The Six Sigma methodology uses data, measurements and statistics to identify process inefficiencies and then applies strategic tools to eliminate defects by decreasing process variation. The name Six Sigma comes from the statistical term that refers to a process that allows for no more than 3.4 errors per one million opportunities.
Organizations that have used the Six Sigma methodology have reduced waste, increased profit and enhanced shareholder value. For example, General Electric used Six Sigma techniques to increase profits by $2 billion in a one-year period.
Investing in Six Sigma training for employees at all levels within a company can be a catalyst to increasing productivity and profitability. The foundation of a successful Six Sigma program is a thoroughly trained base of empowered employees. Once the number of employees with Six Sigma training reaches a critical mass in the company, productivity can begin to improve without increasing capital costs.
A company benefits from Six Sigma the most when a significant number of its employees are trained in the methodology. When employees have adequate Six Sigma training they become much better problem solvers and can continue to increase the company’s productivity for the remainder of their careers. As more employees are trained in the Six Sigma process, the company gains more professionals to help alleviate issues, more minds to solve problems and more hands to help execute the solution.
The Six Sigma process was first adopted by Fortune 500 manufacturing corporations, and many businesses are still under the impression that only large industrial companies can benefit from Six Sigma methodology. The fact is, however, that Six Sigma has been used successfully not only in the manufacturing sector but also in a variety of other industries including banking, healthcare, the military, fast food chains, airlines, hotels and retail stores. Six Sigma techniques can be used to improve any repetitive process whether the process belongs to a large or small organization.
Since the results of a Six Sigma project are only as good as the people involved and the training those people receive, selecting the right employees and providing adequate training are critical to the process. An existing business can implement Six Sigma by first identifying the employees who have the experience to fill the Six Sigma team roles below:
Master Black Belt – This role is filled by an employee who has completed Black Belt training and typically leads between five and ten different Six Sigma projects. This employee must have strong quantitative skills and highly-developed leadership skills.
Black Belt – This professional works full time on quality improvement projects. The Black Belt has completed all Six Sigma coursework and has led several projects.
Green Belt – This professional typically works part time on projects and has been trained in Six Sigma methodology.
Yellow Belt – This person assists part time on project teams and has received minimal training in Six Sigma.
Once the role requirements of each Six Sigma belt are understood, it becomes easier to match these roles with employees who have the needed skills, abilities, and experience.
Online Six Sigma training can offer a higher degree of convenience and flexibility. Quality online courses, such as the courses offered by Villanova University, have interactive dashboards where students learn the course material, take tests and monitor their progress. Some courses even have live instructor support along with videos and lectures to enhance learning. Online courses allow students to receive Six Sigma training at their convenience and at their own pace.