Who can do Six Sigma?

There aren’t technically any legal requirements to practice Six Sigma. Six Sigma isn’t like medicine, counseling, or private investigation; there’s no license required or permit to request to become a Six-Sigma facility.

Still, to implement and sustain Six Sigma successfully, you’ll want a Six Sigma expert to lead the charge.

Six Sigma requires a significant education on the foundational methods of Lean and a strong understanding of QA and Quality management tools, practices, and principles in order to utilize Six Sigma effectively. One needs to understand how Kaizen, a foundational Lean concept, works, and how it inspired the principles of Six Sigma. One also needs to know how Value Stream Mapping, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), CTQ tree, 5 Whys, Axiomatic design, and Process Mapping correlates to quality control, and how to use the data produced by these tools to apply Six Sigma. This process requires a lot of information and application.

Bill Smith, one of the pioneers of Six Sigma, understood the importance of this. Smith helped found Motorola University and Six-Sigma Institute—places dedicated to teaching Six Sigma and giving people opportunities to apply Six Sigma to professional settings. Part of the emphasis on education gave way to the belt certification program, which has various levels that denote expertise: white, yellow, green, black, and master black.

For companies that want to get started with Six Sigma, it might be helpful to take the following steps:

Hire a Six-Sigma certified consultant to discuss implementation in your facility.

Hire or promote someone from within to be in charge of Six Sigma in your facility. It’s important to note that many project managers are familiar with Six Sigma, and may even hold Six Sigma certifications.

Make training and education on Six Sigma a priority for all employees. In order for Six Sigma to be successful, there needs to be company-wide cooperation. The more workers know about Six Sigma, the more likely it is for implementation to stick.


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