathematical notion of standard deviation, which is a statistic that shows how tightly all the examples in a set of data are bunched around the average. When they are so close to each other that the bell curve is steep, then the standard deviation is small. Six Sigma states there are six standard deviations between the average and the specification limit, so practically all the items will meet parameters.
A company can get these results (such as cost reduction or profit increase) by using specific quality management methods and creating a special infrastructure of people inside the organization to follow a defined sequence of steps; the employees who are part of that special infrastructure and who drive the improvement or change efforts are the ones who attend training to be certified in Six Sigma.
Large organizations find this concept appealing due to the infrastructure required to undertake and drive various process steps. They can provide the required staff. There are two primary certifications offered to drive these process improvements: Green Belt and Black Belt.
Six Sigma Green Belt
Green Belt training is the main entry level option. This person learns basic concepts and tools while also working with a Black Belt who acts as a mentor. To qualify for Green Belt training, one needs three years of work experience and must have contributed to at least one project regarding process improvement. The instruction is typically a two week intensive session that covers a specific project to be undertaken upon returning to work. While working on the project, the trainee learns and starts to apply tools such as process mapping, graphical analysis, and measurement systems. Once the course is completed and the project reviewed, the trainee is tested on core concepts to receive certification.
Six Sigma Black Belt
Black Belts are highly experienced with process tools. Qualifications for becoming a certified Six Sigma Black Belt include prior experiences with process improvements, so first earning a Green Belt is unnecessary. These trainees need three years of experience working with process improvement, and must have completed two full process improvement projects as well as be confident managing a team. The trainee learns about Six Sigma role responsibilities, overcoming roadblocks, and understanding performance measures. A Black Belt class lasts approximately four weeks. Afterwards, an exam is required to achieve certification.
Lean Sigma is a related training opportunity that focuses on every aspect of business. However, Green and Black Belt certification programs deal more specifically with manufacturing processes. Depending on individual needs of the company and/or trainee, one course type may be more relevant than another. There are even industry-specific options, such as a Green Belt program for the healthcare field.
After a person is Six Sigma Certified, that individual must acquire continuing education. There are a variety of interesting opportunities that can count as a continuing education credit, such as giving on-the-job training to others on process improvement, writing best practice papers, public speaking in regards to Six Sigma projects, or attending other formal training.
Six sigma has been around for several decades now, and it's popularity has grown rapidly over the last few years. Prior to beginning a six sigma endeavor within a corporation, employees must be trained to utilize the improvement methodology.
When a company or individual decides to train their employees, they often search for the best courses, either taught live or online.
The most important aspect of a six sigma course is often overlooked, which is how to use the information learned to actually improve the organization. Six sigma includes many concepts, most of which are taught in schools through courses such as industrial engineering, statistics, or business classes. Examples are regression analysis and cause and effects diagrams (Ishikawa diagram). So it isn't that the concepts of six sigma are unique, but a collection of concepts that can be utilized for continuous improvement within the organization.
The uniqueness of six sigma comes from the approach of the methodology, which is generally the D-M-A-I-C model. The acronym stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. It is this model that is followed from start to finish, from determining which projects should be tackled all the way through sustaining the improvements with the C, control.
The best courses are those delivered by individuals that have actually utilized the six sigma concepts to obtain real world improvements within the business. Courses delivered by individuals that only know the concepts, is like learning calculus without any understanding of how it is used in the real world.
In order to be successful with six sigma, the six sigma black belt must understand which tools should be used during each phase of DMAIC. The black belt also needs to remain focused on the end result. It is also critical to be honest and not force the data to prove what you think. If the data does not support your initial thoughts, remain objective, and continue through the process to arrive at the solution even if it's far removed from your gut feel.
The best six sigma courses explore examples of using the tools for organizational improvement. An example would be using a regression analysis that may show correlation, then setting up a standardized operation for the independent variable to force improvement in the dependent one. Then continued monitoring with a control chart will ensure lasting improvement.
Some six sigma courses include lean manufacturing tools and are often called Lean Six Sigma courses. The lean tools enhance six sigma with an additional set of improvement concepts to help the practitioner achieve the best results.
There is no single body designated to certify candidates who are qualifying as Six Sigma professionals. There are tens of institutes that are training as well as certifying individuals as Six Sigma professionals. People seek certification so that they are able to leverage their proficiency in the subject matter, increase employability in organizations, and obviously, enhance pay packages.
If certification is necessary for you to advance in your company, it is natural that you should want to get certified. In some companies, all salaried employees are expected to be Green Belt trained and certified. In other cases, your certification will be an indicator of your intent to lead and grow along with the company.