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How And When To Choose The Right Six Sigma Training

Aug 17, 2007
The term "Six Sigma" may seem difficult to comprehend at times, but is actually very easy to explain. The term is derived from a character in the Greek alphabet, which is used for representing a standard variation in statistical mathematics. Statistically, Six Sigma can be defined as a near perfect method of production that restricts the number of defects to less than 3.4 for every million opportunities that exist for a defect to occur. This makes Six Sigma one of the preferred quality management techniques for achieving near perfect business processes through process improvement.

Data Driven And Disciplined Approach

Six Sigma follows a disciplined and data driven approach for eliminating defects in any type of business process, whether it is the product manufacturing process or after sale customer service. The two most commonly used methodologies in quality improvement projects are the DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, control) and the DMADV process (define, measure, analyze, design, verify). The former is used for improving the quality of business processes that have not met customer specifications and require improvement. The latter is used for developing new products or business processes that conform to 6-Sigma quality levels. Both the processes are carried out under the guidance of Green Belts and Black Belts, who in turn are guided by Six Sigma Master Black Belts.

Companies often want to know exactly how many benefits can be derived from Six Sigma training. Just to get an idea, one can look at the financial data of General Electric, one of the companies that have successfully implemented Six Sigma training. It is estimated that the total value of benefits derived from the training was close to a staggering $ 10 billion in the five years after implementation. It is estimated that on an average, Six Sigma Black Belts help companies save $ 230,000 per project. Given that most companies can execute 4 to 6 such projects per year, the total savings can translate into $ 920,000 to $ 1,380,000 per year.

Selection Process

After selecting the most appropriate type of training, a company needs to find the right consultant who has the necessary skills and experience in implementing Six Sigma programs. The selection of the training consultant will depend on the type of Six Sigma program that the company is planning to implement. Some programs are implemented all throughout an organization whereas others are implemented in a specific area only such as individual functional departments. The decision regarding the selection of the consultant needs to be made only after consulting other employees, as they are the ones who will eventually interact with the consultant during the implementation process.

After getting approval from the employees, it is advisable to seek references from business associates in other companies that have implemented such projects and can provide the necessary insights. Companies need to interview potential trainers and ask questions regarding their previous work relationships, referrals, total number of candidates trained by them till date, training materials used, earlier projects they have worked on, and their qualifications. This is essential since companies need trainers with a great deal of real-world experience. Companies need to inquire in depth about the type of training that the trainer is willing to provide. Usually, companies prefer training firms that operate online help desks for helping clients in dealing with problems that might arise after the training has been completed.
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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