Learn About Six Sigma Belts (Yellow, Green, Black, Master)

First, it is important to understand the meaning of Six Sigma before you can learn about the ‘belts’. Six Sigma is a business process that many manufacturers are beginning to implement in order to improve their quality processes. Companies began implementing these types of processes as a result of spaces being reduced and funding being cut for inventory and processing purposes within the business structure in an effort to improve delivery as well as quality.  There are different levels of Training and Certification; Yellow Belts, Green Belts, Black Belts, and Master Black Belts.

A Six Sigma Yellow Belt is the lowest level in the organization. This person has only the very basic of knowledge and is not a part of the management for the team. This will be the person who has only just completed a basic training and certification in the methodology. Basically, they will be involved in the implementation but also have other job responsibilities to complete outside of the process.  Yellow belts are often auxiliary staff within a Six Sigma company.  Their primary tasks do not include the projects.

Green Belts are the worker bees of Six Sigma. They may have other duties in addition to leading projects and implementing new processes at the project level. They will have gone through training and certification subject and have some greater responsibilies than those of a yellow belt.  Green Belts are generally thought of as team players, although they have the knowledge to lead a project, if necessary.

A black belt is a professional who is fully trained and who has completed the necessary exams in order to be Black Belt certified in Six Sigma. This person serves as a mentor for the lower levels and assists them with various projects. Black belts are thought of as leaders and change managers and are there for the lower levels to learn various skills from. They will normally not have additional job responsibilities outside of the process unless there is a Master Black Belt on site as well.

The master, or master black belt is a person who is at the highest level of expertise on the subject. They are fully devoted to the process and have no other job responsibilities outside the methodology. They are involved in every aspect of training and mentoring of all of the lower belt ranks. These people have proven their abilities beyond that of a Black Belt, and will be in total control of the entire process.  They are usually very successful managers or CEOs of the various Six Sigma Organizations.

As a person is moving through the various ranks, they gain new knowledge and skills in addition to mastering previous techniques. The system is intended to improve business practices as a way to save money for the company and reduce expenses that can be involved when things are not properly planned. By improving the quality of business processes, and shortening the time involved to complete them, businesses are able to save money in storage of products and inventory as well as providing a higher quality product to their customer.

Each belt level has their own responsibilities and processes they must complete. Everyone starts at the lower level and must dedicate themselves to work up to the Black Belt level if they wish to do so. The system is set up this way so that everyone will work together in a hierarchy of teamwork.

Black Belt certification in the Six Sigma is a very difficult position to maintain. In addition to certification requirements needed to move to the next level, they are required to work closely with the lower levels and share the knowledge that they have mastered and help the lower levels to help the entire company reach success in a teamwork setting.


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