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Six Sigma Organizational Architecture


Six Sigma is a quality methodology that can produce highly significant benefits to businesses and organizations. However, not much text has been written about the structure that is needed to successfully implement Six Sigma quality within your business or organization. Here is the information you need on roles and responsibilities, as well as required rewards and recognition for a successful Six Sigma quality program.

Roles and Responsibilities of Six Sigma participants-

  • Quality Leader/Manager (QL/QM)-The quality leader's responsibility is to represent the needs of the customer and to improve the operational effectiveness throughout the organization. Keep in mind that the Quality function is typically separated from the manufacturing or transactional processing functions in order to maintain impartiality. The quality manager will sit on the CEO/President's staff, and has equal authority to all other direct reports.
  • Master Black Belt (MBB)-Master Black Belts will be typically assigned to a specific area or function of a business or organization. It can be a functional area such as human resources or legal, or process specific area such as billing or tube rolling. MBBs work with the owners of the process to help ensure that quality objectives and targets are set, plans are determined, progress is tracked, and education is provided. In the best Six Sigma organizations, process owners and MBBs will work very closely and share information daily.
  • Process Owner (PO)-Process owners are exactly as the name sounds they are the individuals who are responsible for a specific process. For example, in the legal department there is usually one person in charge (maybe the VP of Legal) that is the process owner.Or there may be a chief marketing officer for your business and that person is the process owner for marketing. You should keep in mind that depending on the size of your business and core activities, you may have process owners at lower levels of your organizational structure as well.

    If you are a credit card company with processes around billing, accounts receivable, audit, billing fraud, etc., you would not just have the process owner be the chief financial officer, you would definitely want to go much deeper into the organization where the work is being accomplished and you can make a big difference.

  • Black Belt (BB)-Black Belts are considered to be the heart and soul of the Six Sigma quality initiative. Their main purpose is to lead quality projects and work full time until those projects are complete. Black Belts should be able to typically complete four to six projects per year with savings of approximately $230,000 per project. Black Belts will also coach Green Belts on their projects, and while coaching may seem simple, it can require a significant amount of time and energy.
  • Green Belt (GB)-Green Belts are the employees who are trained in Six Sigma who spends a portion of their time completing projects, but maintain their regular work role and responsibilities. Depending on their workload, they may spend anywhere from 10% to 50% of their time on their project(s). As your Six Sigma quality program evolves, these employees will begin to include the Six Sigma methodology in their daily activities and it will no longer become a percentage of their time it will now be the way their work is accomplished 100% of the time.

Understanding the organizational structure within the Six Sigma process will enable you to effectively place employees in the most strategic positions to effectively carry out the Six Sigma processes. This will enable the greatest cost savings when utilizing Six Sigma and allow employees to receive the highest quality of training.

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