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Lean Six Sigma: All you need to know about Lean Six Sigma Certification

Last Updated on August 17, 2021 by Admin

The distinction between Six Sigma and lean has dimmed, with the term “lean Six Sigma” being used more and more frequently because process improvement requires aspects of both approaches to attain positive results. We have discussed here all you need to know about lean six sigma certification, lean six sigma green belt, lean six sigma black belt, and lean six sigma training and courses.

Six Sigma focuses on reducing process variation and enhancing process control, whereas lean drives out waste (non-value-added processes and procedures) and promotes work standardization and flow.

What Is Lean Six Sigma?

What is Lean in six sigma? Lean Six Sigma is a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement that values defect prevention over defect detection.

It drives customer satisfaction and bottom-line results by reducing variation, waste, and cycle time while promoting work standardization and flow, thereby creating a competitive advantage. It applies anywhere variation and waste exist, and every team member should be involved.

Lean Six Sigma is also a team-focused managerial approach that seeks to improve performance by eliminating waste and defects. It combines Six Sigma methods and tools and the lean manufacturing/lean enterprise philosophy.

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Six Sigma vs. Lean Six Sigma

What is Lean and six sigma? Lean Six Sigma is a perfect fit for companies looking to streamline their processes and offer as much value to the customer possible.

The phased thinking and clear roadmap provided by the DMAIC method can be a valuable tool when applied to any business case, not just defect prevention as in the traditional Six Sigma methodology.

Lean Six Sigma means a program that includes “lean” principles in the Six Sigma Curriculum. Most (if not all) Six Sigma programs are identical to their “Lean” Six Sigma counterparts.

The primary reason for the widespread misunderstanding is because although Six Sigma began decades ago, it was only when the military began implementing it that it became a household name.  However, since the military referred to it as “Lean Six Sigma,” it has confused ever since.

If you are unsure which to choose, we typically recommend “Six Sigma” for most people. It is recommended, “Lean Six Sigma” for those that work in the public sector or armed forces.

As the line between Lean and Six Sigma continues to blur, entirely new methods and unique philosophies are bound to emerge. Experts that can help companies manage these intricate refinements will define the next great innovation in Six Sigma thinking.

Lean six sigma principles

Experts recommend that you keep these five critical Lean leadership principles in mind to help ensure the success of your LSS (lean six sigma) project.

Work for the customer.

The primary goal of any change you want to implement should be to deliver maximum benefit to the customer. Establish a clear standard of quality early on that’s defined by what the customer or market demands.

Find your problem and focus on it.

During the re-tooling processes, it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of desired changes and lose focus on the initial problem. Gather data that shows you where your specific problem area lies and concentrate on refining only that area of your business. Any attempt to broadly alter the company or change the product will likely derail the LSS process.

Remove variation and bottlenecks.

Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to look for ways to decrease opportunities for defects. These openings often come in the form of long, intricate processes that leave significant room for mistakes and waste. Streamlining or removing these functions is an excellent way to achieve quality control and efficiency.

Communicate clearly and train team members

Lean Six Sigma fundamentals require that all team members are versed in LSS, know the project’s goals, and are informed of its progress. Six Sigma methodology can cause tremendous change and requires specialized focus on the part of management. Advanced certifications in Six Sigma are critically crucial for reducing the risk of project failure and ensuring that the entire process runs smoothly.

Be flexible and responsive.

Change and Lean Six Sigma go hand-in-hand. A process or function that is identified as faulty or inefficient must be refined or removed. Clinging to a failing approach is not an option with LSS. Change and change management can be challenging and painful, but it’s a small price to pay for what every business leader strives for: a leaner, stronger, more competitive company.

Lean six sigma belts

Lean Six Sigma training uses “Belt” levels to denote expertise similar to Six Sigma. Following are the names of the lean six sigma belts;

Yellow Belt: Awareness of Lean Six Sigma

Green Belt: A focus on the use of tools and the application of DMAIC and lean principles

Black Belt: Full-time project leader

Master Black Belt: A Black Belt with a minimum of two years of experience. Able to teach Lean Six Sigma.

Integrating Lean And Six Sigma

Lean and Six Sigma provide customers with the best possible quality, cost, delivery, and a newer attribute, agility. There is a great deal of overlap between the two disciplines; however, they both approach their common purpose from slightly different angles:

  • Lean focuses on waste reduction, whereas Six Sigma emphasizes variation reduction.
  • Lean achieves its goals by using less technical tools such as kaizen, workplace organization, and visual controls.
  • In contrast, Six Sigma tends to use statistical data analysis, design of experiments, and hypothesis testing.

Frequently successful implementations begin with the lean approach, making the workplace as efficient and effective as possible, reducing waste, and using value stream maps to improve understanding and throughput. If process problems remain, more technical Six Sigma statistical tools may then be applied.

Lean Six Sigma Tools

Following are the most necessary lean six sigma tools

DMAIC: Lean six sigma DMAIC means Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control process is a data-driven quality strategy used to improve processes. It is an integral part of a Six Sigma initiative. Still, it can also be implemented as a standalone quality improvement procedure or as part of other process improvement initiatives such as lean.

The 5 Whys: The 5 Whys is a tool used to determine the root cause of problems within your organization. It’s often deployed as part of the Analyze phase in DMAIC.

5S: The lean six sigma 5s is a methodology that results in a workplace that is clean, uncluttered, safe, and well organized to help reduce waste and optimize productivity. It’s designed to help build a quality work environment, both physically and mentally. The 5S philosophy applies in any work area suited for visual control and lean production.

Seven wastes: A core principle of lean—reducing and eliminating waste—the seven wastes are overproduction ahead of demand; waiting for the following process, worker, material, or equipment; unnecessary transport of materials; over-processing of parts due to poor tool and product design; inventories more than the absolute minimum; excessive movement by employees during their work; and production of defective parts.

Value stream mapping: Value stream mapping (VSM) is a pencil and paper tool used in two stages. First, follow a product’s production path from beginning to end and draw a visual representation of every process in the material and information flows. Second, draw a future state map of how value should flow. The most important map is the future state map.

Flow: Flow is the progressive achievement of tasks along the value stream, so a product proceeds from design to launch, delivery order, and raw to finished materials in the customer’s hands with no stoppages, scrap, or backflows.

Visual workplace: A visual workplace is defined by devices designed to visually share information about organizational operations to make human and machine performance safer, more exact, more repeatable, and more reliable.

Regression Analysis: A regression analysis is a statistical process for estimating and understanding the relationship between variables.

Pareto Chart: The Pareto chart graphically displays the differences between data groups, allowing Lean Six Sigma teams to identify the most significant issues facing the process.

FMEA: Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) helps businesses identify and eliminate weak points in the early stages of any product or process.

Kaizen (Continuous Improvement): Kaizen is the practice of continually observing, identifying, and implementing incremental improvements in the manufacturing process.

Poka-yoke (Mistake Proofing): Poka-yoke is a Japanese term that means mistake-proofing. It’s a process by which employees work to identify and eliminate the causes of human errors throughout the manufacturing and production processes.

Voice of the customer: Quality function deployment (QFD) begins with exploring and discovering customer needs. The first step is to capture the voice of the customer (VOC) and then create a voice of the customer table (VOCT). Familiar sources can include sales and technical trip reports, warranty claims, user support forums or helplines, and social media.

Six Sigma team leaders also use project management tools, such as Gantt charts, and team engagement tools, such as brainstorming and nominal group technique.

What Are the Benefits of Using Lean Six Sigma?

Organizations face rising costs and new challenges every day. Lean Six Sigma provides a competitive advantage in the following ways:

  • Streamlining processes results in Improved customer experience and increased loyalty.
  • Developing more efficient process flows drives higher bottom-line results
  • Switching from defect detection to defect prevention reduces costs and removes waste
  • Standardizing processes leads to organizational “nimbleness” and the ability to pivot to everyday challenges
  • Decreasing lead times increases capacity and profitability
  • Engaging employees in the effort improves morale and accelerates people development

Lean Six Sigma Certification

Lean Six Sigma (or Six Sigma) is an internationally recognized methodology for continuous improvement. Any professional seeking globally recognized certification status with career potential across multiple industries should consider Lean Six Sigma Certification.

Project Managers can incorporate Lean Six Sigma tools into their workflows as part of continuous improvement efforts. Depending on career goals and the industry in which the work is performed, a professional may pursue one or more Lean Six Sigma certification levels to complement their overall professional skill portfolio.

In short, Lean and Project Management certifications should not be viewed as alternatives. They are standalone skill sets that increase the number, scope, and career opportunities when combined.

Lean Six Sigma Levels and Certifications

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) states that in a project setting, there can be as many as five levels of Lean Six Sigma certification who are part of the improvement process: master black belts, black belts, green belts, yellow belts, and white belts.

For those at the start of their Lean training journey, Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt is the first step towards understanding the essential strategies and tools for process improvement. As you advance your career and deepen your experience, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training will help you become a specialist ready to pursue formal certification.

Primary Certifications (No Project Requirement): White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt

Advanced Certifications (Requires Project Completion): Green Belt Level II, Black Belt Level II, Black Belt Level III, Master Black Belt

Lean six sigma certification cost

As per the A CSSC website, the cost of the lean six sigma certifications are;

Primary Certifications:

  • White Belt: FREE
  • Yellow Belt: $99.00
  • Green Belt: $159.00
  • Black Belt: $229.00

Advanced Certifications (Requires Project Completion):

  • Green Belt Level II: +$300.00
  • Black Belt Level II: +$300.00
  • Black Belt Level III: +$300.00
  • Master Black Belt: +$665.00

Industries that Use Lean Six Sigma

Where can you apply your Lean Six Sigma knowledge? This proven methodology for continuous improvement has its origins in manufacturing but has grown to encompass automotive, electronics, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and even human resources.

Online job searches using key terms of Green Belt, Lean Certification, and Lean Six Sigma provide results within companies of all sizes and across the world, such as General Electric Co., The Hershey Company, 3M, Abbott Laboratories, IBM, Honeywell, Newell Rubbermaid, Wells Fargo, and Siemens.

Any organization seeking quantitative measurements of success over qualitative markers will need Lean Six Sigma training, experience, and certification.

Types of Jobs that Use Lean Six Sigma

Job types that use Lean Six Sigma are as varied as the industries in which it is practiced. The key point is that Lean Six Sigma is not just for Project Managers but is part of careers including Business Analysis, Engineering, Production Plant Management, and more.

jobs that use lean six sigma
Image Source: https://projectmanagementacademy.net/

Lean Certification for Career

Becoming Lean Certified at any level is not a career unto itself. However, it is of great value, and in some cases even a requirement, for those in quality control, continuous improvement, and process improvement roles. Lean Certification can be a career accelerator in many ways, including how it will:

  • Enhance your resume with formal certification of industry-recognized skillset
  • Augment your project management career with continuous improvement skills
  • Apply to multiple industries and fields, thus expanding career opportunities
  • Streamline your career planning with tiered certification levels
  • Provide substantial salary range with potential for growth

What Belt Do I Need?

The Council for Six Sigma Certification breaks down the differences you can expect between the various levels by earning potential and certification requirements.

An individual with expertise and deep knowledge of the Six Sigma methodology can be an asset to any organization. The following should provide insight into Six Sigma’s earning potential.

There are four levels of achievement. As the level of accomplishment increases, so does the opportunity to increase your value to an organization.

What lean six sigma Belt Do I Need
Image Source: https://www.sixsigmacouncil.org/lean-6-sigma-help-me-choose/

Salaries of Lean Six Sigma Specialist

Salaries of Lean Six Sigma Specialist
Image Source: https://www.sixsigmacouncil.org/six-sigma-certifications/

The above salary data was recorded on 10th August 2021. In some organizations, achieving additional levels of Lean Certification can translate to bonuses or promotions. It is also a professional standing that stays with you as you change roles or companies.

Lean Six Sigma Certification Online Courses

Ready to boost your career with Lean training? Start with Yellow Belt and see where your career takes you next. Following are some of the best courses we recommended you should join.

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training by Project Management Academy

In this lean six sigma course, you will learn how to apply the DMAIC framework, including how to:

  • Initiate Six Sigma projects to bring about significant and lasting organizational change
  • Formulate project selection criteria to focus Six Sigma initiatives on projects that will have the most excellent chance of success
  • Apply the DMAIC improvement process to solve business problems
  • Develop process maps to gain a full understanding of an existing process
  • Incorporate the “y = f(x)” method to determine the relationship between key inputs and process outputs
  • Employ Six Sigma data-driven approaches to solve problems at their root cause and prevent their recurrence
  • Reduce waste and defects by applying Lean and Six Sigma principles
  • Implement control charts to monitor how a process is performing over time

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Training by Project Management Academy

Join this lean six sigma yellow belt course to;

  • Become a problem solver using Six Sigma principles to maximize your performance
  • Learn the strategies and tools necessary to support quality improvement initiatives
  • Learn how to support improvement projects as a part of a team or conduct small projects of your own on a part-time basis
  • Add the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification to your resume

Six Sigma Black Belt Specialization by University System of Georgia

Six Sigma Black Belt Certification Course. Reinforce and enhance the DMAIC process combined with an extension into Organizational Planning and Development, Team Management, and Design for Six Sigma. Join this lean six sigma training course.

In this Specialization, learners developed and furthered their understanding of the Six Sigma DMAIC process. This Specialization also explored the intersection between Six Sigma and Lean and created an enhanced understanding of the DMAIC process beyond the confines of Green Belt instruction by including content in Organizational Planning and Development, Team Management, and Design for Six Sigma.

Six Sigma Green Belt Specialization by University System of Georgia

Improve Your Career With Advanced Six Sigma. Dive deeper into proven principles and tools to improve quality assurance in your organization

This specialization is for you if you are looking to learn more about the more advanced components of Six Sigma and Lean. Six Sigma skills are widely sought by employers both nationally and internationally. These skills have been proven to help improve business processes, performance, and quality assurance. In this specialization, you will learn proven principles and tools specific to six sigma and lean.

Improve Your Career With Six Sigma Knowledge. Learn proven principles and tools to improve quality assurance in your organization. Join this lean six sigma courses online.

This specialization is for you if you are looking to learn more about Six Sigma or refresh your knowledge of the essential components of Six Sigma and Lean. Six Sigma skills are widely sought by employers both nationally and internationally. These skills have been proven to help improve business processes, performance, and quality assurance.

Final Words

Lean Six Sigma is a structured problem-solving process using data, and it contains many tools, but the tools do not rule the team. The Black Belt and Green Belt project leaders select the appropriate tool for the situation. The tools are there to assist the team in their analysis, not constrain them.

Finally, the goal is an improved process, product, or service that better meets the customer’s expectations. Lean Six Sigma is not about the process or the tools; and it is about the customer. Project success is assured when waste and variation are eliminated or decreased and customer value is improved.

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Lean Six Sigma FAQs

What is the Lean Six Sigma?

Lean Six Sigma is a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement that values defect prevention over defect detection. It drives customer satisfaction and bottom-line results by reducing variation, waste, and cycle time while promoting work standardization and flow, thereby creating a competitive advantage. It applies anywhere variation and waste exist, and every team member should be involved.

Why is Lean Six Sigma important?

Significant benefits of the Lean Six Sigma strategy include customer satisfaction and cost reduction. It leads to revenue growth and productivity improvements. Lean Six Sigma is a method that provides special analytic and process skills.

What are the types of Lean six sigma belts?

Yellow Belt: Awareness of Lean Six Sigma
Green Belt: A focus on the use of tools and the application of DMAIC and lean principles
Black Belt: Full-time project leader
Master Black Belt: A Black Belt with a minimum of two years of experience. Able to teach Lean Six Sigma.

Where is Lean Six Sigma used?

This proven methodology for continuous improvement has its origins in manufacturing but has grown to encompass automotive, electronics, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and even human resources.

What are the types of Jobs that Use Lean Six Sigma?

Job types that use Lean Six Sigma are as varied as the industries in which it is practiced. The key point is that Lean Six Sigma is not just for Project Managers but is part of careers including Business Analysis, Engineering, Production Plant Management, and more.

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