Six Sigma FAQ's

Get answers to the frequently asked Six Sigma questions

Six Sigma & It's Applications

01. What is Lean?

Lean manufacturing or Lean Production or Lean Management, often only "lean", is a systematic method for waste elimination or minimization with an intent to increase process efficiency & performance gain.

Waste is anything for which customer is not willing to pay (we shall study this in detail)

By reducing the waste, there would be a significant reduction in non-value-added activities which intern leads to fast-tracking of the process; hence we can say Lean is all about Process Acceleration.

02. What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma has many definitions, but one of my favourites is
Six Sigma is a Disciplined, Data-Driven approach and Methodology to reduce variation in the process which in turn leads to an increase in performance of the system, Customer Satisfaction & significant financial gains (directly/indirectly).

Each word, Disciplined, Data-Driven, Methodology, Reduce Variation, Customer Satisfaction is essential, and the most important one is Significant financial gains. The reason why I say Significant financial benefit is necessary because, if Six Sigma does not deliver financial gains to the organization deploying Six Sigma, I am confident Senior Leadership of the organisation would lose their focus from implementing Six Sigma

Six Sigma is Metric: The sigma level 1 to 6 Sigma defines the robustness of the process – its ability to deliver superior, consistent output. Higher the Sigma value better the process is

Sigma Level Defects Per Million Opportunities
1 6,90,462
2 3,08,000
3 66,807
4 6,210
5 233
6 3.4

As you can see, as Sigma value increases Defects per Million Opportunities reduces

Six Sigma is a Methodology

  • A clearly defined structured approach in solving a complex problem
  • Proven methodology DMAIC or DMADV to deliver results

Six Sigma is a Journey

While other Quality initiatives have focused on detecting and correcting defects, Six Sigma focuses on creating robust processes so that the cause of the errors are either eliminated or reduced. Six Sigma is best when applied over a longer duration, and it is a journey to achieve the desired perfection levels.

By reducing the variation in the process, the process would tend to increase the accuracy; hence we Six Sigma is all about Process Accuracy.

03. What is Lean Six Sigma?
Lean + Six Sigma = Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma uses the concepts of both Lean & Six Sigma to drive Significant business results. While mostly the projects are driven using Six Sigma DMAIC or DMADV methodology. Lean Concepts are used on a need basis. Example Value Stream Mapping of Lean is used in Analyze phase to in projects focus on overall Time reduction. Kanban or Production Levelling or Standardization of Lean are used in Improve Phase to find a solution.

04. Which is more valuable, Lean Six Sigma or Six Sigma?
Lean + Six Sigma = Lean Six Sigma

Lean is all about eliminating/reducing waste in the process

Six Sigma, coupled with Lean knowledge, would be a great value add, as Lean concepts complement Six Sigma in many ways. Mastering Lean would help you do some process-based analysis much faster and easier while driving complex Six Sigma projects. Lean would also help you find Solutions in Improve phase of Six Sigma.

But, suggest learning Lean separately and Six Sigma individually and combine the knowledge while you drive the projects. Lean itself is a great tool to drive many projects by reducing/eliminating waste

Unfortunately, most of the training institutes add very few elements of Lean in some of the phases of Six Sigma and call it as a Lean Six Sigma course. In my opinion, that is a disrespect for Lean.

05. How to make use of Lean Six Sigma?

Use of Six Sigma are many mostly used to drive Process/Operational Excellence but gaining its momentum in driving Revenue Generation & faster revenue accelerations projects as well.

On the Process/ Operational Excellence side, as the term indicate it’s all about achieving excellence in Operations. Mainly focus on Quality, Cost, Deliveries, Customer and Employee satisfaction

  • To help you enhance Organisations Quality standards
  • To help you increase your profits by increases sales, reducing expenses and be more competitive in the market
  • Help you strengthen your delivery adherence
  • Help you improve Customer, Stakeholders and Employee satisfaction levels

Some of the Sales related projects would be to Maximise Revenue, Faster Revenue Recognition, maximizing sales through existing customer, Increase in repeat orders, cross-selling, better Forecasting & Trend Analysis.

Read my blog "Is Six Sigma Still Relevant" to learn more about the application of Lean Six Sigma/ Six Sigma.

06. How to use Lean Six Sigma in Service Industry?

Six Sigma can be of great help in the service industry. One can improve their Service Quality, Service delivery, reduce Service Cost, Increase in Sales of their Services, Increase in Customer Satisfaction scores, Faster Revenue Recognition and Generate Revenue

I have applied Six Sigma to service industry in driving various projects impacting millions of dollars. Some of the kind of projects which can be driven are

Process/Operational Excellence
  • Increase in Productivity of Agents
  • Increase in SLA adherence
  • The decrease in Quality errors/ mistakes
  • Reduce Turn Around Time for customer calls/Queries
  • Reduce Response & Resolution times
  • Increase Customer/Stakeholder/Employee satisfaction
  • Deliver Productivity for customer
  • Increase in the flexibility of team
  • Increase first level resolution
  • Decrease re-open rates
Revenue Driven
  • Increase in Sale of service offered
  • Reduce Credit/Debit Rebills
  • Faster Revenue recognition
  • Reducing the time to be billable

One can also think of projects like

  • Reduction of tickets/calls (proactive actions in fixed price model)
  • Identifying the right set of qualities required for Agents & recruiting the right professionals

The ultimate result of these Lean Six Sigma projects would increase business sales, outcome and profit, which is most important.

Note: A word of caution, none of these projects should be at the cost of loss of. If any of the projects would lead to loss of employment, then an alternative employment opportunities job should be thought for those who end up losing their jobs or an option to increase the volume of work

07. How to use Lean Six Sigma in the Food Processing Industry?

Food Processing Industry is one of my favourite industry, due to the perishable nature of the food it offers such great opportunities to optimize the utilization. I have worked with the food industry on a couple of assignments and reduced food processing wastage by 30–90%. The sector also offers various options to optimize the consumption of raw materials and optimize the supply chain. Some of the projects I can think of are

  • Reduce food processing wastage (by 80% +)
  • Optimize the supply chain to deliver faster & fresh food
  • Increase in Productivity and resource utilization
  • Increase in sales by the enhanced freshness
  • Decrease in expenses due to the reduction in loss of waste products
  • Increase the usage of the food products at the customer end
08. How to use Lean Six Sigma in the beverage/breweries industry?

I never worked in the beverage/breweries industries. Still, I gained the knowledge of how the industry works through interaction with the participants in some of the public training batches I conducted. I am fortunate to train almost a dozen professionals from beverage/breweries industry.

I heard four significant challenges in the industry and here are my thoughts on how the industry can overcome them.

  • One of the critical concerns is % rejection/wastage of both raw material, semi-finished products or at the end of the production. I strongly suggest to for Quality Improvement project to identify the causes of rejections could be raw material, process, process parameter etc. With the help of Anova/ Regression, one should be able to find out the root causes for variations. Simple Visual Management would also help in enhancing the Quality.
  • The Beverage/breweries industry also suffer from Productivity issues and generally associated with higher Turn Around Time due to certain process constraints and lack of synergy among the processes. A big change over time from one variant to another variant is also a concern as a smaller company cannot afford to have a dedicated line for each product. On the other hand, it is essential to supply fresh beverages to customers. I would highly recommend application some of the Lean tools like Value Stream Mapping, Single Minute of Exchange of Dies, Line Balancing, Kanban, Spaghetti diagram, to overcome some of these challenges.
  • One more challenge is maintaining a standard taste, due to variation in the input: I would recommend Design of Experiments to arrive at the optimum solution to maintain uniform taste across. Specific process optimization is a must give the constraints of raw material the industry undergoes
  • On the supply side, the sector suffers from either short supplies or excess quantities produced due to high demand fluctuation & shorter shelf life. Kanban & Supermarket would be a great help; this also would help the company to retain the market share and capture the new market as and when the demand arises. Trend Analysis & Forecasting would be a good idea as well but should be done after strengthening the process to certain levels.
09. What is the use of Six Sigma in Sales and Marketing?

May not be the whole of Six Sigma would be useful in Sales & Marketing. Still, knowledge of some of the tools like Probability, Hypothesis testing, Regressions, Trend Analysis, Forecasting, Design of experiments would be a great advantage in Sales & Marketing. The tools would help you in identifying the customer's segments with whom you should be working or with whom you should not be working. In other words, Six Sigma tools would help you prioritise the customers, to be time spent to drive higher sales.

I have personally used some of these tools to help one of my Technology customers to increase their sales by 1.75% & translated into an increase in their sales by millions of dollars annually.

10. Can healthcare professions undergo RPA or Six Sigma?

Yes, you can study both. Suggest deciding which way you want to go based on your strength. While Six Sigma requires a certain amount of Mathematics knowledge to master the subject (may not be that essential at Green Belt levels), RPA requires you to carry a certain amount of coding expertise. You need to decide which one suits you better. One additional advantage you would bring is Domain expertise. Health care Domain Expertise+ Lean Six sigma + RPA would be one of the best combinations to have

11. Is Lean Six Sigma applicable to startups?

Absolutely!!
Many startups need to start focusing on profitability within Year 1 or sooner.
Suggest reading my Blog "Is Six Sigma still Relevant?" to learn more about how Six Sigma can be useful for startups

12. What are the opportunities for six sigma in India?

Let us understand what Six Sigma is then let me answer the question of what the scope is.

While there are many definitions of Six Sigma but the most relevant to the question would be

Six Sigma is a Disciplined, Data-Driven approach and Methodology to reduce variation in the process which in turn leads to an increase in performance of the system, Customer Satisfaction & significant financial gains (directly/indirectly).

Now, the question arises how many of the processes in India do not have variations or another way of asking how many times we do everything within acceptable limits. Just to give you some indications majority of the industries like Manufacturing, Automotive, Automobile, Food Processing, Health care, IT, ITES, Supply Chain have processes wherein only 80–90% of the time they are meeting the defined limits. Now what does this mean if we reduce the variations, the answer is A million or Billions of dollar Money which is spent today because we have high rejection rates.

The fact it is direct money, which has been put into thrash every day because of the weak process. A good Six Sigma guys can deliver 1–2 Million Dollar or more saving to their respective companies and they have great value.

Please note, when I say Six Sigma it does not mean getting a mere certificate, it means applying the knowledge learnt. I just remember a quote "Knowledge is not power; Applied Knowledge is Power” this suit to Six Sigma more than any other knowledge.

13. Is Lean Six Sigma certification useful to get a job?

The answer is Yes provided you learnt it well and not just got a certificate.

Let me back you with some relevant data; in the last 24 months, we have trained at least 20+ professionals who had a specific challenge in their career. Some had lost their jobs due to various reasons, some of them had promotion issues, and some of them were at the verge of moving out of their current roles. Two of them had even come from Defence background no corporate experience and finding little challenging to find an entry to a corporate career, two of them were still in college and were preparing for their campus interviews. Today, all of them are working and have got promotions and happy. Some have gone back to the same organisation with a better hike and better roles. While few of them have chosen Six Sigma paths, some of them have remained in their original domain like Operations Manager, Quality Manager etc. They are in the roles of their choices. Ranging from Chief Excellence Officer to Quality Engineer, but each of them is working. We had hired some of them, and they worked with us on a few assignments few did some freelancing work & they got that much-needed experience. What changed? They updated their resumes with Lean Six Sigma Green Belt/Black Belt certified, their resumes were preferred over others, they got the interview call, they answered relevant Six Sigma questions and Bingo they were through and Happy.

To the best of our knowledge none of our Green Belts and Black Belts certified through our institutes is jobless today if any of you are there please do call us, we will try our best to help you.

I was speaking to one of our certified Green Belt, who got into a new role, he was telling me that out of 45 mins interview, 25 mins was on his Six Sigma project, hey, don’t mistake it is not a Six Sigma role, it is purely a Project Management role. Why do you think the interviewer was asking him questions about his Six Sigma knowledge because the interviewer knows that “If someone can complete a Green Belt means that he/she knows the structured approach of problem-solving which is a must for any role.

If you have understood the concepts, able to drive real-life projects (not the dummy projects) and deliver high impacting million-dollar savings, you will have a fabulous career.

Other hands, if you just have a mere certificate, do not carry enough knowledge and ability to drive the project, then Six Sigma certificate may not take you too far.

14. Companies like LinkedIn, Google, Facebook & Twitter use Six Sigma?

The answer is Yes, they do. The quantum of Six Sigma usage is much lesser compared to some of the other organisations. Google uses Six Sigma to strengthen its Operations which are mostly outsourced. I happen to train a team working for Google account on Six Sigma Green Belt in 2015.

LinkedIn again uses some of the concepts of Lean Six Sigma to drive Operational Excellence, but the penetration is not too deep. I was fortunate to drive few Operational Excellence & projects for the LinkedIn account. I was also fortunate to define few processes for the Facebook account as a part of the transition.

Certification

01. Six Sigma Levels of Certifications – WB, YB, GB, BB and MBB

While the roles and responsibilities of belts differ from organisation to organisations on a broader level below definition and roles and responsibilities of different belts

Yellow Belt (YB)

A Six Sigma Yellow Belt is a team member in a Six Sigma project, who understands the concepts and assist Green Belt. Yellow Belt undergoes formal training during which he/she learn the concepts of Six Sigma. In most of the organisation, either Black Belt or Green Belts train their Yellow Belts during the project execution. Formal training for all the yellow belts adds to the success of the project.

Green Belt (GB)

A Six Sigma Green Belt is an individual who leads the Six Sigma project. He/she is usually part of the process in which the project is being driven and knows the process very well. Six Sigma Green Belt has to undergo formal training in Six Sigma which is more intense than Yellow Belt, he/she usually knows how to make use of the statistical tool and draw inferences out of the Analysis made with/without the help of Black Belt. Green Belts carry higher responsibilities of delivering Six Sigma projects and are required to dedicate ~20-25% of their time in executing the projects.

Deliverables of a Green Belt:
  • Lead Projects & Execution
  • Team and Project Structuring
  • Six Sigma Project Results
  • Share Best Practices
Black Belt (BB)

A Six Sigma Black Belt is a full-time change agent and an improvement leader who guides Green Belt in executing the projects. Mostly train & support Green Belts / Budding Black Belts to implement projects especially in helping with statistical analysis. Black belts also lead Six Sigma projects which are more complex. Unlike the Green Belt, who is an expert in the process, Black Belt need not be a process expert, but he/she is a Six Sigma expert coupled with sound business acumen. Black Belt is the key member of the entire Six Sigma value chain as for the majority of the companies in India and abroad. Black Belt is very influential in decision making, be it choosing appropriate Six Sigma project or be it selecting the right Analysis tool. Black Belt contributes a significant amount of time for Six Sigma projects. An experienced Black Belt is also an advisor to executives or business unit managers.

Deliverables of a Black Belt:
  • Six sigma strategy and roll-out plan for the given process/area
  • Lead & Execute Projects
  • Help and guide Project Resources/ Help remove project level Barriers
  • Team and Project Structuring
  • Six Sigma Project Results
  • Train & Mentor Green Belts, Black Belts
  • Share Best Practices
Master Black Belt (MBB)

Master Black Belts are methodology & Statistical experts; their typical roles in an organisation are to support Black Belts in Six Sigma Methodologies. They are responsible for the strategic deployment of Six Sigma and drive improvements in all business functions. They play a vital role in organisations embracing Lean Six Sigma culture hence an essential member of Lean Six Sigma implementation across the business functions. Smaller companies outsource this activity to an external consulting agency. Master Black Belts, together with Tenured Black Belts, are advisors to executives or CEO. The typical work distribution of Master Black Belt is 80% Leadership & 20% Technical roles.

Deliverables of a Master Black Belt:
    Six Sigma strategy and roll-out plan in the organization/function Manage Project of the function Mentor Teams Achieve Lean Six Sigma Results Cross-Functional Leadership Project Execution and Removing Roadblocks
02. What is a Six Sigma Green Belt & what are their deliverables?

Six Sigma Green Belts are the engine of Six Sigma projects. Black Belt’s support the efforts of the broader business teams to identify and implement change. The GB’s are part-time Six Sigma Project Leaders. They are responsible for scoping the projects, leading the project team, calling for help when needed, managing interfaces with business leaders, and ensuring sustainable results.

The goal of GB’s is to translate the value of Six Sigma to the specific work environment and problems. They challenge the status quo where appropriate and share (and seek) ideas across boundaries.

03. What is a Six Sigma Black Belt & what are their deliverables?

Six Sigma BB’s are full-time time project leaders and mentors of the business, including Green Belts and other associates. They have tactical responsibility for executing specific projects and ensuring that the results are captured, the changes are owned by the Champions (Sponsors), and the changes are sustained.

They will also lead Six Sigma knowledge transfer to both full- and part-time participants.

BB’s are expected to create an environment of open, honest debate of facts. They challenge the status quo where appropriate and share (and seek) ideas across boundaries.

Deliverables of a Black Belt:
  • Six sigma strategy and roll-out plan for the given process/area
  • Lead & Execute Projects
  • Help and guide Project Resources/ Help remove project level Barriers
  • Team and Project Structuring
  • Six Sigma Project Results
  • Train & Mentor Green Belts, Black Belts
  • Share Best Practices
04. What is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt & what are their deliverables?

These individuals are responsible for translating the high-level business goals into a Six Sigma strategy for the division and the supporting tactics. They work with the deployment leader to achieve the former.

They also lead the development of the Six Sigma skills in the organization, for Black Belts, Green Belts, and the general associate base. The MBB's have the ultimate responsibility to ensure the quality, value, and sustainability of Six Sigma projects under their guidance.

Deliverables of a Master Black Belt:
  • Six Sigma strategy and roll-out plan in the organization/function
  • Manage Project of the function
  • Mentor Teams
  • Achieve Lean Six Sigma Results
  • Cross-Functional Leadership
  • Project Execution and Removing Roadblocks
05. Can freshers do Lean Six Sigma certification?

Yes, if you are Graduate with Mathematics or Statistics as one of the subjects and you have a fair understanding of Process, then you can start with Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, otherwise suggest you a Yellow Belt Certification.

06. As a beginner, how do I start my Lean Six Sigma certification, what level should I choose, and how do I practice?

If you have 2+ years of experience in Quality and or Process or a Graduate with Statistics or Mathematics as one of the subjects during your graduation, you should be good to start with Green Belt directly. Otherwise, I would suggest you take-up Yellow Belt.

How to learn: Six Sigma is best learnt by practising rather than theory class. The initial classroom session is required for you to understand the concepts, and get a first-hand understanding of methodology and tools, and a bit of exposure to Minitab or any other Statistical software. Take up training which is 4–6 days, as two days would be too short to learn, and more than six days would be dull sometime. Do not spend too much money on training. Have a decent certification like TUV SUD, KPMG, ISI. ASQ. I do not suggest certification issued by the local Institute themselves as each of them lack credibility in the market.

Different levels of certifications: Level of accreditation is based on what you would like to do with this certification. If you are playing a team lead role with not so extensive use of Six Sigma concepts, then I would suggest a simple Green Belt. If you want to use Six Sigma extensively, then I would recommend Black Belt. If you have a career aspiration as Six Sigma Professional, then Six Sigma Black Belt is a must. Please read Levels of Six Sigma Certifications – WB, YB, GB, BB and MBB to understand the roles of each level.

07. How do I get a Lean Six Sigma certification?

The certification differs across various certifying bodies, but most generic is as follows. Please note this is very generic,

Yellow Belt & Green Belt: Attend stipulated training and pass the certification exam

Black Belt: Attend stipulated training and pass the certification exam, complete a Six Sigma Black Belt project

Note: Participants are requested to read certification guidelines from respective certifying agency.

09. Is Six Sigma certification worth it? Especially in India?

Worthy!! This question is irrelevant. The only caution is mere certification has no value. Still, if you are certified and able to make use of it and can drive high impact million-dollar savings projects, then the sky is not the limit.

Good Six Sigma Black Belts are in high demand in India and demand continue to be there for the next three to four decades or so. I firmly believe there is nothing seems to be coming to replace Six Sigma.

Remember, Six Sigma is a problem-solving methodology, and we have so many to solve in India. Yes, not all the problem requires Six Sigma, but if nothing works Six Sigma is hope.

Just a small last hint: Good Six Sigma Black Belts are highly paid, and, in many companies, they figure in top ~10% pay brackets of their company.

Suggest reading my Blog “Is Six Sigma Still Relevant?” to learn more about how the future of Six Sigma across industries.

10. Do Recruiters/Employers care from where one gets their Lean Six Sigma certification?

The answer is “It depends” but the suggestion is to have one from a globally well known and a credible certification body. Any of the TUV SUD, IASSC, ASQ, KPMG or ISI should be good as these are well known across the world, and they command respect. Certification by the local institute to me is strict No-No as your employer who is interviewing may not know the certifying institute and as the institutes lack credibility in the global market and sometime within the same city as well. It is a one-time process, so suggest getting it from well know Global brand, at the same time, ensure you focus on the experience of driving projects.

11. How do I get a Lean Six Sigma certification? What is the estimated price of this certificate?

The process is simple, get trained, appear for the exam and complete one/two projects (optional, vary from institute to institute). Prices range from institutes to institutes. A typical Green Belt would vary from 14,000 to 28,000, and a Black Belt would vary from 35,000 to 70,000/- including examination & certification costs. If the training institutes are providing their certificate with the price is less as there is the expense of certification for them, but the license does not carry much value.

12. Which is the best Lean Six Sigma certification accepted globally?

Anyone certification body does not govern six Sigma. Anyone can start issuing the certificate, Yes, we can do as well, but the problem is we are not known to many. When our student goes for an interview, the interviewer would not know XergY and would also not know the process of issuing the certificate. Hence, we lack credibility as a certification body. As long the certification process is well known to someone who is recruiting and a credible certification likes of TUV, ASQ, IASSC, KPMG, ISI it should be fine. The reason why I am listing these firms because there is a defined procedure to get certified from these certification bodies, which is well known in the market, and they are credible enough.

It is important to note that in Six Sigma, applied knowledge is the key rather than a certificate. You must have a decent credible license, but most importantly, you should know how to make use of the learnings and hands-on experience of driving Six Sigma projects would be a great plus and is a must.

13. How can I learn & master Lean Six Sigma with minimal investment?

Since you want to learn Six Sigma, get certified and also spend less money best answer would be to get enrolled with XergY for Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training & certification. You will be learning from the start even if you do not have any knowledge in Lean Six Sigma; we would help you acquire the knowledge. Our innovative Simulation enabled; Gamified Learning would be a good value add for you to learn & master the concepts better. Our Expert trainers would be able to answer all your doubts and help you get that complete clarity on the subject.

I am sure India has a lot many jobs for the right Lean Six Sigma Professional, we help you become one.

14. What is the estimated salary for a fresh Six Sigma professional in India?

The answer is it depends, mostly Six Sigma certification is done after a certain number of years in the industry, and the pay scale mostly depends on their previous salaries. Once someone gets certified and start delivering projects in their respective organisations is when they start realizing growth coming along the way because of the value they provide to the company. In general, Lean Six Sigma professionals earn more than if he/she wouldn't have been a Lean Six Sigma practising professional. Still, as I said, it all depends on their contribution to their company.

If you are a fresher, and you get Lean Six Sigma certified, your chances of getting a job is higher. Your resumes would be preferred.

Green Belt

01. What is the use of a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certificate?

If you just carry just a certificate, then it has got little value. If you carry the knowledge such that you can drive Lean Six Sigma projects, then your certificate carries good value & might also increase your salary by multi-folds

If you carry both the licence and the knowledge, the following would be applicable

For Business, Six Sigma would be a great value add for enhancing Quality levels, increasing profits, and helping you deliver on time, increase your sales and faster revenue recognition.

As a Professional, Six Sigma Green Belt certification would alone help you increase in your current salary. Once you start using the concepts of Six Sigma at your workplace and start driving high impact projects, it would help you achieve your goals faster or exceed them which in turn would help you be a star in your organisation and increase your salaries multi-folds.

A word of caution, many aspects of salary depends on organisation and performance and other criteria; hence you may not be able to co-relate directly to Six Sigma Green Belt certification or projects. Suggest evaluating what works best for you

02. What are the prerequisites for a Six Sigma Green Belt certification?

There is no prerequisite for Green Belt certification, but if you know Process, Quality, 7 QC it would help. At XergY, these training is given as preparatory training so that it is easy for participants to understand the Lean Six Sigma concepts easily.

03. What do they teach in Six Sigma Green Belt teach?

The course and syllabus vary from company to company, but overall the goal is to help you understand DMAIC methodology of Six Sigma which in turn would help you drive Lean Six Sigma projects at your organization

04. Is it ok to get a Six Sigma green belt certificate without practical knowledge?

It is ok to get Six Sigma certification without practical knowledge, but it would not be meaningful if you do not make use of the learning after the certification. It would be a loss for you both in terms of money and your career.

05. I am from a BPO background. Is it possible for me to change my career after my Six Sigma green belt certification?

Difficult to say for Green Belt certification, but Black Belt definitely Yes. If you are a certified Black Belt and executed a couple of projects in your respective Domain, I am sure you would have opportunities outside your current field as well.

06. What is the estimated salary of six sigma Green belt?

It is a bit difficult to mention any salaries as it depends on various factors like company, employee, nature of the business, the role played in the organisation etc. Generally, someone who is a Green Belt certified should earn more than those who do not have the Green Belt certification. Again, it depends on how well you are using the knowledge of Six Sigma Green Belt. Six Sigma certification is right to have, but it is highly valued when the learnings are applied.

07. Is Lean Six Sigma certificate is equivalent to having a Lean & Six Sigma Certificate separately?

The answer depends on where you get the certification. Many organizations combine few elements of Lean in their Six Sigma training and call it as Lean Six Sigma, which to my opinion undermining the value of Lean. Lean is mighty itself and learnt independently could be a great value add as you start getting better at problem-solving. It is essential to learn Lean & Six Sigma separately to get the best learning from both.

On the other hand, learning Lean & Six Sigma independently would guarantee you the much-needed knowledge of Lean & Six Sigma.

Once you learn the knowledge, make use of it to drive high impacting projects.

Glad to mention that we (XergY) value both Lean & Six Sigma and teach them separately for Lean Six Sigma certifications. This way, you will have bot the knowledge of Lean & Six Sigma. I think we stand out of the crowd in this area.

09. I have ten years of experience in the BPO Role. Can I do green belt certification?

Yes, Six Sigma is an excellent level playing field. Irrespective of what you have done in the past, if you become better in Six Sigma, it might be a game-changer for your career. I have seen professionals coming from various education background and experience and succeeding in Six Sigma. Learn with intent to make use of the learning and start driving large scale projects; just a certification may not be that useful. Apply the knowledge and make a difference to your organisation.

10. I have ten years of experience in Quality, Should I go for a Six Sigma green belt?

The answer is Big Yes. At 10 Years of experience in Quality, you must go for Six Sigma Black Belt certification rather than Green Belt. Green Belt is for junior roles. I am sure you are looking to Accelerate your corporate career, so suggest Black Belt, as a Quality professional, the concepts would be handy in many ways.

11. I am not a Graduate. I have a good experience. Would obtaining a six-sigma green belt help me in my career?

Well, the answer is it depends. If you are asking, would it help to grow in the current organisation wherever you are working, possibilities are high if you make use of the learning from Green Belt and do solve some of the most complex problems and drive some high impact projects. It would be evident that you will be valued. Will the certification help in searching for a new job? The answer is yes, as you are better equipped than others in your own field but do not treat it as equivalent to a college degree.

Black Belt

01. How do I become six sigma black belt?

I assume that you are eligible for the Lean Six Sigma training & certification, different certification bodies have different criteria for eligibility itself. There exist differences in the certification procedure between the organisations, but the process is simple.

TUV SUD: Attend Black Belt training, complete Six Sigma certification exam, submit a Six Sigma project within eight months after completing the certification exam. Based on the final exam score and the project score TUV SUD will award you Black Belt certification

ASQ: Apply for Online exam directly, with an affidavit of completing a Six Sigma project, you will be awarded Black Belt certification on successful completion of the exam.

IASSC: Apply for the exam directly & you will be awarded Black Belt on successful completion of the certification exam.

02. Do you suggest Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification in the current times?

The answer is Yes and No

If you get certification for just to add to your resume and increase the length of your CV, it may not carry much value.

Another way round, if you learn the concepts well, and you can drive high impact projects along with usage of tools and techniques at your workplace and day to day life, Black Belt certificate would be a great value add for you.

03. I am Green Belt certified is it worth getting a black belt certification?

The answer is "It depends".

It is purely based on your career aspiration. If you have thought of your rest of your career using Six Sigma or you have a good opportunity to utilise the knowledge of Six Sigma Black Belt learning, then definitely Yes.

A question you should ask yourself is "were you able to make use of your Green Belt learnings? Did you ever felt; you wanted an additional knowledge while executing the project if the answer is Yes then I suggest you a Black Belt learning & certification.

Do not do your Six Sigma just for certification purpose; it may not be that helpful.

Remember a quote "Knowledge is not power, applied knowledge is power" It is essential to make use of the learnings rather than just getting certified

04. What is the difference between a Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt?

Well, Green Belt and Black Belts are different levels of Six Sigma. If you consider Green Belt as Graduation, Black Belt would be Post-Graduation. A word of caution neither Green Belt, not Black Belts are considered as Graduation/Post Graduation). In Six Sigma ideally, Green Belt professionals would learn the DMAIC methodology of Six Sigma, along with learning how to do drive projects at their respective workplace etc., Some of the complex Analysis will be handed over to Black Belt. Black Belt ideally should focus on in-depth of Analyze phase and also Design of Experiments, where the professional is now exposed to some of the deeper learning of various tests which are mostly too much for Green Belt levels.

In terms of work, Green Belt are mostly part of the process in which the Six Sigma project is driven, and they allocate 20–30% of the time, whereas Black Belt would allocate 80-100% of their time in either driving/Mentoring Six Sigma projects.

05. Is PMP certification is difficult than a Six-Sigma Black Belt?

I have been Six Sigma professionals from more than 16 years and having understood PMP to a great extent, let me answer the question.

The answer is It depends on who is taking the exam. A project manager with relevant experience in Managing the project might find PMP would be a lot easier, someone with relevant Quality, Process Excellence & statistical knowledge would find Six Sigma is easier.

But, if you teach both the Six Sigma and PMP to someone who does not have either of prior experience, then people would find Six Sigma Black Belt much difficult rather than PMP, because of the statistical concepts involved in Six Sigma. PMP is exhaustive need time to understand but not as tricky as Six Sigma.

Institute

01. Which is the best Institute for Six Sigma training ?

I may seem biased, but I am not wrong. I list down the criteria to choose an institute for you to learn Lean Six Sigma

  • 1. Trainer Experience:
    Irrespective of the big brands, what should matter to you is the trainer or faculty experience who will be teaching you. If you intend to go back to your workplace and make use of the learnings & grow in your industry, then learn from someone who has done what you intend to do. If the trainer does not carry enough experience in driving the projects, he would be extremely limited in helping you understand the concepts. He might teach you theory well, but he would fail to give some example to your respective industry. Six Sigma is all about Practical & it is essential you learn the art of driving many projects. Ask this question when you talk to the training institute, how many projects my faculty has driven. If someone who has been only training from a decade without corporate consulting assignment, may not be a good idea to learn as they have lost touch of what is happening in the industry from last ten years. Ask for LinkedIn profiles, go to their profile and find out have they done what you want to do in future. I suggest having a minimum of 50 projects as a baseline for someone to train you.
    At XergY each of our trainers has done a minimum of 150 projects, and we pick and choose our trainers such they can help you with the right examples across industries from Manufacturing to Information Technology.
  • 2. Certifying Agency:
    Get certified by someone credible enough in the international market likes of TUV SUD / ASQ / IASSC / KPMG / ISI
  • 3. Course Curriculum:
    Ask for details of the course curriculum what will be covered during the training. Make a comparison among the institutes and choose the one which is more exhaustive as Six Sigma is an exhaustive course and it is important to learn well as you do not want to repeat this learning again as you learnt in a hurry last time.
  • 4. Mode of learning & Minitab Practice:
    Would you be learning by hearing some of the theory classes or learn by simulations & hands-on practice with real-life examples from your industry, choose what works for your learning. Hands-on Minitab is a must before you walk out of the training room, if you have not operated (operated yourself) Minitab for a minimum of 6-8 hours in the class, you will find it extremely difficult to use it after you stepped out of the class.
  • 5. The number of participants:
    I am sure when you go for training, you need that individual attention, and your faculty must ensure you have learnt not just a few who had some prior experience and they were able to understand easily. You want your questions to be answered pertaining to your industry. I have been training for various institutes in Bengaluru for quite some time. I somehow found it difficult to handle more than 14 participants in a batch as I will not be able to focus on each individual and ensure they have learnt the right way especially when it comes to Minitab practices. It is not just essential to look at the P-value and make a decision, but we need to go beyond to make inferences. Even more, when they use their data set to practice some of the examples and make inferences.
  • 6. Support in your project:
    Six Sigma is beyond theory class. Your actual test will start when you start making use of the knowledge learnt at your wok places. Check with the institute first if you can start driving Six Sigma projects with the knowledge you gained during the training & the course material is good enough to go back read and drive the project and does the institute support you while you are on the field. If the institute says yes, ask how to do they support you, is it just on phone call or skype call or you can schedule a time and meet them right in your city
  • 7. Real-Life Project Experience:
    This is most critical, especially if you are a Black Belt, you must have that ability to drive Six Sigma project from scratch. A dummy project may be useful in just analysing the data and making a presentation which is too less to be called as Black Belt. Executing a project is the ability to start a project from zero and take it to successful closure with good financial benefit to the organisation. If you are Green Belt, check with the institute if it is ok for you to get along with Black Belts and get involved in the project.
    At XergY, we provide real-life Black Belt level Six Sigma project to our Black Belt participants. A group of 4-6 Black Belt would work independently on each of their projects, and they meet once a week on a pre-defined day to discuss and learn as a group, this way all 4-6 of them would get knowledge of how other projects are driven as well, and there is an exchange of knowledge.

Certification Bodies

01. Which certification of Six Sigma has more value, TUV SUD or IASSC?

The way to judge a certification from any organisation is by its history, credibility in the market and the certification process. I value both IASSC and TUV SUD but given a choice; I pick TUV SUD as in addition to their proven history, the track record of being a reputed organisation themselves the methodology they adopt to certify a Black Belt is stringent than IASSC.

One more area where TUV SUD score high is affordability, which is often misunderstood that higher the cost higher the value, but it is not true. With TUV SUD having an edge in other factors, it also has got an edge in affordability.

02. What should be the ideal saving by a Six Sigma Black Belt?

It depends on the project, but a good Lean Six Sigma Black Belt should deliver a saving of $0.5+ Mn/Annum (Tangible/Intangible)

03. What are careers available for lean six sigma black belts?

While there are many career opportunities for Six Sigma Black Belt professionals, the most popular ones are Six Sigma consultants or Process Excellence, Continuous Improvement Professionals. Other roles would be in the field of Quality or Process, Operational etc. Not necessary that you must be in Six Sigma roles only, you would have a great career irrespective of the field where you are in.

If you are extremely good in Six Sigma and has the ability to drive high impact projects likes millions of dollars saving, then the sky would the limit for you.

04. How important is it to have work experience before taking the Six Sigma Black Belt Training?

Irrespective of the certification body experience is a must before you take up the Black Belt training program and the exam. Without knowledge, you will find it difficult to understand and relate some of the concepts, especially like Hypothesis Testing Regression, Anova etc. Design of Experiment will be even hard. You must carry at least 4 Years of experience before you take up Black Belt certification.

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