Scores of organizations use this invaluable business program across the world. It helps them manage their work better, make enormous and quicker profits, and reduce errors drastically.
But understanding the Six Sigma belts can be challenging, especially if you are new to the program. If you are unable to decide which level to pick, this guide can help you make an informed decision.
Beginning from the lowest to the highest, here’s a quick look at what these belt levels are and the importance they hold.
Akin to a stepping stone into the Sigma world, the white belt of the program is ideal for beginners. At this level, amateur professionals will learn the details of the program’s methodology, how it works, what inputs it requires from their end, etc. They will also learn the technical jargon of this program in addition to the basics. People who enroll in this program can vary from corporate heads to frontline workers.
Generally, White Belts join their company’s problem-solving departments. They also help instill the program’s culture into the workplace, preparing other employees for taking up the level themselves.
Level yellow is where people who have already passed through level white come for more in-depth training. Trainees are taught to work with a project manager and learn how to become fully contributing teammates. They assist in creating process maps and give essential contributions to data gathering tasks, and are often allowed to lead limited-scope projects and assist higher-belt managers. Almost all companies invest in their top employees mastering the white and yellow levels for a smooth operation.
At the very heart of this incredible program, the green belt level is where all the action lies. Most of the tasks performed by Sigma-trained staff happen at this level. It is a crucial business strategy designed to assist individuals in key roles such as project management, financial planning, and healthcare administration, among others. It trains them to use tools like Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, and Control Chart.
Green belt training is typically suitable for people with strong analytical skills, working in quality control or other mid-to-upper management levels. It is a critical stepping stone to greater responsibility.
You need a Black Belt to manage teams made up of white, yellow, and green belts employees. A candidate must obtain a green belt before pursuing this belt because it requires a certain level of expertise. Black Belts practice the program on a full-time basis, and they must possess a mastery of statistical analysis methods and process improvement techniques. Since they are leaders responsible for mentoring various project management teams, they are expected to have exceptional people skills and communication prowess.
People who have mastered this level of training perform consistently, use their time effectively, and are excellent decision-makers. They are demanding taskmasters who ensure all the teams they manage complete the assigned tasks on time.
Six Sigma master black belt is for employees who have successfully passed all the previous levels. Their responsibilities are higher and more numerous than the other levels, enabling them to manage extensive teams and diverse projects. They typically lead Green and Black Belts teams and are tasked with the official responsibility to communicate with senior executives and other higher authorities.
Most of the time, employees who have passed this level do not work full-time on any one project or team. Instead, they are assigned the role of an internal consultant wherein they oversee various groups and assist them in overcoming different types of challenges.
Although not a belt or level per se, a Champion is often a top-level manager aided by a Master Black Belt. The role of these individuals is to mentor and guide teams in the company comprising employees of various other belt levels. They assist in projects, answer critical questions about the program, and track the progress of those working under their supervision. Organizations with a Champion or two will invariably outperform their competitors.