While a company does not have to have anyone certified in Lean manufacturing (Six Sigma) to implement Lean manufacturing strategies, it will certainly help. Those who become certified will learn the processes so that they can be implemented successfully. In addition, the certification process requires the individual to gain real, hands on experience with Lean strategies, which can be invaluable to the company looking to have it implemented.
Six Sigma Belts
The Lean manufacturing certifications come from the Six Sigma processes. There are several ‘levels’ of certification that one can attain, which focused on individuals who have different roles. The following is a brief introduction to the Six Sigma certification belt levels:
- Yellow Belt – Yellow belts receive a basic introductory level training on processes and common jargon used in Six Sigma. Those with this level of certification will spend most of their days carrying out day to day tasks related to Six Sigma projects.
- Green Belt – In order to attain a Six Sigma green belt, one must work in full-time employment on projects related to process improvement for at least three years. They will need to complete in-depth training that provides them with both practical and theoretical experience. There is also an exam that must be passed.
- Black Belt – Those who want to attain a black belt must first get the green belt, and then complete at least two Six Sigma projects with signed affidavits. They must also pass a rigorous 150 question test and work with another black belt or master black belt as a mentor.
- Master Black Belt – This is the highest level of certification and it can take many years to attain a master black belt. Those at this level typically work at major companies and spend much of their time mentoring black belts and running large scale projects.
Those who attain black belts and master black belts will not only be an invaluable resource to the companies for which they work, but also to others seeking these certifications. One of the largest responsibilities that high-level certification holders have is to work as a mentor to others interested in Lean manufacturing certifications.
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