Thursday, 3 January 2013

What is Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma MethodologyMany people ask, what is Six Sigma, and why is it so popular? 

Six Sigma is a management philosophy that has transformed organisations, helping them become more effective and efficient. It was originally developed by Motorola in the U.S.

There are four different levels of Six Sigma - Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt and Champion:

Yellow Belts are trained in the basics of Lean Six Sigma, and can typically carry out performance improvements within their teams.

Green Belts are trained and certified at a more advanced level in the tools and approach of Lean Six Sigma. They tackle change within their business in addition to their other responsibilities. 

Black Belts are professional change agents, who are fluent in the use of the Lean Six Sigma approach and tools. They deliver major performance or efficiency transformations for a business. They usually are Change Leaders.

Champions are those that sponsor performance improvement projects. They are usually managers of processes and business areas that are trained to pinpoint where transformations / improvements are needed to and help remove barriers to the implementation of changes.

This method has had great success and is one of the most used by all types of organisations. The demand for Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt certifications has increased dramatically at Firebrand Training especially with the combination of the Green Belt and Black Belt, which will get you both certifications in just 10 days.

Learn more

George Eckes  gives an effective explanation and introduction of Lean Six Sigma.

He uses an interesting story called three blind men and an elephant. The story goes like this: 

Three blind men touch different parts of the elephant and draw very different conclusions. One touches the tusk and says it’s a spear; the other touches his torso and says it’s a wall, and the third blind man touches the tail and says it’s a snake.

The point of the story is that depending on your perspective and viewpoint, it can mean very different things. Six Sigma is a metric, it’s an improvement methodology, it’s a management philosophy and it creates a common language throughout the whole organisation.

You can watch his introduction to Six Sigma in this two part video.