When is Black Belt Training a waste of your time?

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When is Black Belt Training a waste of your time?

Six Sigma Black Belt certification has long been seen as the pinnacle of process improvement capability. Black Belts are trusted as the experts in the pursuit of process waste. How then can the training received by Lean Six Sigma Black Belts include up to 40% waste for some people?

To understand how this is possible we must look at the origins of Black Belt training. Six Sigma started out in manufacturing companies such as Motorola, AlliedSignal, Texas Instruments and later GE. It was here that the Black Belt body of knowledge was developed, later to be documented by the American Society for Quality (ASQ). In the late 1990’s Six Sigma was almost exclusively the realm of manufacturing companies.

This changed in the noughties with the discovery that Six Sigma has as much application in Service Industries, particularly the Lean Six Sigma version, as it has in manufacturing. However by that stage the ASQ Body of Knowledge (BOK) had been cemented and to comply with this BOK Black Belt training had to be at least 20 days in duration. However, looking closely at the BOK you will discover that a good portion of the tools have little or no application in Service Industries. Tools such as Gauge R&R, Process Capability and Design of Experiments are almost exclusively applied in manufacturing industries. To date this anomaly has not been recognised by the ASQ for whatever reason.

In recognition that a good portion of the ASQ Black Belt BOK (up to 40%) has little or no applicability in Service Industries SQT has developed a QQI Accredited Service and Transactional Black Belt course which can be completed in 12 days at approximately 60% of the cost of the traditional ASQ compliant course. Instead of sitting through, and paying for, 8 additional days of advanced statistics that have little or no application in a Service environment this course is customised entirely for Service Industries.

The difference between process improvements in a Service environment vs in a Manufacturing environment can be likened to the difference between a Doctor and a Veterinarian. The Doctor (Service) can talk to his/her patients and be guided by what he/she is told. The Vet (Manufacturing) however must conduct much more diagnostic testing as his/her patient cannot speak. This is why there is a much heavier statistical requirement for manufacturing Black Belts – machines can’t talk.

In recent years SQT’s Service and Transactional Black Belt course has been run only as an in-house course. However, in April 2018, this course will be run as a public course, with limited places available. If you are working in a Service Industry and are interested in becoming a Leader of process improvement activities in your organisation then this is the course for you. Upon successful completion of your Black Belt training and delivery of your Black Belt project, you will awarded a QQI accredited level 8 certificate (Special Purpose) award with 40 ECTS credits.  Having achieved your certification you will be better qualified than the ASQ Black Belt to deliver process improvements in a Service environment.

Submitted by our tutor John Ryan (ASST)

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