Six Sigma is a business management strategy that involves implementing quality achievement metrics throughout an organization in an attempt to improve profitability and customer satisfaction by eliminating as many quality deficiencies as possible. Six Sigma project teams may include members with different levels of Six Sigma certification, which borrows terminology from martial arts belt classifications, including green belts and black belts.
Green Belt Responsibilities
Six Sigma Green Belts are involved with analyzing and solving quality problems. They may participate in quality-improvement projects. They must possess a demonstrated knowledge of Six Sigma processes and tools and have the ability to lead Green Belt teams and Green Belt projects. They work under the direct supervision of a Six Sigma Black Belt where they may assist with the collection and analysis of data for Black Belt projects, according to the American Society for Quality.
Green Belt Requirements
Six Sigma Green Belt certification requirements vary from certifying organization to organization. Candidates for Six Sigma Green Belt certification through the American Society for Quality must have at least three years’ experience related to at least one of the Six Sigma Green Belt Body of Knowledge areas. Candidates must sit for and pass the four-hour, 100-question, Six Sigma Green Belt Certification examination.
Black Belt Responsibilities
Six Sigma Black Belts are well versed in Six Sigma methodologies and are qualified to serve as agents of change with in an organization. Whereas Six Sigma Green Belts are sometimes referred to as the worker bees of the organization, Six Sigma Black Belts are leaders. Black Belts must understand team dynamics. They are responsible for assigning roles and responsibilities to team members. They direct and supervise the activities of Green Belts. They are responsible for communicating and implementing changes within the organization that are designed to eliminate deviations from quality standards and improve overall quality and profitability.
Black Belt Requirements
A candidate does not have to possess Six Sigma Green Belt certification to earn Six Sigma Black Belt certification. The American Society for Quality requires Black Belt candidates to have at least three years relevant experience in at least one of the Six Sigma Body of Knowledge areas and have completed one Six Sigma Black Belt project using appropriate tools within Six Sigma parameters to produce a quantifiable financial benefit to a company or business. The three-year requirement may be waived if the candidate completes at least two such projects. Black Belt candidates must demonstrate an understanding of Six Sigma philosophies, principles, related systems and tools. The American Society for Quality Black Belt examination is a four-hour, 150-question, open-book exam. Other certifying organizations, such as Lean Training and Consulting and Millennium Global Business Solutions, may have different requirements.