Where to Start | Which Certification is Best | Failure Modes | The Foundation of Success

team learning lean six sigma

Building a Lean Six Sigma Program is challenging but worth the effort. The end goal is to create a culture of Continuous Improvement where each member of your team is finding waste and solving problems to help your business processes evolve and improve. Unfortunately, many companies fail to realize these benefits when they begin their Lean Six Sigma journey. That is where we come in!

Where Do We Start?

A functioning Lean Six Sigma Program consists of several systems that need to work together. Here are a few of the key systems you will need to get started:

Step 1: Contact us for a free consultation. We will discuss your training needs as well as your current management systems. Next we will develop a roadmap based on our experience and your exact needs so you can move forward with confidence that your Lean Six Sigma Program will be a success.

Which Certification is Best for my Team and our Lean Six Sigma Program?

nurse green belt graduate from lean six sigma toolbox

There are 4 certifications applicable to most Lean Six Sigma Programs.

Kaizen for Leadership Certification

This 2-day or online course is essential for leadership to understand their responsibilities in creating a culture of Continuous Improvement. It covers key enabling systems and trains students in Lean Leadership. The biggest mistake companies make is not training their leaders!

Yellow Belt Certification

Yellow Belt is a 1-day or online introductory course perfect for all team members. It helps everyone speak the same language and be on the same page. Students learn to identify waste, variation, and overburdening in their processes, then how to work together as a team to solve problems.

Common Lean Six Sigma belt certification levels

Green Belt Certification

Green Belt Certification is a 5-day or online course for high-potential employees, team leads, supervisors, managers, engineers, and leaders. This is the most valuable certification because students are required to complete at least one process improvement project where they apply the tools and principles learned in the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training. These projects often yield $20k to $100k in savings! Green Belt provides an immediate ROI for the company.

Black Belt Certification

Black Belt Certification is a deep dive into statistical process control and advanced problem-solving techniques including DOE, design of experiments. This course is useful for quality, industrial, and manufacturing engineers or those tasked with solving complex problems requiring statistics within an organization. Black Belt requires 70+ hours of training, the completion of at least 2 projects, and passing the exam. For this reason, very few employees will need this certification.

Other Certifications

You may have heard of other certifications such as White Belt, typically a very short overview of Lean Six Sigma, and Master Black Belt, a certification that adds many aspects of an MBA to basic Lean and Six Sigma concepts with the expectation that the student will be the primary trainer and leader of all Continuous Improvement efforts within an organization. These certifications are not necessary in most cases.

Failure Modes

What are the top 5 reasons Lean Six Sigma Programs fail?

  • Just Training without implementing the corresponding systems (see above).
    “We just want to send everyone through Green Belt.”
  • Not training leadership (only training hourly employees and supervisors).
    “We’re the leaders. We already know this stuff.”
  • Lack of a formal Continuous Improvement System.
    “Wait, you expect us to have a morning huddle and talk about process improvement?”
  • Not aligning process improvement efforts to strategic goals.
    “We don’t have time to finish our Green Belt project. We’re working on this other problem.”
  • Poor Leadership
    “We used to do Continuous Improvement but then it just kind of went away.”

The Foundation of a Successful Lean Six Sigma Program

House of Lean from Lean Six Sigma Toolbox

So how do you avoid these failure modes? What are the key ingredients to having a Lean Six Sigma program that works but one that lasts for years to come? The answer may surprise you. Take a look at the House of Lean. The foundation that leads to long-term success is Respect! Respect for your people, your suppliers, and your customers.

You cannot build a culture of Continuous Improvement without respect for people.

– Toyota Plant Manager, Canada

Are you ready to build the foundation of Continuous Improvement and see the results that come from a fully functioning Lean Six Sigma Program? Let’s get started!