Abstract: This article provides a broad overview or an understanding about Six Sigma and its relevance in the present scenario. A description is also provided on the various belt roles or different attainable levels of expertise in Six Sigma certification process.
Six Sigma provides a competitive edge or a cost advantage to the organizations in a highly competitive business scenario, by achieving continuous improvement in quality standards and enhancing operational efficiencies. The main objective of Six Sigma is to minimize the operational blockages or loopholes by implementing process improvements, conducting quality audits and implementing quality techniques/tools for realizing operational synergies and improving overall productivity. The focus is on creating client centric organizations by attaining superior quality benchmarks and implementing operational best practices backed by technological support.
Six Sigma certification process involves four levels of expertise. These are regarded as belts as per the industry terminology, the details of which has been described below:
Yellow Belt: A yellow belt holders are in the lowest level of hierarchy in Six Sigma and are essentially responsible for the execution role. Yellow belts are accountable for timely completion of the projects by contributing actively during the project implementation and testing stages. Yellow belts provide the operational support required for project execution and are involved in problem resolution. Yellow belt holders have a basic understanding about the essential tools of six sigma and are versed with how the process functions. At this level no certification is awarded.
Green Belt: Certificates are awarded at this level to the employees who fulfil the prerequisites for certification. Green belt certified employees are usually in the managerial cadre and are primarily involved in data gathering & analysis work. Green belt certified professionals provide operational support to the black belts and provide end to end support during the entire stages of project life cycle. Green belts work under the direct supervision of black belts and assist. They play a crucial role in defining the project success particularly in their field of specialization and render support in implementing small scale improvement projects. Green belts are well versed with the quality tools as well as techniques and well versed with DMAIC process (Define, Measurability, Analysis, Improvement and Control).
Black Belt: At this level, the professionals acquire an advanced understanding about the six sigma tools, techniques and important principles. They are professionally trained and are mostly involved in implementing strategic projects involving the overall interest of the organization. Black belts have exceptional leadership and team management skills, they motivate teams for superior performance and are essentially responsible for training Green Belt & Yellow Belt professionals. Black Belts play the role of champions of change and have demonstrated expertise in implementing various quality tools and techniques for driving process improvements or meeting the quality benchmarks.
Master Black Belt: Master Black Belt is the apex level of expertise in the hierarchy of six sigma. Master Black Belts support the senior management in implementing major strategies and driving change initiatives successfully across the organization. To achieve the expertise level of a Master Black Belt, one should have successfully completed few projects as a Black Belt. They are highly innovative, are responsible for providing project consulting support to the senior management and implementing effective initiatives for resolving bottlenecks in the projects identified if any. Master black belts should have a very good understanding of the business, latest best practices, should be deft with project management methodologies and be able to manage cross functional teams and train black belts on crucial processes and six sigma tools.