How to Secure Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Pradeep B. Deshpande
Posted: 03/22/2009
There is considerable variability in the Green Belt certification requirements among those that offer it; and in the absence of national standards for Green Belt certification, it is prudent to ensure that the certification you are considering provides you the best possible training in Six Sigma framework, tools and techniques, along with the experience of working on a real-life Six Sigma project. These requirements will be met by a Green Belt certification program that treats Green Belt training on par with a graduate-level course in Six Sigma, plus the experience of successfully completing a four-month Six Sigma project. For Green Belt training, it is also expected that you have an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, business, medicine, etc. and have had a basic course in statistics while in college.

Factors for Green Belt Certification

Aspiring Green Belt candidates need to consider four factors in connection with their pursuit for Green Belt certification: 1) the certifying organization, 2) program syllabus, 3) Six Sigma project and 4) Six Sigma project presentation, testing and Green Belt Certification.

1. Certifying Organization—Through friends and associates, you may already know of a suitable organization to select for training. If not, an Internet search followed by inquiries should produce good leads. You should look for a consultant with sound academic qualifications; demonstrated excellence in teaching; substantial industrial experience; a track record of working with reputable clients, per reviewed Six Sigma publications, media interviews and journal citations; and of course, price.

2. Green Belt Program Syllabus and Contents—In the absence of national standards, ensure that the training program covers a comprehensive list of topics necessary for implementing Six Sigma on real-life projects. Table I outlines the outline of the topics you would need to master during the course of training. In addition to these topics, it is expected you would learn how a corporation would go about implementing Six Sigma, what the responsibilities of various Six Sigma professionals (Champions, Master Black Belts, Black Belts, Green Belts) are and how to go about selecting Six Sigma projects. In my programs, I am able to convince participants on the basis of natural laws that Six Sigma is really for life and everyone should think, work and live the Six Sigma way. The rewards of following Six Sigma are tremendous, as are the penalties of not following it. The program contents can be comfortably covered in 10 to 12 four-hour in-class sessions.

You would need to become proficient in the use of statistical software products such as MINITAB during your training. Six Sigma is not possible without statistics, and the 11 steps of Six Sigma involve a host of repetitive calculations. You will avoid the drudgery of repetitive calculations with the software.

3. Six Sigma Project—The Green Belt certification is of little value if it does not offer the opportunity to gain experience in executing real-life Six Sigma projects. The Six Sigma projects need not be complex, but they do need to illustrate the working of the five-phase, 11-step Six Sigma methodology. Generally, you may be expected to come up with the idea for a Six Sigma project, and if your employer is sponsoring the Green Belt certification effort, your place of work would be great place to search for project. The Six Sigma project scope should allow for its completion within four months.

4. Six Sigma Project Presentation, Testing and Green Belt Certification—Upon successful completion of Green Belt training and Six Sigma project execution, you need to pass a test to earn the Six Sigma Green Belt certificate.

Table I: Six Sigma Green Belt Training Program Syllabus

iIdentify who the customer is
iiUnderstand the customer critical-to-quality characteristics (CTQs), translate the fuzzy CTQs into actionable items amenable for Six Sigma analysis
iiiPrepare the project charter
Phase IScope (or Define)
Step 1: Articulate the problem statement
Step 2: Define response variable(s)
Step 3: State project goals
Phase IIMeasure
Step 4: Draw process map
Step 5: Validate measurement systems (gage repeatability and reproducibility)
Step 6: Collect data on response variable(s)
Step 7: Analyze data in step 5 and determine starting defect levels (baseline)
Phase IIIAnalyze
Step 8: Collect historical data or design and conduct experiments as appropriate
Step 9: Analyze data in step 8 and determine the major impact factors responsible for much of the variability in the response variable(s)
Phase IVImprove
Step 10: Set major impact factors at the optimal values or eliminate them as appropriate
Phase VControl
Step 11: Institute a monitoring plan so the problems, once fixed, stay fixed, and the benefits are sustained

Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Case Study

This case study entails Six Sigma & Advanced Control, Inc.’s (SAC) Six Sigma Green Belt certification program offered to the MBA students of Gatton College of Business & Economics, University of Kentucky in Lexington. Six Sigma has been a mandatory component of the 11-month immersive MBA program ever since it was introduced four years ago. The Green Belt certification program is a part of the Supply Chain Module in the curriculum. In the Green Belt certification program, students receive two weeks of in-class Six Sigma instruction, which include training in the use of MINITAB in Six Sigma projects followed by project executions.

In the academic year 2008-09, 16 corporations provided Six Sigma projects for the student teams to work on. Two Gatton faculty members served to coordinate the Six Sigma projects with the companies. At the conclusion of the Green Belt certification program, student teams made presentations on the projects and took a test. Students who fully participated in the Green Belt certification program, successfully completed the Six Sigma projects, make an effective presentation, and pass the test were given [SAC Certified Six Sigma Green BeltTM] Certificates. Companies have found the Six Sigma projects component to be very useful since this gives them an opportunity to tackle a project of commercial interest and to get to know the students.

The Green Belt certification program has also given some companies that have not yet embraced Six Sigma an exposure to the what, why and how of Six Sigma. Many students have joined the sponsor companies as full-time employees upon graduation. The enrollment in the Green Belt certification program has increased from 45 plus in the first year to 75 plus during the 2008-09 academic year.
Pradeep B. Deshpande
Posted: 03/22/2009


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