Part of the steps in Six Sigma methodology involves training. There are different levels of Six Sigma knowledge among
different people within the organization. Due to position, personality, talent, and attitude, some become more
knowledgeable than others.
Six Sigma levels are symbolized by some of the colored silk belts that are used in learning and training for
At the core of all Six Sigma methodology training lies DMAIC. DMAIC stands for "Define, Measure, Analyze,
Improve, and Control".
Those who form a company's Six Sigma team are all trained in some degree of DMAIC. The belt system ranks the
knowledge and skill of the team members from novice (white) to master (black).
White belts: These are higher level candidates taken from the initial Operational Excellence Program who show desire to learn more and make definite change in the workplace. All employees are exposed to Six Sigma to begin with, so that nobody's left out of the loop.
Yellow belts are the next level. They aren't "team leaders" but they do help with projects. All of a company's managers should have yellow belts.
Green belts lead teams and work on projects part time. A company's engineers and upper management should all be green belts.
Black belts are the ultimate project leaders. Senior engineers, executives, and supervisors should all be black belts. These lead teams and projects from concept to completion.
DMAIC: CORE OF SIX SIGMA METHODOLOGY
Usually, businesses can, of course, figure out that they have a problem. This problem usually shows up as a decline in sales or profits. Some businesses may be able to directly see a loss of customers. But the real problem is much deeper. The real problem is the one that causes the problems the company can't see!
DMAIC figures out how to deal with a company's problems from a customer-based perspective.
D = Define. The improvement project is defined--even before the root cause of the problem is known. Many times, this means how to get more customers buying from you again.
M = Measure. This is where you determine the efficiency and quality of your core, or "baseline", processes. What is it that you produce that allows you to make any profits at all? In other words, what are you in business to do in the first place?
A = Analyze. This is the "scary" part for many. You have to use certain tools to figure out if your baselines are really measuring up. You might believe they are, especially if they always have for a long time, but what if something has changed in your customers? What if you made a small change that you thought was nothing at all but customers reacted to in a bad way? The numbers will tell the truth. Production always has to be tied to customer needs or expectations.
I = Improvement. This is where you use the M and the A to figure out what to do to get back to where you want to be in your business.
C = Control. You have to make sure your improvement sticks. You can't let things get out of control or you'll be back where you started. Controls are put in place to meet or exceed customer requirements.
The steps in the Six Sigma methodology seem complex to many at first. But if you break them down, although they're
still not easy, they are much simpler.