If military officers are recognized by their ranks, in Six Sigma, certified individuals are recognized by their belts. There are usually four belt levels: the Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, and the Master Black Belt.
Any individual who wishes to acquire knowledge in Six Sigma can undergo training. The very basic Six Sigma training usually lasts for one to two weeks. After completing the training and passing the requirements the individual will be a certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt. Trainings can be taken either through online courses; some companies hire Master Black Belts to teach their elected employees the fundamentals and ways of Six Sigma. Interested individuals may also attend the workshops conducted business groups and certified Master Black Belts but these trainings are a bit pricey.
The Yellow Belt training generally covers the basic tools used in Six Sigma. Since most of the tools used in Six Sigma are Excel based, it will be to the individual’s advantage if he or she has a thorough knowledge in Excel. Some basic tools discussed during the Yellow Belt training are the Cause and Effect Matrix (C&E Matrix), the SIPOC Diagram (Supplier, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customer), Pareto Chart, FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis), various types of Process Mapping, Basic Quality Tools in creating graphs and charts, the 3×3 Scorecard, Histogram, and other Basic Statistics.
The Yellow Belt exercise offers an introduction to course management, providing employees a clearer perception of the methodologies, allowing each individual to give meaningful support in accomplishing the organization’s general purpose. The Yellow Belt certification course also develops the efficiency and effectiveness of workforce in their support position of Six Sigma.
Yellow Belts usually act as team members and not as team or project leaders. Due to limited knowledge and experience in the Six Sigma, their tasks are also limited to gathering data, participating in brainstorming exercises, and also involved in problem-solving activities. The skills of Yellow Belts are used to monitor, determine, and manage the action plan initiated by the team. And since Black Belts work on bigger projects, their presence is vital in terms of providing necessary information for project heads to analyze and process.
Most Yellow Belts are taken from the program or company that they represent. He or she acts as the SME (subject matter expert) on an assignment or assignments. It will also be advantageous for organizations to get certified individuals from other groups. The downside is this will cost extra, but the important thing is that these individuals are unbiased and will provide objectivity when it comes to method improvements and possible resolution to problems.
Yellow Belts are sometimes tasked to handle small process development projects using the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) technique or also known as the Deeming Wheel. This process allows Yellow Belts to determine processes that may possibly benefit from development. These minor Yellow Belt assignments are sometimes turned over to the Black Belt level where the DMAIC process is utilized to make the most of cost savings by means of the Statistical Process Control.
The impact of being a Six Sigma graduate is not just on an individual’s career but also on his or her life. Its methodologies can be used even in our everyday activities.