Updated June 9, 2023
All About The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification
six sigma green belt certification is used to signify a stage of achievement for practitioners of the process improvement methodology called Six Sigma. Make no mistake, though: the accomplishments of receiving the Six Sigma Green Belt are no less than breaking a plank! Lean six sigma green belt certification has to virtually cut into the company’s processes to achieve breakthrough results. Instead of the belt, they are awarded a certificate for their effort and achievement.
What Exactly is lean six sigma green belt certification?
Before we understand the lean six sigma green belt certification, we need to understand what lean six sigma green belt certification is. If the term sounds like Greek and Latin to you, it’s because it is! Sigma is the Greek letter used to denote variations from the standard.
Six Sigma is a systematic data-driven methodology to eliminate defects and improve the process or product quality. Statistically speaking, achieving Six Sigma in a product or process requires that the number of flaws (or errors) is less than 3.4 per million transactions.
Let’s look at it in more detail with an example:
Let’s say you are in the business of making and supplying office lunches. But lately, the company has not been doing well. The number of repeat customers is dwindling. Your organization aims to achieve maximum efficiency at the grassroots level but cannot pinpoint what is going wrong. Six Sigma might be the philosophy you need to adopt.
You might have heard of the term Pareto Principle, also called the 80/20 principle or the Principle of a Vital Few. To troubleshoot a problem effectively, it is essential to note that 80% of any problem can be traced back to 20% of its causes.
If we can focus on these 20% causes and apply the Six Sigma tools to them, the process efficiency can improve exponentially.
For instance, in our example, several issues may lead to defects.
It might be that the time to prepare the lunch is too long, or delivery processes are haphazard. It could also be that the food quality is not good, or even the menu is unsuitable. Applying the Six Sigma methodology can identify and resolve some or all issues.
While the target of fewer than 3.4 defects per million transactions might seem impossible, several businesses have done so successfully.
The most famous of them is probably the DabbaWallahs of Mumbai. This means that out of a million Dabbas (lunch boxes), only 3 (or less) are delivered to the wrong person. Here, the standard is defined as the Delivery of the Dabba to the right person, and a defect means a Wrong delivery.
Steps to lean six sigma green belt certification: the DMAIC
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It’s all good to hear about the DabbaWallahs, but how does one go from a problem to achieving an impossible target?
The roadmap is DMAIC, named for the five stages: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control.
- Define Phase: First of all, we need to define the problem. What is it that we want to improve? To do this, we can use tools like the Process Flow Chart, a Project Charter, or a SIPOC diagram (Suppliers, Input, Process, Output, and Customers)
The problem in our example is ‘Reduced sales due to dwindling customers.
The Project charter for the Current project may be as follows:
Customers’ requirements: To get their lunch boxes delivered between 1 and 2 p.m. (office lunchtime) and to get quality food.
A Process Flow Chart may be drawn to show the business flow from supplier to consumer.
- Measure: Now, we need to convert the problem into measurable numbers. This may be the most challenging part of the roadmap. We need to quantify the problem and define the terms Defect, Opportunity, Unit, and Metrics for the current situation.
We also need to decide how the data will be collected and establish a functional relationship between the problem and the data: Y=f(x)
In our example, we can define the parameters as follows:
Standard: Delivery of the lunch box to the customer’s hands between 12 and 1 o’clock. Defect: Reaching customer’s hands before 12 or after 1 o’clock.
Unit: Number of lunchboxes
Data collection: The person who receives the lunchbox has to record the time of receipt every day and send a weekly report.
Now, with the said data, a functional relationship has to be established. The data should prove a correlation between dwindling customers and delay in delivery exists.
Y (fewer customers) = function (timely lunch drop off )
- Analyse: After establishing the functional relationship, it is necessary to analyze the various causes of the problem and ultimately determine the root cause. We could use tools like the Histogram, Pareto chart, and Fishbone diagram.
In our example, we can analyze various causes for a delayed delivery: Delayed food preparation, fewer delivery boys, traffic jams, etc. We can use the tools to identify which reason is the major one.
- Improve: Once we have identified the root cause of the problem, we need to find solutions. At this stage, it is usually time for brainstorming and out-of-the-box solutions! Testing the options in small units can establish their efficacy.
In our example of lunch delivery, suppose the significant cause of delay was traffic; we could consider various alternatives like using the train instead of the road for delivery, changing the routes to avoid traffic, or setting out earlier than usual.
- Control: After deciding and implementing the solution, it is necessary to establish rules to ensure continuous monitoring and enforcement of the improvement.
Suppose we find that by simply tweaking the routes, the objective can be achieved with minimum cost; we adopt that solution. When we have changed the ways of delivery, we may install a tracking system to identify whether each delivery agent is adhering to the route. We can measure the timeliness in delivery against each delivery agent and connect his Sigma level to his incentives.
The Belts: Champion, Green, and Black
In 1988 at Unisys Corp, Harry, and Cliff Ames created stages of achievement in six sigma green belt certification free using “belts.” When two Karate enthusiasts make something, using terms corresponding to Karate is only natural. And hence, the belts were born. A person who learns particular tools and techniques of Six Sigma is awarded the appropriate belt.
The Six Sigma Champion is the most basic lean six sigma green belt certification level. This person is aware of the concept and significance of Six Sigma Green Belt certification but has not yet received training in the methodology. They champion the cause of six sigma green belt certification free in the organization and select a Green or Black Belt to lead the team.
- A Six Sigma Yellow Belt has completed the Six Sigma training but has not worked on any project as yet.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt has undergone intensive Six Sigma training. He is the leader for small projects within his function and can be the team member for Black Belt projects. He does most of the implementation work within the project. Most practitioners of Six Sigma fall under this category, and later, we will look at 20 essential things they must know.
- A Black Belt knows advanced statistical methods and leads cross-functional projects. He employs many Six Sigma Green Belt in his projects. He spends considerable time implementing and integrating Lean Six Sigma within the organization. In many cases, he is a thorough, quality professional.
- A Master Black Belt is a change agent. He strategizes the Lean six sigma green belt certification-free philosophy and is the guardian of the same within the organization. He is the ultimate keeper of the six sigma green belt certification-free tradition.
20 Things a Six Sigma Green Belt Should Know:
To receive a Six Sigma Greenbelt, a person must be knowledgeable about the tools and techniques of the Six Sigma methodology and capable of implementing them in improvement projects related to their function. The Black Belt is the coach of a Six Sigma Green Belt and has the more significant role of implementing cross-functional improvement projects.
The Six Sigma Green Belt is required to know the basics of the Six Sigma methodology. What are the other things that they should know? Let’s list some of those things.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt should know the relevance of Six Sigma within their organization. While all Six Sigma Green Belt will learn the basics of Six Sigma, the missing piece is often: It’s all very nice, but how do I use it in my manufacturing/trading/service business? That answer will make all the difference.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt should be able to see and explain the value of implementing Six Sigma. As top management needs to buy into the concept, a Green Belt must be able to explain the benefits that will accrue.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt should be well aware of the roles and responsibilities of the Green Belt within the organization. How much time will he spend on Six Sigma projects? Will he have a Black Belt coach?
- A Green Belt should know how much time is spent on a Green Belt project. The suggested norm is 25% of their total work, which is impossible.
- A Green Belt should be able to lead the project as a whole and use various tools to devise a suitable DMAIC model.
- A Green Belt must know which project to select for improvement: many projects may need improvement, but he should apply the tools and techniques like Pareto analysis or Fishbone diagram to choose the appropriate project. He must know how to build a business case for that.
- A Green Belt must know how to define the problem in minute detail. He shall also be able to determine the Standards, Defects, Units, and Metrics for that particular project.
- A Green Belt should then be able to define the processes that need improvement using various tools.
- It should be able to devise various data collection strategies for spotting trends.
- A Green Belt should know essential statistical tools, concepts, and methods like the Normal Distribution curve and the Bell Diagram. They should be able to analyze the data using these tools.
- A six sigma green belt certification training should be able to analyze which measurement system is suitable for his particular project. This is known as measurement system analysis (MSA).
- A Green Belt should be able to analyze the causes of the defect/problem using brainstorming techniques and hypothesis testing.
- A Green Belt should be able to determine whether the current process meets the requirements and assess the process capability.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt should know correlation and regression analysis to understand and analyze the functional relationship between the problem and the defect.
- A Green Belt should know how to operate statistical tools like Minitab and understand their significance in the project.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt should be able to establish a control system to continue measuring the six sigma green belt certification training levels and integrating the same with the incentives of the employees.
- A Six Sigma Green Belt should be able to schedule regular meetings to assess the project’s progress and update management.
- A Green Belt should also be able to motivate the team to contribute and actively participate in the project.
- A Green Belt must know about certification and how the company can maintain its certification. For instance, some companies require Green Belts to complete at least one-year projects to maintain certification.
- Lastly, a lean six sigma green belt certification must know where Lean Six Sigma will not work. It might not work for all projects, especially ones where process improvements will not affect apparent problems. So, it’s time to polish those skills and get going on receiving that lean six sigma green belt certification!
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