Six Sigma: What you need to know

Six sigma what you need to know

Are you obsessed with improving the quality and performance of your projects? You should consider Six Sigma…

Not only will it ensure that your work, and the work produced by your team members, is of a consistently high quality, it will also lead to improved pay and more prosperous career prospects.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a focussed, disciplined and data-driven process-improvement program, which strives to make a business’s performance as error-free as possible by identifying and removing the main causes of errors.

It was initially developed by Motorola as a way to improve the quality of their service, and is now used by a wide range of Fortune 500 companies.

What does Six Sigma mean?

The name comes from the Greek letter Sigma (σ), which is often used by statisticians to denote standard deviation.

In order for a company to achieve Six Sigma, 99.99966% of processes are statistically expected to be error free (or, in other words, not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities, if you’re a fan of specifics*).

What are the different Six Sigma qualifications?

SIX SIGMA offer several certifications, or ‘belts’. The most commonly used and accepted Six Sigma Belts are Yellow, Green, Black and Master Black. Some companies also assign White Belts**.

There is no standard certification body for Six Sigma, and the Belts do not follow on from each other or work as pre-requisites.

Here’s a quick rundown of the different Six Sigma Belts:

Six Sigma Yellow Belt

The Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification is aimed at those new to the world of Six Sigma. It teaches the fundamentals of how to adopt the approach, as well as outlining the potential of using Six Sigma tools and methodologies within an organization.

Six Sigma Green Belt

The Six Sigma Green Belt certification will allow learners to operate under the supervision of a Six Sigma Black Belt, collecting data for them, performing analysis and solving quality problems. Those qualified will also be able to use their knowledge to improve quality in their own, smaller-scale projects. A Green Belt must have at least three years of work experience in order to start studying.

Six Sigma Black Belt

Six Sigma Black Belt certified individuals are professionals in their field, able to explain Six Sigma philosophies and principles thoroughly. They are team leaders, and are able to delegate. They will also have a thorough understanding of all aspects of the DMAIC model in accordance with Six Sigma principles as well as a basic knowledge of Lean.

A Black Belt must have three or more years’ experience in one of the areas within the Six Sigma body of knowledge to get started.

Master Black Belt

Becoming a Master Black Belt of Six Sigma allows individuals to train others in the principles of Six Sigma. You’ll learn how to develop key metrics and a strategic direction, and ultimately inform all of a business’ decisions regarding Six Sigma.

What is Lean Six Sigma?

In recent years, some companies have combined Six Sigma ideas with Lean principles, to create a methodology named Lean Six Sigma.

Lean Six Sigma certifications are available in each of the belt classifications.

How much can I earn once qualified?

This will vary depending on individual employer, location and certification. As a general guideline, once qualified you could be earning somewhere in the region of £30,000.

Black Belts earn an average of £60,000, and some of the more experienced practitioners will earn even more.

What methods of learning are there?

All learning can be taken online, allowing you to study at your own pace. Once you’ve completed the course materials, you will then have to complete an examination to become accredited.

The exams are only available to be taken a few times a year however, and will have to be taken at an officially recognised examination centre.

How long will it take?

Somewhere between 40 and 60 hours of guided learning per belt.

Advantages of becoming Six Sigma qualified

Six Sigma certifications not only demonstrate your commitment to improving quality and performance, they also act as an indication of a candidate’s analytical reasoning skills. They are well-respected within a number of different industries, meaning practitioners of the methodology are always in demand.

Becoming Six Sigma certified will help set you and your skills apart, whatever your role, developing your leadership skills and proving to potential employers that you can reduce costs, increase revenue and, ultimately, make their business processes more successful.

Add to this better job opportunities and more lucrative salaries, and you can see why so many of the world’s top companies see Six Sigma as an absolutely vital part of their infrastructure.

*Being a fan of specifics preferable for those studying Six Sigma.

**reed.co.uk has been assured to karate will be involved in securing this certification

Ready to get started? Enquire now.