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Six Sigma Green Belts - The Most Cost-Effective Alternative

Jan 25, 2008
Each year, businesses pay thousands of dollars in hiring the services of Black Belts without ever considering the possibility that implementations can be carried out just as effectively without the help of Black Belts. They do not realize that if they plan properly and provide Green Belt training to existing employees, they will never again need the services of a Black Belt.

Changing Trends

A lot has changed in the last few years, and businesses are slowly but certainly starting to live in this new possibility. Of late, businesses that have provided Green Belt training to existing employees have reported phenomenal success with Six Sigma implementation projects, something that validates the effectiveness of this new concept. These businesses have also reported a substantial reduction in the overall project implementation costs, the reason being that they no longer have to pay the high fee demanded by Six Sigma Black Belts.

Using this new concept is beneficial for all types of organizations, but it is the small and medium sized enterprises that stand to gain the most - because they are the ones who often complain about the lack adequate funds and resources, and as such find it very difficult to hire the costly services of Black Belts.

Green Belt Training

To become a certified Green Belt, every individual has to pass the certification exam, irrespective of whether the individual is an employee or a person aspiring to make a career as a Six Sigma professional. Since it is highly unlikely that the employees will be able to clear the certification exam with ease, it is necessary for the organization to provide the necessary training and guidance to the employees.

For better results, management can create different groups, with each individual group composed of employees having similar levels of proficiency in topics related to Six Sigma. Employees who display the lowest levels of proficiency should be made aware of all the basics involved such as:

-Probability concepts
-Permutations and combinations
-Regression analysis
-Linear and non-linear analysis
-QFD Matrix (Quality Function Deployment)
-Central tendency
-Cost scheduling
-Quantitative trend analysis

A thorough understanding of all these topics will make it easier for these employees to pass the certification exam. However, just passing the exam will not be enough, because the main aim is to eliminate the need for Black Belts who have much more knowledge and expertise regarding Six Sigma project implementations. As such, the organization should also provide additional training, which may cover topics such as:

-Control Charts
-Defect Measurement Matrices
-Pareto Diagram
-Process Mapping
-Root-Cause Analysis
-Statistical Process Control
-Fishbone diagram
-Ishikawa diagram
-Design of experiments (DOE)
-Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)
-Process flow diagram and gage repeatability
-Reproducibility (R&R) studies

This level of expertise is usually the domain of Black Belts and it is only when the Green Belts develop the required level of proficiency in these areas, will the organization be able to achieve the desired objective (i.e. eliminate the dependence on Black Belts).
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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