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Profiting From Six Sigma Certification

Apr 1, 2008
Although the program has proven wildly successful in many different cases, other companies have tried to implement the Six Sigma system with results that can best be described as mixed. A large part of the "mixed" (and you can read that as "negative"!) results can be attributed to an improper implementation of the Six Sigma process.

One way in which to avoid mixed results stemming from improper implementation is Six Sigma certification.

What is Six Sigma Certification?

Simply put, Six Sigma certification is an indication that an individual has received training in Six Sigma programs. It is usually issued after the successful completion of a training course at a certain level of the Six Sigma program (black belts, green belts, master black belts, and so on).

As with certification in many different areas, such as obtaining a driver's license, the certification comes not just after training, but after a student has demonstrated an understanding about that training. This understanding can be demonstrated both through class participation and the oral and written test portions of the program. It should be understood that this certification does not necessarily denote skill level within the area; there are different levels of proficiency across any classroom and Six Sigma is no exception.

In addition, many aspects of the training are not standardized, therefore some aspects demonstrated by employees with Six Sigma certification in one company will be different from those in another company.

Obtaining Six Sigma Certification

As you might have guessed from the last line above, there are several different ways in which an individual can gain Six Sigma certification. There are several Six Sigma training companies which provide the training necessary for companies wishing to implement the Six Sigma concept to eliminate defects within their processes. In addition, employees at companies with a long standing record of using the Six Sigma approach will probably receive some Six Sigma training of their own. Motorola and General Electric, for example, have developed their own in house training for Six Sigma principles which achieve the same results as the training companies.

You can probably infer from that that Six Sigma certification will not transfer as well from one company to another, generally speaking. Usually the companies wherein the Six Sigma concept originated (GE and Motorola as mentioned above) will have the most transferable value, with second tier training (training companies) coming in second and recent Six Sigma companies bringing up the rear as far as rock solid reliability in their training.

In short, it's important to understand that certification will not guarantee that an individual will be able to flawlessly perform the Six Sigma ideas. What it will do, however, is guarantee that assist in the proper implementation of the Six Sigma process, which will guarantee profit both to the individual (it's a good thing to have on a resume) and for the company that chooses to implement the process.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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