Free Six Sigma Certification Courses - Supply Chain Optimization

Links to six sigma certification courses but do your homework first.

Six Sigma
Six Sigma. Getty Images

The Internet is the wonderful unknown.  It is full of promise but also mystery.  And it's exactly why the adages "too good to be true" and "there's no such thing as a free lunch" were invented. 

Six Sigma Certification is a valuable business asset.  Six Sigma is a tool that allows you and your company to optimize its supply chain and other business processes.  Six Sigma training is involved and intense and demands a high level of rigor and commitment.

  It also typically costs money to complete. 

Some companies will provide their employees Six Sigma training, so if you're looking for free Six Sigma, I'd start with your employer. 

Next, try the American Society for Quality.  They can point you to all things legit in the Six Sigma world.  Also, Six Sigma Digest can provide resources, including free ones.  And for the very basics of Six Sigma, you can check out the Aveta Business Institute's free white belt training

What is Six Sigma?

For a free summary of Six Sigma concepts, read on...

Motorola implemented the concept of Six Sigma in the mid-1980’s as a way to seek process improvements in its manufacturing operations.  Since then, the term has become synonymous with process optimization.

In a nutshell, Six Sigma projects are disciplined, data-driven and designed to improve processes by identifying and removing the causes of defects or errors and minimizing variability.

  Six Sigma projects are usually led by professionals trained (and typically certified) in Six Sigma techniques. 

The Six Sigma vocabulary can sometimes be confusing, so here’s a primer to get you started.  If you want a deeper dive, try this.

Why’s it called “Six Sigma”? 

The term Six Sigma is derived from the statistical principle that states - if you start at your process’ mean value and you eliminate defects within six standard deviations of the mean and the nearest specification limit, you’ll virtually eliminate all defects or errors.

 

If you’re not a statistician, think of Six Sigma looking at a bell curve and eliminating the errors within the thick chunk of the bell. 

Executive Leadership

Within any Six Sigma project, you’ll want Executive Leadership.  This role can include the CEO or other top management. They are responsible for setting up a vision for a Six Sigma implementation.  One important aspect of having Executive Leadership is the buy-in aspect of it. 

If you want a project to succeed, it’s critical that those in an organization understand why it’s important – and who it’s important to.

Champion

The Champion is the person in an organization who 'champions' a Six Sigma project, like a senior manager who ensures that it’s properly resourced and uses their authority to overcome organizational barriers.  The champion sits a level below the Executive Leadership.

Master Black Belt

The Master Black Belt is an expert with extensive experience and technical expertise in all aspects of Six Sigma. The Master Black Belt is responsible for selecting, training and mentoring black belts within an organization. They’ll also ensure the Six Sigma program standards are maintained.

Black Belt

A Black Belt is a full-time professional and team leader responsible for the operation and outcome of a Six Sigma project.

 Black Belt training courses involve a month or more of classroom training – with a  study focus in methods, statistical tools, and team skills. 

Black Belt training courses also require a completed Six Sigma project. Certified Six Sigma Black Belt qualification courses are offered by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and other organizations.

Green Belt

A Green Belt has been trained in Six Sigma methodology and participates in projects as part of their full time job. They may either work as part of a team, led by a Black Belt, or lead smaller projects, with a Black Belt acting as mentor.

Project Sponsor

The Project Sponsor is a manager who can sign off on resources, defines objectives and evaluate outcomes. The Project Sponsor is sometimes the Champion or Executive Leadershop.

Big Y and Little y

The high level objective that a Six Sigma project seeks to improve is known as the Big Y .

 The Big Y is often used to generate little y operational objectives that need to be improved to hit the Big Y target.

DMAIC 

The five main steps in the Six Sigma process; Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control.

Define

  • Define the customer and their expectations
  • Define the impacted business processes
  • Define the project boundaries
  • Create a process map
  • Define metrics, including Big Y and little y's
  • Form a project team
  • Develop a project charter

Measure

  • Gather data and measure the existing processes

Analyze

  • Analyze the gathered data
  • Identify the gaps between existing and desired performance
  • Identify sources of variation
  • Decide on the processes to be improved

Improve

  • Propose solutions
  • Carry out pilot studies, test and evaluate the proposed solutions
  • Develop an implementation plan

Control

  • Implement processes to ensure sustainable improvements
  • Develop procedures, control plans and train staff