What is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt?
A lean six sigma black belt is the most important member of a lean six sigma team. He acts as the leader of the entire lean six sigma team. He has a special role to play in the quality control aspects of lean six sigma as he is supposed to possess intimate domain knowledge of his employer company’s business processes. Thus, all the lean six sigma team members and even personnel outside the lean six sigma team turn to him for definitive solutions to problems in the operation chain. Thus he is a figure of authority for all the personnel involved in business processes and especially quality control. By getting a six sigma black belt certification online one can learn how to become such a figure.
Often, he has to serve as a guide, a coach, and a mentor to the other team members of the lean six sigma team. He has to interact with front-line workers as well as with top-level management executives. He must have extremely versatile and high-quality communication skills since he has to play the role of trainer, coach, and mentor to employees at all levels of a company’s hierarchy. He also has to make sure that the quality control of the business processes he monitors always leads to increased performance and decreased costs.
What should a lean six sigma black belt know?
1. He should be quantitatively oriented -
A lean six sigma black belt should always aim to take more and more detailed measurements of a business process’s various aspects. He should have a flair for numbers and he should be a master of statistics. This is because it is the responsibility of a lean six sigma black belt to be aware of every little nook and cranny of a business process. Six Sigma black belt training teaches one how to gain such awareness.
This includes measuring the output of a business process. It includes measuring the time a business process takes to run from the first input phase to the final product delivery phase. It includes recording the amount of waste generated by the manufacturing part of the business process. In general, a lean six sigma should approach every problem as a matter of quantification and calculation.
2. He should know the art of project selection -
The lean six sigma black belt should know how to select the projects in which the Lean Six Sigma methodology will make the most impact. What this means is that there are certain projects which are eminently suited to be put under the Lean Six Sigma guidelines and principles. All Lean Six Sigma practices implemented in such projects will lead to exponential gains and returns compared to Lean Six Sigma principles implemented on some other projects.
So a lean six sigma black belt should be able to analyze and evaluate a project’s business outline or specifications while it is still in the inception stage to determine whether the project is compatible with the Lean Six Sigma methodology or not. By getting a six sigma black belt certification one can learn how to do this.
3. He should know how to make problem statements -
A lean six sigma black belt possesses intimate knowledge about all levels of an organization. So, when it comes to assessing a problem or a challenge and drawing up a formal plan for tackling it, he is eminently suited for the task. He will be able to draw upon his rich fund of knowledge of the minutest details of the business processes as well as the structure and organization of his and other leaders’ teams and create a very apt, accurate, and targeted problem statement. The Six Sigma black belt certification cost is a small price to pay for gaining such an ability.
4. He should accurately represent the voice of the customer -
A lean six sigma black belt represents the customers and the stakeholders on a project. He has to hold long meetings with the customers and the stakeholders and get their input on what the project’s vision, goal, and direction should be. He has to gather all kinds of information about the customers and the stakeholder's needs, interests, concerns, and expectations. Only after he has gathered all this information and communicated it to the rest of the lean six sigma team can the project truly move forward from the inception stage.
5. He should know how to use visual aids -
A lean six sigma black belt should be an expert when it comes to using graphical visualizations to communicate information or emphasize the points he wants to make. He should be able to represent all the information he wants to communicate effectively in the form of graphical visualizations. This is quite similar to the way a data scientist communicates the results of his analysis. Graphical visualizations include Control Charts, Pareto, Histograms, Scatter Plots etc. So he should have a deep understanding of data and how to represent it in an easily understandable manner. This can be learned by undergoing six sigma black belt training.
6. He should know how to lead teams -
As mentioned before, a lean six sigma is the leader of the lean six sigma team. As such, he should know how to play the role of a leader and appear as a coach, a mentor, and a guide for his team. He should also know how to handle authority and power without being corrupted by them.