Professionals who earn Six Sigma certification become key stakeholders in improving the quality of operations within their organizations. They strive to eliminate variation in manufacturing and business operations by implementing standard processes and establishing metrics that minimize the potential for defects.
Many of today’s leading organizations synthesize Six Sigma standardization practices with Lean manufacturing methods that cut waste to make their organizations as efficient as possible. Some of the companies that have successfully put Lean Six Sigma (LSS) principles into action include 3M, Xerox, and BAE Systems. For businesses to achieve optimal results with these initiatives, experts trained in the applicable tools and techniques must guide enterprise-wide changes.
But what do Six Sigma belt levels mean? These certifications indicate the roles that individuals are qualified to play in completing projects and promoting quality management practices. An lean six sigma online certificate program equips professionals to be active participants in optimizing their company culture and avoiding downtime.
Get to know each of the rankings so you can build skills that will help your company function more smoothly and advance your career.
Six Sigma Belts Levels
Professionals are considered Six Sigma White Belts if they have not undergone a formal certification program or extended training. A single session with an overview of relevant methods and vocabulary for LSS shows workers at all levels of an organization how they contribute to efficient, reliable outcomes. With this basic grounding, White Belts participate in projects and problem-solving tasks related to quality management and waste reduction.
A Yellow Belt designation indicates an exposure to Six Sigma concepts that goes beyond the fundamentals provided for a White Belt. Yellow Belts may have attended training sessions over a day or two, developing the knowledge they need be assigned to a project as fully contributing team members. They may guide limited-scope projects and assist managers at higher belt levels.
Earning a Six Sigma Green Belt certification requires professionals to attend a full course that introduces them to Six Sigma methods for developing and improving products, services and processes. They learn to apply problem-solving frameworks such as DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. This improvement cycle lays out a series of steps to understand the problems in a business process, set useful metrics for measuring changes, examine relevant data, implement solutions and then sustain the results over time.
Green Belt training is valuable for individuals in roles like project management, health care administration or financial management, giving them an understanding of performance metrics and tools like control charts and Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA). After certification, professionals are ready to take charge of projects, making the connections between LSS concepts and the goals of their organization. They can put leadership tools into action, find chances to eliminate waste and glean useful insights from data.
After completing their Green Belt courses, leaders may take their skills to next level by pursuing Black Belt certification. This advanced training requires previous knowledge of LSS strategies as professionals master the skills they need to plan, lead and explain more complex and expansive projects or organizational changes. Students in a Black Belt-level course acquire a rigorous understanding of how to drive organization-wide changes, analyze statistics, deploy Lean principles and supervise projects for a team of Green Belts.
During a Black Belt-level course, professionals demonstrate what they’ve learned and gain hands-on experience by conducting a project for their employer or a nonprofit organization. By setting down a project charter, collecting data and employing Six Sigma tools in a real-world context, students develop the abilities they need to make their businesses more productive and increase customer satisfaction.
Black Belts go on to execute LSS projects, monitor results and manage team dynamics. They run quality improvement and Lean efforts with the potential to make a significant impact on company-wide productivity.
Master Black Belt
A seasoned Black Belt with strong leadership and problem-solving skills can go on to become a Master Black Belt in LSS. This designation indicates that an expert takes a broad view of strategy throughout a business, coordinating teams across.
A Champion is an upper-level manager who leads LSS strategy and deployment. Based on the objectives set by executive leadership, Champions ensure that all initiatives to lower waste and remove defects come together in alignment with a company’s needs for growth. Aided by Master Black Belts, these managers mentor the leaders involved in LSS implementation and track their progress.