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Six Sigma Black Belts – What should they know?

Six Sigma Black Belts are fourth in the chain of personnel that play a key role in six sigma implementation. Six Sigma Black Belts form the critical link between the Master Black Belts who are higher up the chain and the Green Belts, lower in the chain. Six Sigma Black Belts need to devote 100% of their time to the implementation, with their primary focus on execution. Six Sigma Black Belts dealing mainly with day to day activities rather than generalities of the program. The role of Six Sigma Black Belts as frontline executives of the program is critical to the success of the organization.

Although Six Sigma demands high value personnel, not all of them are equally trained or talented. While causes for this disparity often causes loss of time and resources, it is important to implement standardization on what they should know as Six Sigma Black Belts, because they are essential for the fulfillment of program objectives. Here are the fundamental things Six Sigma Black Belts are expected to know:

Comprehensive Knowledge Of DMAIC Processes:

A Six Sigma Black Belt is expected to know the five basic principles of Six Sigma methodology as described by DMAIC. A deeper understanding of these five principles, to the core, is essential as a first step. The acronym DMAIC stands for defining the process, measuring the current process baseline, analyzing causality factors, improving the process by optimization and finally controlling the process flow and transition to production.

Thorough Knowledge Of Processes:

A thorough understanding of the processes, acquired by having worked on them as a full- time employee, is essential. The Six Sigma Black Belt should have substantial knowledge with hands on experience as the basis for identifying problem areas. Technical skills and active involvement in day to day activities are also paramount.

Familiarity With Tools And Techniques:

The implementation of Six Sigma methodologies is made possible through the use of various tools and techniques of measurement that help the decision making process. Familiarity with technical statistical tools is a must for Six Sigma Black Belts for effective 6 sigma implementation. Although formal training in statistics and analysis is not essential, Six Sigma Black Belts are expected to pick up this subject with relative ease.

Ability To Formulate Projects & Plans:

A Six Sigma Black Belt should able to make business plans and execute them in order to make sure that defined goals are achieved. Along the way, Six Sigma Black Belts are responsible for measurement of progress and the ability to articulate them in meaningful terms. Six Sigma Black Belts are expected to control the course of 6 sigma implementation for maximum gains.

Knowledge Of Customer Base:

A Six Sigma Black Belt should be aware of the roles of each key person and be independently able to devise, test and conduct customer surveys. He/she should also know how to interpret and validate the results, identify differences, and report and incorporate the results of the survey.

Role of Six Sigma Black Belts

Six Sigma Black Belts play the role of change agent. Their role is a position of leadership. They must possess the sharpest business acumen, strong communication skills, customer advocacy knowledge, leadership qualities, technical aptitude and most of all, patience.

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