Six Sigma certifications: How are they beneficial?

French project manager Gullaume Charvet presents the brain-controlled exoskeleton that allowed a disabled patient to walk again at the biomedical research center Clinatec in Grenoble on October 7, 2019.

By U2B Staff 

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Six Sigma certifications are popular among companies as big as Amazon, 3M, Boeing, Ford and GE, but they offer benefits to organisations of all levels.

Jennifer Bridges, PMP, Founder of PDUs2Go, has developed courses for project managers on the go to earn various high-level certifications. In a YouTube video, she also shares the benefits of Six Sigma certifications for project managers.

She said, “Companies invest in Six Sigma certification because it offers a designed set of tools and techniques that help improve the processes within an organization.

“The primary goal of certification is to validate individuals who possess the skills needed to identify errors in a process and eliminate them. If big, successful companies can profit from Six Sigma, so can you.”

If you’re in project management and looking to upskill with a Six Sigma certification, you will be able to build upon your existing knowledge of analysing and solving quality problems.

According to BusinessNewsDaily, “Six Sigma is a quality management approach that seeks to minimize or eliminate defects or errors in products and business services. Originally developed to improve manufacturing processes, the tools and techniques used in Six Sigma are now considered industry-agnostic, which means they have been successfully used in such sectors as aeronautics, electronics, pharmaceuticals, retail and more.”

Six Sigma techniques involve gathering and analysing data through a statistical approach. The result for an organisation includes improving various aspects of an organisation such as improved customer service and shorter cycle times.

Other benefits for an organisation when project managers have a Six Sigma certification under their belt include reducing operational costs, as the methodology provides a road map that reduces a company’s risk exposure, plus making it more efficient and effective at delivering a particular product or service.

Taking it a step further is LEAN Six Sigma –  a combination of management methods buidiling on the principles of Six Sigma with a focus on efficiency. According to Purdue.Edu, “Both approaches aim to achieve the same thing: more effective processes that yield a bigger bottom line. The difference comes in the way they go about reaching that goal.”

Nilesh Bhanushali, a certified LEAN Six Sigma Master Black Belt certified and independent LEAN Six Sigma Trainer & Consultant, wrote, “An example of a project on cost-reduction would be associated with decreasing process cycle time, turnaround time, or LEAD time.

“LEAD time means the waiting time or the delay between initiation and execution of a task. The end result will be a standardised process with fewer touchpoints, hand-offs, non-value-adding activities, rework, and failures. All of which will reduce the cost for the company in terms of hard or soft savings.”


Choosing a Six Sigma certification

Six Sigma certifications are available from different certification bodies such as American Society for Quality (ASQ) and Chartered Quality Institute (CQI), so you’ll need to do some research into the different programmes on offer.

There are different levels of Six Sigma certification levels, starting from Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, and Master Black Belt.

These levels are for project managers at different stages in their career, and each belt is not necessarily meant to be a pre-requisite for the next belt.

The Yellow Belt is an entry-level certification for project managers to learn problem-solving frameworks such as DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control, while the Green Belt requires at least three years’ experience in project management so they can apply these skills and execute projects.

The Black Belt and Master Black Belt are more advanced courses for professionals to gain more hands-on experience by strategising, conducting and implementing projects for their employers.

With the growth of online learning platforms, there are a number of ways for employees to upskill with an online Six Sigma certification course, such as the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Training by Simpilearn, and other similar online courses on Coursera and EdX.

It takes approximately three to five weeks to complete each Six Sigma Certification Belt, as students can work according to their own pace.