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Applying Kaizen Principles to Six Sigma Implementation Projects

Even though the implementation techniques and tools put into practice by Black Belts could differ, Kaizen is by far the basic methodology used for such purposes. Additionally, it has been observed that principles of Lean Six Sigma are time and again merged with Kaizen concepts for providing faster and much better results.

Kaizen Basics

Six Sigma and Kaizen are said to be alike as they both are based on the principle that every organization is composed of a series of business processes, which have to be changed occasionally to accomplish better quality and efficiency.

The following are some basic Kaizen procedures Black Belts put into practice for identifying problem areas and looking for operational results.

Identifying Key Problem Areas

During this procedure, the Black Belt and their team members focus their strengths on recording the various features of the business process for making the identification process considerably faster and easier. After the various elements of the given process are recorded, it turns out to be very easy for the implementation team to identify problem areas and advise corrective measures to solve them.

Mapping of the process is useful in recording the aspects of a complex business process that has many sub-processes or sub-parts.

Getting the Timing Right

Analysis of the time value is conducted whenever the efficiency of a particular business process relies on the time spent for completing various sub-processes within the main one. This helps the Black Belts in weighing the actual time taken for the process against the standards that have been set. When the less efficient sub-process is identified, the Black Belts use the previous process maps for identifying the problem areas causing the slowdown, contained by the sub-process.

Focusing On Key Processes

There are instances where, due to limited time, it is impossible to evaluate every business process. In times like these, Black Belts employ value stream mapping for recognizing processes that offer maximum value and the ones that offer minimum value. Value stream mapping is very helpful whenever there is some improvement in quality that has to be carried out in a diminutive time for making it easier for Black Belts to focus their quality improvement programs only on maximum value providing processes.

This procedure is usually used in organizations where the real number of low value processes is considerably larger than the high value processes. This procedure may not be necessary in organizations with fewer processes or in organizations with high value processes.

Every Kaizen procedure illustrated above can be independently or simultaneously used on the basis of the type of business process in question. The Black Belts can always put their innovative skills and experience to use in conjunction with the given procedures to easy identify and solve critical issues with regard to Six Sigma implementation projects.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution’s Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

Applying For – And Getting – That Six Sigma Job

There is a growing demand for people with Six Sigma certification and expertise as companies realize the many ways in which the Six Sigma methodology can help their organizations grow and improve. Six Sigma has grown beyond its manufacturing origins with many government agencies and service providers now advertising for Six Sigma help. More importantly, even small companies are taking on Six Sigma consultants or full-time staff, which implies that the demand for Six Sigma professionals will only increase in the coming years.

Six Sigma Job Categories

There are many junior- and senior-level Six Sigma openings across a wide range of industries. The positions and job descriptions are oftentimes unique to the company and its requirements. Admittedly, many of these positions are filled internally, as companies train their own people in the Six Sigma methodology so that people already familiar with the corporate culture are provided with the needed skill sets. On the other hand, these same organizations often reach outside for help, seeking out experienced people to either lead, or implement full-scale Six Sigma projects throughout the company.

Six Sigma Job Openings

Many companies openly advertise job opportunities that are clearly Six Sigma based (e.g., Six Sigma Analyst or Six Sigma Black Belt). Others, however, advertise openings for positions that are not obviously Six Sigma openings such as Functional Project Lead, Director of Operational Excellence, Business Project Manager, or Senior Projects Manager.

Job openings such as these are usually for people with Six Sigma Black Belt capabilities – someone trained in the Six Sigma methodology with experience in leading cross-functional process improvement teams. These people are tapped to lead individual Six Sigma teams.

Companies sometimes advertise for Six Sigma Master Black Belts to fill organization-wide Six Sigma program manager positions, in effect taking over very senior positions within the organization. The successful applicants will be tasked to lead the company’s Six Sigma implementation, oversee Black Belts and process improvement projects, and guide the Black Belts as needed. These positions will require the highest level of Six Sigma experience and qualifications.

Meeting Six Sigma Job Criteria

The primary requirement for a Six Sigma job is, of course, to be trained in the Six Sigma methodology, ideally as a Six Sigma Black Belt. This requires formal training from qualified Six Sigma consultants who have long experience in training and implementation of Six Sigma. Often, a request is made for those with a specific background such as in Six Sigma DMAIC or DFSS methodology.

Companies recognize experience as being the best teacher, however, so many establishments express strong preference (if not outright demand) for people with hands-on experience in completing at least one Six Sigma project.

Aside from Six Sigma training and project experience, companies have a preference for those with background experience (usually at least five years) in their particular industry or business. Management experience is another plus factor and this is usually a requirement by companies looking for a Six Sigma project team leader. Managing projects within structured environments, and proven management skills (as indicated by successful project implementation) will be a definite advantage in your favor, because companies in the initial stages of Six Sigma application will be looking for people who will lead and facilitate business teams as well as Black Belts and Green Belts through the process.

Other requirements

If you are applying for a Six Sigma position, you need to show that you have an excellent understanding of processes and quality methodologies as well as a willingness to grab the initiative and take the lead in making changes.

Another vital skill will be the ability to link strategy to execution. You need to show that you are able to look beyond surface issues and concerns: consider strategic business issues from a detached, clinical perspective, and use this as a springboard for developing and implementing creative and practical solutions to problems identified.

Steven French is a recruitment consultant to http://www.UteachRecruitment.com – the specialist UK teaching jobs recruitment agency. Visit Uteach Recruitment to find your perfect UK teaching job today.