Lean and Six Sigma are two of the most valuable systems to streamline key business processes in the manufacturing industry. Though Lean and Six Sigma employ different methods, they both aim to reduce waste and improve a business’s efficiency. These systems accomplish these goals differently, with some companies using them both to take their businesses to the next level. Individuals with a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) certification are especially valuable in the manufacturing sector, as certified employees know to use both systems to best effect.
Here, we will discuss LSS certification in detail, along with the certification levels associated with this standardization system.
Difference Between Six Sigma and Lean
To understand how LSS works, it’s first important to know that Six Sigma and Lean are two different systems. People often confuse the two as both systems strive to achieve the same goal of streamlining production and processes. Adding to the confusion, many companies use them together to achieve the best results. Though they have their similarities, any company looking to take advantage of either should know how they differ.
The term “Six Sigma” refers to statistical quality control. Six Sigma improves on all business processes by eliminating waste and defects. Six Sigma ultimately uses data to produce products and results that are as perfect as possible since defective items lead to waste. While the concept was initially designed for manufacturing, companies found it can apply to every part of their operations, such as attempting to reach near-perfect results for deliveries and customer support.
While Six Sigma focuses on eliminating defects and waste to produce near-flawless products, Lean emphasizes cutting wasteful and unnecessary steps during a product’s creation. In this system, a company attempts to reduce steps to only those adding value to the product. Lean methodology examines whether a step provides something to the product that a customer would pay for, and this determines what adds value. Any steps a customer wouldn’t pay for are removed to ensure your production processes are profitable and efficient.
What Is Lean Certification?
Lean certification validates a person’s experience and knowledge of Lean principles. Additionally, Lean certification is respected as a professional credential globally and across industries. You can reach various Lean certification levels to display your competency. Since many leading manufacturing organizations synthesize Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing practices to receive the benefits of each system, people may want to earn a certification displaying their competency in both of them.
LSS certification indicates that a person has been trained in both Six Sigma and Lean protocols through an organization that offers certification, such as universities, companies and professional associations. While there is no standard for earning certification, certification courses require that individuals have practical experience and attend training courses.
Why Is LSS Certification Important?
Six Sigma and Lean certifications are valuable in their own rights — individuals certified in these strategies can assist companies in implementing these methods throughout their organizations. However, individuals certified in both protocols through LSS certification can maximize the benefits. A LSS certification helps individuals know how to take advantage of both systems to improve their organization’s efficiency and reduce waste.
LSS Certification Levels
To the average onlooker, LSS certifications sound like martial arts levels. This is because the levels are based on those of the Judo martial arts system. These levels indicate the degree of experience certified individuals have and the roles they are qualified to handle in completing and managing LSS projects.
If you’re interested in earning an LSS certification, take a moment to review what each level qualifies you for:
A Champion is the highest level of LSS certification and is given to those with extensive experience and leadership in LSS strategy and deployment. Champion-level individuals lead LSS projects in a management role, ensuring all initiatives meet company needs and objectives. They will often work with Master Black Belts to guide projects forward and mentor and track lower-level individuals in their implementation of LSS principles.
2. Master Black Belt
Master Black Belts are a step below Champions. While the Black Belt level requires that an individual has mastered LSS principles, Master Black Belts augment this with experience in leadership and problem-solving. Master Black Belts will take a leadership role on projects, adopting a broad view of LSS strategy to ensure the principles are implemented in a way that aligns with a company’s structure and goals. On top of this, Master Black Belts also act as coaches for lower-level individuals.
3. Black Belt
Black Belt certification is the highest official level of certification in Lean Six Sigma. Professionals with Black Belt certification are masters of LSS strategies, having taken years of coursework on top of on-the-job experience. Black Belts are defined by their knowledge and fluency in LSS principles and their ability to analyze, plan, lead and scale projects to organizational needs.
Black Belt-level courses will often require professionals to demonstrate their knowledge and gain experience by conducting a project as part of their program. They’ll use implementation strategies and statistical analysis to apply LSS principles.
In terms of roles, Black Belts tend to be more hands-on in project implementation than Champions and Master Black Belts. While Black Belts work directly on the project at hand and supervise Green Belts and Yellow Belts, Master Black Belts and Champions focus on management, integration and identification of new projects.
4. Green Belt
A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt is the second official certification level for LSS professionals. This certification level requires professionals to attend a full course covering the Six Sigma methods and Lean concepts, plus tutorials on their practical applications. In their courses, Green Belt students learn to apply problem-solving frameworks and initiate and analyze statistical models, among other essential concepts.
Once the program is finished, Green Belt certification holders are ready to take on projects in real-world applications. Once they are certified, Green Belts will do hands-on tasks in project implementation, operating under the guidance of a Black Belt.
5. Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt certification is the foundational level of LSS certification. These individuals complete a day or two of training to gather the basics of LSS knowledge, including Six Sigma terms and applications, certification level roles and overviews of problem-solving models. Yellow Belt training also establishes an understanding of Root Cause Problem Solving and how appropriate data-gathering can minimize process variation. Once a professional has completed Yellow Belt training, they can work on projects as fully contributing team members operating under the guidance of higher-level certificate holders.
6. White Belt
Professionals interested in pursuing Lean Six Sigma training but who have not undergone formal certification are considered White Belts. White Belts are usually initiated with a short session that provides an overview of LSS methods and vocabulary and how the principles of LSS result in greater efficiency and reliability. From there, White Belts can have limited participation in projects and tasks under the supervision of higher-level certificate holders.
Is LSS Right for You?
LSS certification is a valuable training system for individuals in project management roles. Certification in LSS principles gives manufacturing professionals the knowledge and tools they need to accomplish the following:
- Maximize productivity
- Increase throughput
- Improve quality
- Reduce damage control incidents
- Promote Lean operation
If you’re working in project management or have a project management team that is interested in implementing valuable leadership tools to achieve these goals, pursuing LSS certification is a great way to go.
MANTEC Lean Certification
In today’s manufacturing industry, process improvement requires constant work and attention. Project managers must consistently evaluate, adapt and innovate processes and procedures to keep businesses competitive. LSS principles can help, providing a solid framework of evaluation and implementation that manufacturing companies can utilize to get ahead. By training project managers in LSS and gaining advanced certification levels, businesses can bring LSS to their organizations. If you’re looking for LSS certification programs that offer an excellent return on investment, MANTEC can help.
MANTEC offers a range of LSS certification programs designed to help trainees learn LSS concepts and how to apply them in real-world applications. Backed by experienced professionals with extensive knowledge of regional, national, and global manufacturing practices, MANTEC offers some of the best training programs in the manufacturing industry. Our training courses include:
- Six Sigma Yellow Belt
- Six Sigma Green Belt
- Six Sigma Black Belt
- A3 Problem Solving
- Lean Six Sigma Foundations
- Lean Certification
Each of the Six Sigma Yellow, Green and Black Belt training programs help trainees become proficient in Six Sigma. Additionally, our A3 Problem Solving course goes over A3 methodology to teach employees how to address manufacturing challenges, communicate solutions and monitor results. Foundations of Lean Six Sigma teaches the fundamentals of LSS. All of our MANTEC training programs are tailored for maximum efficacy while also keeping certification costs to affordable levels.
Contact MANTEC today to see our list of course schedules and begin a relevant certification process.