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How do I implement six sigma?


The goal of six sigma is to obtain 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Companies that implement it are trying to get as close to perfection as possible. There are several people involved in implementing six sigma. Six sigma has adopted the "belt system" of Karate to name the leaders and the different levels of the process.

The executive leaders will be your Black Belts. These individuals are in charge of the entire process and they will spend 100 percent of their time on the program. Depending upon how large your company is, you could have 1 Black Belt or you may have several. The Black Belts are in charge of defining the different projects as well as determining what the output should be.

The next level of leaders will be your Green Belts. They are normally your managers over different departments. They will devote half of their time to the six sigma process. They will be in charge of following through with the projects that have been designed by the Black Belts.

The final level of leaders is called the Yellow Belts
. These individuals have been trained in the six sigma methodology but they are not in charge of any projects. Their job is simply to assist the other belts and stand ready to help implement the program.

Every company has its own standards of how to implement six sigma. No matter what type of company you run, you need to spend a great deal of time and money on proper training. Each person at your company must be committed to the program as it is considered a "cultural change".

The companies that implement six sigma normally have a goal in mind.
You may notice that you are starting to lose too many customers or that your cash flow is starting to have problems. Whatever the reason may be, six sigma will find a way to help. Even if your company is not experiencing problems, six sigma may still be able to find a way to improve your company.

The six sigma methodology is a problem-solving method that focuses on understanding the problem, collecting and analyzing data, and identifying what the root causes of the problems are and finding ways to implement solutions.

The leader (Champion) of the six sigma process will be responsible for the strategic, tactical and management decisions
. If you cannot pick one leader, then you need to implement a leadership team. Your leadership team will establish the rules for how your six sigma process will operate. Communication is essential to keep everyone involved and properly informed in your six sigma program.

Six sigma training can be outsourced and will include classes, schedules, participants, costs, and the tools you need to successfully implement six sigma. Each level in six sigma will have different training requirements. The Champions (sponsors), Green Belts and Black Belts will each be taught a different aspect to Six Sigma and each group needs to have open communication and stay totally committed.

The Champion training will be a one-day event and will include all the technical aspects of six sigma such as how to start and lead a six sigma initiative and how to ensure the availability of resources, identifying the roadblocks and key issues that are slowing your manufacturing process.

The Green Belts and Black Belts in your six sigma process will also go to a training to be considered six sigma certified. The Black Belts should be some of the best minds at your manufacturing organization and can accomplish tasks in a relatively short period of time.

During the training for Black Belts, they will need to demonstrate their capability to succeed and complete different projects in order to be Black Belt certified.

The training for your Black Belts typically last for 4 weeks in a classroom that is spread over a period of 3-4 months. The reason for the extensive training is to ensure the concepts and tools are taught and can be properly applied to actual problems.

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