Six Sigma is a structured methodology used to deliver consistent products and services with minimal defects. It comes fully loaded with a diverse range of tools and systems available to practionsers. Through combing these with a rigorous and structured approach it targets ascertaining the root cause of errors and removing them from the business process.

Six sigma itself originated within Motorola a manufacturing environment – but these days its used in a diverse range of industries supporting a huge range of products and services. Today’s Six Sigma is about the collection of data regarding processes – interpreting what that means and embarking on a improvement route to better satisfy the customer requirement or need

Six Sigma is a team based approach and it’s methods often utilize similar methods to that of traditional projects in that it has a structured approach to its organization, roles and responsibilities. Six Sigma’s structure of belts aims to delineate those that carry out projects and initiatives on a day to day basis from those that may provide governance and coaching.

Need for Six Sigma Belts

While many improvement projects do just fine without clear demarcation or grading of its personnel – Six Sigma Belts make the clear the difference of skills and experience between team members – generally the six sigma belt structure has:

Master Black Belts – Six Sigma champions and in house six sigma coaches
Black Belts who devote 100% of their time to six sigma projects
Green belts – Devote some of their time to improvement projects – operate under the guidance and leadership of Black belts

The purpose of a six sigma green belt

Six sigma green belts are trained professionals who know how to operate six sigma methods, systems and tools. An important difference between green belts and black belts is that green belts are not “full time” business improvement people they are, under the guidance of black belts, able to manage improvement projects alongside their normal day job.

There are many benefits to this approach :

• Improvement personnel qualified to an agreed and recognized standard
• Personnel which can be spread throughout the organization
• Centralized support and governance through Master Black Belts system

While many organizations will claim that their business improvement teams are structured to support their business – the discernable difference is that in following a model things can be achieved simply and more speedily than simply business improvers “finding their own way” through a problem process.

Green belts then have an important role to play in business improvement – and as such, and inline with the recent explosion in Six Sigma use, there is a wide support structure in the market place offering training and consultancy services to organizations looking to develop green belts within their own companies. – In the next part of this article series on Six Sigma Green Belts – we’ll take a look at Six Sigma Green Belt training.

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