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Suresh Jayaram

The Six Sigma Belts - Difference Between Green Belt & Black Belt

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Six Sigma has a hierarchical structure similar to Martial arts. There are white belts, green belts, black belts, and master black belts.

The white belts go through a very high level overview training about Six Sigma (typically 4 hours) so they understand some basic terminology about Six Sigma. All employees in the company are usually trained as white belts. White belts may help Green Belts or Black Belts with some data collection etc.

The next level is the Green Belts who go through the Six Sigma training at the next level of details. Green Belts may go through few days to up to two weeks worth of Six Sigma training. Green Belts are expected to work on projects within their own functional areas. Green Belts are usually not exposed to advanced Six Sigma concepts, so they are not equipped to solve really tough problems.

The third level is Black Belts who go through a more detailed version of the Six Sigma training. The typical duration of training varies from a week to four weeks worth of training. Black Belts are expected to work on more complex cross-functional projects that are strategically important for the company.

Finally, the last level is the Master Black Belts. The Master Black Belts are responsible for coaching and training Green Belts and Black Belts. They may also work on large company wide projects.

Sometimes people ask us if there is any minimum financial benefits that Green Belt and Black Belt projects need to deliver. There is no hard and fast rule about minimum savings that these projects need to deliver. The amount of benefits will also depend on the size of the company turnover, number of employees, opportunities for improvements etc. Some companies may have a target for Green Belt and Black Belt savings - but these are usually applied as an average across several projects rather than for individual projects.

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I agree with Mr. Suresh Jayaram. There are some institutions, which specifies, the financial benefit or the savings, unless not reached, they do not recognize the project. I would say, that any project, which brings in a good change in the process or considerable benefit to the employer, is good enough.

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I too agree with vittal. Some times the savings might not be visible, or it may be some period of time before they are visible.  But implementation of the six sigma processes might have definitely done the improvement in overall operations of the organisation.

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Vittal/Ashok,

I agree with the points above regarding savings, but we also need to ensure that not all projects a company picks are such that there are no savings to report at the end of the projects. At a minimum, we need to make an effort to at least report some soft savings as a result of the Six Sigma project.

A company needs a good mix of project with some projects reporting financial savings that impact revenue, cash flow, and profitability. It is okay to have some projects that don't have any hard savings but only report soft savings.

Reporting savings is important for sustenance of Six Sigma programs within a company. If senior management does not see benefits, they may cancel the Six Sigma program in the long run. This was one of the down falls of the TQM program.

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Ashok,

Most companies have GBs and BBs. Some companies also have White Belts and Yellow Belts too - as pointed out by you. A White Belt or Yellow Belt is someone who has gone through a very very high level overview of the Six Sigma program. For example, they may have taken a 4 hour class on Six Sigma. White Belts and Yellow Belts are not required to complete any projects similar to Green Belts and Black Belts.

The idea is that all people in an organization need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of Six Sigma methodology and be able to converse in the same language (mean, standard deviation etc). They can then provide effective support when Green Belts and Black Belts come to them asking for help / support on their projects. So, an organization may aim for 100% of its employees to be White/Yellow Belts, about 25% of its employees being Green Belts, and about 1-5% of its employees being Black Belts.

I once went to a conference where someone was advocating a Blue Belt - can't recall what they wanted to do with it!

SJ

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Dear Siddharth,

Once you finish your GB training and pass the exam, you will receive a certificate of completion for the Green Belt. After this training, if you desire to get an additional project completion certificate, you will have to complete a Green Belt project and submit it to us for review. Once we review and approve it, you will receive a second Green Belt certificate that will acknowledge that you have also completed a project.

The project that you undertake has to be a valid Green Belt project. Please refer to several threads on this website that discuss the selection of Six Sigma projects. One example is: http://forum.benchmarksixsigma.com/index.php?/topic/683-criteria-for-selection-of-six-sigma-project/

We will post the Green Belt course contents in a separate thread.

Best Regards,

SJ.

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Our company does carry out internal six sigma trainings. How is that different from that of yours.

Secondly, is it necessary to select the project afresh or could it be something done previously anywhere in past.

Thirdly, has the project necessarily to be that of the organisation one is working with, and if not who will ascertain whether the cost savings have been there as envisaged in the project.

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Hi.Trainig and developement not only takes you to Cross section of the Projects we have to admit that we get smart and more smart when we learn things practical. I suppose when we understant the learning of Six Sigma we are are not put in a study room where we learning and becoming a Green Belt or a Black Belt. We are going through a process which is to be where we should be aware of it. I suppose i am not follwing the path of process which is very narrow. As a person i have exposure to International Standards i suppose we are not near at all. we are away from it. Miles away

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Dear Shradha,

Companies that have already deployed Six Sigma would have an organizational structure in place to approve Green Belt and Black Belt projects. Typically, the deployment champion in the company would have made provisions for this approval to ensure that the organization is working on the right projects. 

Assuming you are working in a company that does not practise Six Sigma, you need to have the approval of at least your project sponsor - the manager who currently has the pain area and the resources to ensure the success of the project.

If you have been through Benchmark Six Sigma training, we provide help and assitance to you in reviewing your Six Sigma project to ensure it is appropriate.

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Dear Pradeep,

You need to have some criteria within your organization on what makes a good Six Sigma GB project. You can use your senior managers to rank the criteria and determine the importance ratings. Some criteria that are usually found are:

a) Linkage with company strategy

B) Benefits that can be realized

c) Time / resources required to complete projects

d) Availability of right resources / data etc

You can then evaluate each GB project against the pre-established criteria and come up with a overall score. You may also want to plot them on a benefit/effort matrix to help with the selection process. Not all decisions can be quantitatively based - so you would also need to form a committee of select managers within the company who would be responsible for selecting the right GB projects. It would be a good idea for the committee to meet periodically - at least on a quarterly basis to select projects and keep them ready for launch. For every GB in the organization, you need to have at least 1-2 projects ready in the pipeline ready for launch. 

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Dear Kapil,

If you go through a Black Belt program that is 10 days long, then you could do the Black Belt without doing the Green Belt. In these courses, the entire material that includes Green Belt and Black Belt is covered.

At Benchmark Six Sigma, you can enroll for 10 days Black Belt directly at a special fee. In such a case you shall be learning with a 4 day Green Belt batch initially and continuing later with a 6 day Black Belt upgrade (exclusively for Green Belts) batch.

Hope this helps answer your question.

Best Regards,

SJ

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Dear Mr. Suresh Jayaram,

I've been reading " The Power Of Ultimate Six Sigma" by KEKI R. BHOTE since some time. I'm totally a stranger to quality concepts untill recently I was subjected to quality training by the company ( Engineering Department of Kingfisher Airlines ). Please let me know how six sigma will play an instrumental role in my proffession.

Thanks & Regards

K. MADHUSUDHAN.

 

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Hi SJ,

Is time period of 4 days sufficinet to understand all tools thoroughly?

How many tools are covered in a yellow belt training?

Post completion of trainings does benchmark six sigma provides support to the students to resolve thie doubts?

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Hello Deepak

The period of 4 days is quite sufficient for a green belt. Benchmark Six Sigma is a Exemplar Global (Previously RABQSA) Certified TPECS Provider for Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Competency unit. About yellow belt, it is the first basic exposure to Lean Six Sigma trainings with minimum practical applications. The Green Belt provided by BSS includes all that is taught in the yellow belt.

About support, we have an open forum (the one you are reading this on) and a dedicated Participant Support Forum where you can seek expert guidance from Six Sigma professional across various industries. Once you attend a Benchmark program, the past participant forum becomes available to you.

Warm regards

AbhishekM

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You can go ahead for Black Belt directly with a longer time frame (10 days class sessions in addition to time spent with pre-course study material). This is similar to attending Green Belt followed by the upgrade Black Belt training.

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Hello VK Sir,

I need to know if one can RIGHTFULLY persuade Black Belt directly after Green Belt, i.e. without successful completion of a B project.

Keenly looking forward for your reply.

Regards

Deepinder S. Rana

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Hi Naresh,

You are eligible for the Black Belt Training once you are a certified green belt. The time frame for a Black Belt trainign is 2 weeks appox.

I you really want to have a Black Belt cetification done, I would recommend you to first identify the project as it would help you to understand the six sigma tolls better during the training.

Hope it helps...

Nirankar

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My take to the string of the discussions is as follows:

yes, YB - GB - BB are the three levels to showcse the degree of display of Six sigma tooling and the impact of the project delivery. there is QNI ( Quality Net income or Savings ) to quantify the outcome.

The person to sign off the launch of the project is typically the program Owner...generally Vice President ( Operations ) level who would have communicated to the prgram/ process champions the focus areas and pain areas needing process improvement.

The overall Six Sigma initiative has to be Top driven to realize benefits and momentum in continuous improvement.

Parashuraman

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Internationally, there are a large number of people who opt for a Black Belt program (without opting for a shorter duration Green Belt training). However, such a program includes GB + BB learning in a single training sequence (normally 10-12 days). Benchmark offers BB in a split format (even to people desirous of Black Belt right at the beginning) just to allow people some time before they proceed to Black Belt.

Hope this answers your question.

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