LEAN SIX SIGMA BELTS
A “Belt” signifies experience.
Practitioners are given a “Belt” title (Black Belt, Green Belt, Yellow Belt) that corresponds to their level of experience.
This roughly corresponds to their hierarchy in martial arts, with darker colored belts indicating more experience.
A Lean Practioner is a professional who understands the Lean philosophy and is able to apply the Lean tools in practice. A Lean practioner is able to create process speed by reducing waste using the associated tools. In essence, the strength of a Lean professional lies in mobilizing the “common sense” of your organization.
A project Champion is a high-ranking manager who will work with a Black Belt to ensure that barriers to project success are removed and the project team has the organizational support it needs to be effective.
Champions are not expected to be experts in the statistical tools or even experts in the project’s specific subject matter. Instead, they must possess a breadth of organizational knowledge to ensure that the project team’s work is aligned with the organization’s strategic objectives and interfaces effectively across the organization. A champion must also have the organizational clout to ‘make things happen.’
A Black Belt has expert knowledge and skills related to the DMAIC methodology, Lean methods, and team leadership.
Black Belts should be able to lead any team across the organization in executing Lean Six Sigma projects. Black Belts may also conduct Lean Six Sigma training and act as coaches and mentors to other Belts-in-training.
Black Belt training can be obtained from a variety of sources but is typically between 140 and 160 hours in duration and includes instruction in the use of statistical data analysis, designed experiments, team leadership, and project management.
Black Belt Certification – the recognition of both knowledge and the practical application of skills – is offered by MoreSteam, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and other organizations and consulting firms.
A Green Belt has strong knowledge and skills related to the DMAIC methodology and Lean methods, but typically does not have experience with advanced statistical tools such as design of experiments (DOE).
Green Belts may lead simple projects under the guidance of a Black Belt or may work as a team member on a large project team.
Green Belt training can be obtained from a variety of sources, but is typically less than 100 hours in duration and includes instruction in the basic use of statistical data analysis, with emphasis on team problem-solving techniques.
A Yellow Belt is trained in the general Lean Six Sigma concepts and basic tools.
A company deploying Lean Six Sigma may choose to designate project team members as Yellow Belts after completing a required training course, or may use the designation for employees responsible for data collection for a Green Belt or Black Belt project.
The Yellow Belt body of knowledge is defined quite differently by different organizations. In some cases, it may represent only the most basic concepts and language of Six Sigma, with an overview of the DMAIC process. In other cases, Yellow Belts are trained in a more complete set of basic tools, typically representing 15 to 25 hours of training.
A White Belt has received a small amount (several hours) of awareness training. Enough to be dangerous!
Most White Belts are executives or staff who need to know the very basics of process improvement. White Belt training is used to assist change management and cultural buy-in from professionals who won’t use the tools but may be impacted by projects.
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