Introduced back in 1980 by Bill Smith while he was working at Motorola, Six Sigma is considered to be a set of techniques and tools designed for process improvement. The concept gained traction and was adopted at General Electric by Jack Welch in 1995. Since the 1990s, many organizations began offering Six Sigma certifications - certification programs being designed to verify one’s command of the methods and detailed. Two thirds of the organizations that were part of Fortune 500 in the late 1990s adopted Six Sigma initiatives in order to improve quality and reduce costs. In 2005, Motorola credited Six Sigma with over $17 billion in savings.
Certification and what it all means
When it comes to certification, the main goal is to validate those who have the necessary skills to identify and eliminate errors in the business process. Certification comes in different skills level, from Yellow Belt to Green Belt, Black Belt, and finally Master Black Belt – each belt shows the level of skill that one possesses and in order to achieve them they can go through different forms of training (i.e. Green Belt requires Green Belt Training, and so on). Getting a certification can be done via an accreditation body, such as the American Society for Quality. The process can take up to three months in order to study and complete a program.
What is Six Sigma exactly?
A Six Sigma consultant in Dallas, Maurice L. Berryman, described it as a way to translate fuzzy customer requirements into responses that are technically measurable. Simply put, it is a statistical technique of breaking the requirements of a customer into steps and tasks in order to get the best result for each task that is part of the process. Another Six Sigma specialist noted that Six Sigma is a way to get everybody from an organization to work together in order to improve the end product, and not simply their own individual piece.
When it comes to methodologies, Six Sigma projects follow 2 of them: DMAIC and DMADV. The former is used when aiming to improve an existing process, while the latter is used for projects that aim to create a new process design or product. Both methodologies have 5 phases (which make up for their name). DMAIC stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control, while DMADV stands for Design, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify. (Worth noting that DMADV is also known as DFSS – which simply stands for Design For Six Sigma).
Are there any benefits associated with Six Sigma?
Six Sigma has many advantages for an organization and for the individual as well. While it definitely looks good as a thing to add on your resume in order to enhance it, there are actually more benefits beyond that. For those looking to improve themselves while seeking success, Six Sigma can be an ideal way to do that. First of all, Six Sigma will enhance personal effectiveness, as it provides a more structured approach to problem-solving that can be used in order to address any kind of issue. This will not only put you in a better light within an organization, but these techniques can be used in everyday life as well and can be applied to various problems.
Speaking of putting you in a better light, one thing that comes with that is promotability. Attaining certification will definitely make you a more valuable asset and give your resume more weight and credibility. Plenty of jobs require individuals to have a Six Sigma credential, which means that once you get certified, it will open more doors for you when you’re looking to apply for a job. When it comes to promotions, having a belt certification will demonstrate that you are capable of handling more responsibility. And with a promotion comes better pay which is definitely something to keep in mind.
Does Six Sigma work?
According to data available at the moment, the answer would be yes. Yes, on both sides of the spectrum. On one end organizations are able to take advantage of the fact that Six Sigma breaks processes into simple tasks, thus fewer errors are being made. On the other end, individuals are better positioned within a company. Those that are certified are routinely breaking into the $100,000+ pay bracket.