Why Is Lean Six Sigma So Important?

Business process improvement methodologies have been around for many decades and some of these survive the test of time while others don’t. Deming’s Plan Do Study Act will be around for eternity as will the ideas behind the Toyota Production System (Lean). Total Quality Management was one of the highlights of 20th Century business process improvement but sadly fell out of fashion, not because it was flawed, but because senior management teams didn’t readily engage. One of the reasons for this is that management couldn’t directly see the link between process performance and the bottom line.

Six Sigma and Lean have managed to continue to influence and deliver huge benefits for the organisations that apply them and in New Zealand, there is a growing Lean Six Sigma community edging towards higher performance in services, government, healthcare and business.

The reason that these methodologies, combined as Lean Six Sigma, continue to be successful is that they both focus on business performance metrics, i.e. the bottom line, and they are grounded in long-established best practices.

Why should I attend a Lean Six Sigma training course?

In many organisations, there is an expectation that employees have some awareness or even expertise in Lean and Six Sigma thinking. This is often customer-driven or because an organisation want to compete more effectively. Attending a Lean Six Sigma training course, and becoming certified, provides employers with the confidence that an acceptable level of competence has been achieved. Depending on whether you need to have an overview as a senior manager or you need to mentor other people in your organisation there is a ‘belt’ that fits.

Applying Lean Six Sigma will enable you to:

  • Improve productivity
  • Compete effectively
  • Create a safe working environment
  • Increase customer and stakeholder satisfaction
  • Engage with your staff and colleagues
  • Reduce waste
  • Operate quicker and smarter
  • Improve the bottom line

What is the difference between the Lean Six Sigma Belts?

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt

This is a start point for many people wanting to know how these great methodologies are applied. The Yellow Belt has enough detail to get started on improving things straight away and attendees gain a good insight into what makes an improvement effort successful. This course has been attended by all levels and industry types from shop-floor to board room and from primary healthcare to bakeries.

During the training, you will learn how to identify waste and make value flow whilst reducing error and variation in your processes. Managers will understand what needs to be done to implement Lean Six Sigma and employees will learn how to participate in improvement teams.

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

Green Belt is the most popular of all the Lean Six Sigma courses because it provides the depth of knowledge to manage and implement change on a significant scale. Using competencies taken from change management, process management, data analysis and process design, attendees will be able to lead process improvement and manage change in their organisations with measurable results. This is an excellent option for people wanting to take a lead role in business process improvement or those looking for career enhancement with this sought-after level of certification.

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

Beyond the project leadership and process improvement knowledge gained at Green Belt, the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course takes the learning up to the point where the knowledge gained allows attendees to mentor Green Belts and deliver strategic level business transformation. This is not an easy option and requires that attendees are already verified Green Belts, certified through recognised organisations such as the ASQ, IASSC and the NZOQ. Having met that entry requirement, attendees must have good maths skills as the course makes extensive use of statistical concepts.

Black Belts are typically management level (or aspiring towards) and process improvement specialists with the skills required to lead change programmes. The change management and strategic skills elements of the Black Belt course are equally as important as the statistics, so a large part of the course is designed to standardise knowledge in these areas. Black Belts are neither ‘nerds’ nor generalists, they are a special type of person that can understand people and maths at the same time.

Looking To Become Lean Six Sigma Certified? Contact Thornley Group today!

The team at Thornley Group have decades of experience training people in the ways of Lean Six Sigma and creating a more productive work environment. Contact us today to discuss what options may be available to you.

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