About Six Sigma
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma (6σ) is fundamentally a system of techniques and tools used in process improvement. A six sigma process, by definition, means to create a process that is 99.99966% free of defects (or to have fewer than 3.4 errors in one million opportunities).
However, the definition of Six Sigma has actually grown over the years to include several other definitions as well. Six Sigma is often defined as the:
- Utilization of the 5-step “DMAIC” approach to problem solving (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control).
- Forming “teams” to tackle well-defined projects that aim to have a direct impact on their organization’s bottom line.
- Training of employees in “statistical thinking” at all levels while providing select people, know as “Black Belts” and “Master Black Belts”, with additional training in advanced statistics and project management.
Regardless of the definition, the common philosophy is that Six Sigma is a data driven approach that is used to improve processes. These improvements both directly and indirectly increase profitability.
What is Lean Six Sigma?
“Lean” is a separate methodology that seeks to reduce “waste” in a process.
Many years ago, the Six Sigma industry found that “Six Sigma” could be greatly enhanced if it incorporated some Lean concepts, thereby creating “Lean Six Sigma”.
“Lean Six Sigma” simply means a program that includes “lean” principles in the Six Sigma Curriculum.
However, with that being said, it is important to realize that nowadays essentially all quality Six Sigma programs already have “Lean” principles incorporated into their curriculum. Therefore, most (if not all) “Six Sigma” programs are actually identical to their “Lean Six Sigma” counterparts.
In a nutshell, in today’s world “Six Sigma” and “Lean Six Sigma” essentially mean exactly the same thing.
The primary reason for the widespread confusion over the naming convention is because although Six Sigma began decades ago, it was only when the military began implementing it that it became a household name. However, since the military often referred to it as “Lean Six Sigma”, the full name became popular… causing mass confusion ever since.
However, to accommodate employers and employees alike, we offer both varieties.
If you are unsure of which to choose, we typically recommend “Six Sigma” for most people. We recommend “Lean Six Sigma” for those that work in the public sector or armed forces.
Why is Six Sigma so Effective?
On the surface, it may seem that the effectiveness of Six Sigma is due to its reliance on scientific tools and techniques, but that is certainly not true – because in reality, Six Sigma is more about following time-tested business practices rather than just crunching statistical data.
So what really makes Six Sigma so effective? Well, for that, you only have to take a closer look at the most commonly utilized Six Sigma quality improvement methodology, i.e. DMAIC that stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control:
The Define Phase
The Define phase is quite similar to the standard business practice of identifying common problems of a given business process with the aim to devise effective solutions for overcoming the given problems and issues. It can easily be compared with an entrepreneur’s effort to improve the delivery systems of his business by conducting a review of all the various major and minor components of the overall delivery system.
The Measure Phase
If we consider the above example, the Measure phase will seem no different from the entrepreneur’s effort to assess the negative impact that the identified problems can potentially have on his overall business. This is quite necessary for the entrepreneur, because it is only then will he be able to concentrate his efforts on overcoming problems that hold the most potential for damage.
The Analyze Phase
The Analyze phase is quite similar to the entrepreneur’s effort to make a list of all the available alternatives and test each of them individually to know which alternative will work best for getting the desired results.
Just like the entrepreneur would prefer, the Analyze phase too calls for selecting only those alternatives for final implementation, which hold the most potential and are cost-effective.
The Improve Phase
This phase is no different from the entrepreneur’s effort to ensure that the projects selected for improvement are implemented in the prescribed manner. Just like the entrepreneur would prefer, the Improve phase too stresses completing projects within the stipulated time and costs.
The Control Phase
Just as the entrepreneur would like to check the effectiveness of the improvement projects, the Control phase too stresses assessing whether or not the improvement initiatives are performing as per expectations. Taking remedial measures if there is a mismatch is inherent to the Control phase, just as an entrepreneur would like to do.
Now, I think you can understand exactly why Six Sigma is so very effective. It’s simply because it follows sound business logic that hardly ever fails to deliver.
Overview of Six Sigma Certifications
We offer several different Six Sigma Certification and Lean Six Sigma Certification courses for your online Six Sigma training needs. Our courses include White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, and Master Black Belt Certification programs.
Our accredited training and certification programs provide for customized learning at every level to allow each individual a role in improving their organization’s processes. This multi-level approach fosters team unity and leads to each employee feeling more valued by the company.
The following Six Sigma Certification and Lean Six Sigma Certification options are available for our online Six Sigma training:
Six Sigma Certification Levels:
Six Sigma certification is similar to other professional courses, in that after meeting specified guidelines and following the required procedure, individuals are certified as capable of applying the knowledge in their respective field. There are several stages of the program and with each qualifying level, certain exam scores must be achieved. These levels are designated in the same manner as a martial arts certification grade, ranging from White Belt (at the lowest level) to Master Black Belt (at the highest level):
Six Sigma White Belt training is an ideal beginner level for those simply looking to understand the basics of Six Sigma. It works best for employees who are unfamiliar with Six Sigma and want to learn more about the methodology and how it can impact an organization.
For a limited time, we are providing free White Belt training and allowing the public to obtain an official Six Sigma White Belt Certification at no cost. As this service is being provided at no cost, please understand that we do not provide instructor or technical support for the Six Sigma White Belt training and certification.
Our Yellow Belt course teaches the relationships between improving quality processes and an organization’s profitability. A certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt has received introductory training in the fundamentals of Six Sigma.
In this training and certification program, you will be trained to identify, monitor and control profit-eating practices within your own processes. You will also be prepared to feed such information to the Black Belts and Green Belts working on larger scale projects.
This course trains and certifies the employees that will directly participate in Six Sigma projects. Our training develops enhanced problem-solving skills and teaches you to apply statistical methods for process improvement.
Green Belt training is ideal for anyone looking to get the most out of their career. Improving the quality of processes and experiences has long been effective within all industries and environments. Employees trained in Six Sigma effectively improve customer satisfaction and consistently increase profitability. Much of a Green Belt Certified individuals responsibilities are to manage small scale project while also supporting Black Belts in larger endeavors.
This course trains and certifies those who will lead Six Sigma efforts within the organization. A Six Sigma Black Belt Certification will drastically improve your employment opportunities. It not only certifies your knowledge of Six Sigma, but also your qualifications to lead efforts within the organization.
A certified Black Belt exhibits leadership qualities, understands team dynamics, and assigns all team members with roles and responsibilities. In this role, Black Belts also coach, develop, and advise the management and the employees to achieve common goals.
This is an advanced level program that requires successful completion of our Black Belt Certification Program and several project requirements. For those seeking this achievement, please refer to the bottom of our Black Belt Certification page.