Showing posts with label Lean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lean. Show all posts

Friday, 31 October 2014

What you need to know before taking on the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt


Are you ready to take on the Black Belt? / rawich
The Lean Six Sigma management philosophy can boost efficiency, save money and improve customer services within your organisation. It’s especially applicable if you need to generate business improvements in areas like: customer satisfaction, service delivery and cost control.

But it can only be effective when used properly and it takes a skilled professional to make the most out of Lean Six Sigma’s complex processes.

Luckily, there’s a range of certifications available to improve and validate your Lean Six Sigma knowledge. From the entry-level Yellow Belt, to the Master Black Belt, whatever your familiarity, there’s a cert for you.

- Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

A Green Belt certification identifies you as a trained professional in Six Sigma’s Lean methodology and tools. You’ll be able to work on small scope business improvement projects as part of your job role and will be an effective team member on any Black Belt team. 

Your training will also help you to promote a common set of behaviours and practices which drive acceptance and familiarity of Lean and Sigma concepts inside your organisation. 

There are no prerequisites for the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification. And because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to know when you’re ready to take on the more advanced Black Belt. 

- Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

With a Black Belt, you’ll be qualified to lead Six Sigma projects and enterprises as well as executing and completing crucial business improvement projects.

Your enhanced Lean Six Sigma knowledge will make you ideal for providing expert opinions and thought leadership around Six Sigma and Lean. 

As leaders, Black belts will often find themselves in the role of educator. You’ll be teaching team members about Lean Six Sigma methodology and tools as well as coaching Green Belts in your organisation.

Think you’re ready?

If you’re considering taking on the Black Belt, here’s what to look out for:

The Black Belt is a lot more statistics heavy

The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt has the ability to surprise candidates with its larger focus on statistics. 

It is advised that anybody with a desire to achieve the Black belt is quantitatively oriented with a good brain for numbers.

Definitely maths.
morguefile / cohdra

You’ll be expected to use data to convert broad generalisations into clear and actionable goals. You should also be proficient in determining statistical significance and possess good skills in quantitative analysis of data.

Most Lean Six Sigma courses even feature additional training in the use of statistical processing software. These handy pieces of software enhance a Black Belts ability to investigate and analyse complex data. Think of them as a more specialised version of Microsoft’s Excel. 

Try out Minitab, our preferred statistical analysis tool of choice.

Expect a massively increased scope

But it isn’t only about statistics; the Six Sigma Black Belt is bigger in almost every respect. You can expect a bigger curriculum and a greater emphasis on large case studies which can often span your entire certification course.

You might be familiar with studying several ‘mini-case’ studies during your Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course. The small size of these case studies reduces the depth of analysis and enabled a focus on the ‘end outcome.’

However, when studying for the Black Belt, you’ll likely focus on just one large case study. And as a result, you’ll be going into far more depth than you might have been prepared for during your Green Belt.

Not all Lean Six Sigma training is created equally

It’s important to note that there isn’t just one Lean Six Sigma vendor. Because of this, not all Lean Six Sigma training, courses and certifications are created equally. 

Lean Six Sigma training can vary depending on the provider. Some training providers will focus on aspects of the Black Belt that others might mention only in passing.

As a result, it’s advised that if possible, when you undergo your Black Belt, you stick with the same Lean Six Sigma certification provider that you gained your Green Belt with. 

If you have to make the change, be sure you double check the curriculum and speak to the providers to ensure that you’re not revising the wrong material. You don’t want to attend a training course only to find that you have been studying a slightly different curriculum. It’s true, you’ll possess more knowledge, but it won’t help you pass the exam.

Assess your company’s requirements

If you’re taking the Black Belt to help improve the organisation you work for, it would be an oversight not to confirm their requirements.

As we’ve mentioned, Lean Six Sigma courses can vary in terms of curriculum and the content that they cover. It’s important that you’re on a course that teaches skills and techniques applicable to your organisation. It wouldn’t reflect well if you returned to work without this crucial knowledge.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Top 10 reasons you should be Lean Six Sigma certified


Lean Six Sigma is a management philosophy that has the ability to transform your organisation by enabling it to become more effective and efficient. Originally developed by Motorola in the 1980’s, Six Sigma soon became a world standard for quality implementation.

So how exactly does Lean Six Sigma achieve these lofty claims and by extension - why should you be Lean Six Sigma certified?

1. Lead your organisation to reduce errors and defects

Lean Six Sigma makes use of continuous improvement to reduce defects and errors across your entire organisation.

Achieve a Six Sigma qualification and you’ll enable your organisation to benefit from immediate functional improvements in production time and cost. The application of tools like kaizen (a method of constantly analysing process flow and how it’s applied) and poka yoke (mistake proofing) are proven to lead to faster-than-expected improvements.

In IT applications development, Six Sigma can reduce invoicing errors, reduce customer complaints and cut complaint resolution time, control IT spending and reduce schedule slippages.

You’ll stand out as a valuable asset to your organisation if you can apply Six Sigma effectively. With a fall in defects and errors, your organisation will save money – and you’ll be responsible.

Just like this small red man is doing
Image courtesy of / jscreationzs

2. You’ll be able to apply it to almost any industry

We know it can be applied to manufacturing, and I recently mentioned IT applications development; but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Six Sigma is an industry independent methodology and has been applied successfully across:

  • Manufacturing industries: Aerospace, Health equipment, Electronic Goods, Textiles
  • Service industries: Telecom, Banking and Financial services , Health care, Hotels, IT, Airlines, Cargo Movement, HR, Marketing 
By getting Lean Six Sigma certified, you’ll be able to apply your hard-earned skills and knowledge across a huge number of industries, organisations and businesses. This provides you with a massive boost in employability because your new skills and knowledge will be applicable in almost any company.

Definitely Six Sigma certified
Image courtesy of / Suat Eman

3. You’ll directly improve customer relations

Whilst Lean Six Sigma is primarily a means to increase efficiency, you’ll also be able to apply its practices to reduce the number of customer complaints.

The quality of services has a strong impact on customer satisfaction and by extension, customer loyalty. Customers will be less affected by defects in their products if the manufacturing process is improved and the number of these defects reduced.

When you apply Lean Six Sigma to customer relations it will likely result in reductions in complaint resolution time and a cut in the number of complaints.

So, becoming Lean Six Sigma certified won’t just allow you to improve efficiency and productivity – you’ll also be able to positively impact how your organisation is perceived.

4. Ensure industry and government compliance

Six Sigma aims to reduce manufacturing errors to a rate below 3.4 parts per million. A number of enterprise purchasers, amongst them government organisations and large corporations, actually now use this metric to review vendors.

Be part of the change. Lead or mastermind the Six Sigma strategies in your organisation to achieve or maintain profitable contracts.

5. Improve your organisation’s use of resources

Get Lean Six Sigma certified and you’ll be able to show your organisation and/or your employees how to utilize resources in a more efficient way. As a result, the cost of operations, materials and time will be reduced.

Apply Lean Six Sigma and fewer resources will be allocated to correction and more towards production. This means less defects in your services/products and more emphasis on providing sales.

6. Stand out from the crowd

Get the Six Sigma ball rolling in your organisation and you could experience tremendous professional development opportunities. Help your employer to adopt Six Sigma tools and training and you’ll stand out from the crowd as a proactive and determined individual.

Plus, Lean Six Sigma uses a set of quality management tools to provide a unique infrastructure of people within your organisation.

For example, Six Sigma Green belts are trained to generate business improvements in areas like: customer satisfaction, service delivery and cost control. Moreover, those qualified with the Six Sigma Black Belt are fluent in the practice and can deliver major performance and efficiency transformation in a business or organisation.

7. Command a bigger salary

Six Sigma is no push-over. It’s for determined professionals who are motivated to achieve more and receive validation for doing so.

Hiring professionals and executive managers know this and Six Sigma, as a result, commands respect and a comfortable salary. A Six Sigma Black Belt certified professional, for example, possess an average advertised salary of £45,000 a year according to

8. You’ll be prepared for leadership roles

Once the Six Sigma Black Belt is obtained, a person is both educated in Six Sigma methodologies and prepared to become a change agent within their organisation. You’ll lead efforts to improve processes and the quality of services.

The Six Sigma Black belt can open doors to promotion in upper management and, as you might expect, improves your prospects of obtaining a job with a different employer.

9. Lift morale within your organisation

Lean Six Sigma has the potential to positively affect people by engaging them directly. Employees are the best resource to understand how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business.

As a result, by participating in Lean Six Sigma projects, employees are able to build confidence by directly affecting the capability of your business.

10. A competitive advantage for your organisation

Possessing a Six Sigma qualification will enable you to effectively differentiate your organisation from your competitors. Distinguish yourself through Six Sigma and your marketing team will be thankful with this additional string to your companies bow.

On the other hand, delay and you may find your competitors gaining the upper hand when they decide to implement the Lean Six Sigma strategies for themselves. 

There you have it, 10 great reasons how both you and your organisation can benefit from getting Lean Six Sigma certified. Now you just have to get certified, right?

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.