Many businesses have learned that to create organization-wide acceptance of Six Sigma methodology, it helps to teach as many employees as possible the fundamentals.
That’s where a Yellow Belt in Six Sigma can prove advantageous.
Not everyone in an organization will become Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt certified. But it aids those who rise up to the top ranks of Six Sigma to work with people who have learned the central principles of the methodology.
A Yellow Belt provides that kind of training. Designed for Six Sigma beginners, Yellow Belt training can open an employee’s eyes to the advantages of putting Six Sigma strategies to use.
More than anything else, it helps to align company culture to the vision and goals of top management. In another words, everyone is moving in the same direction and speaking the same language.
The Importance of Six Sigma Yellow Belts
Those who earn a Yellow Belt in Six Sigma can come from all levels of an organization, not just leadership and management roles. Many companies invest in Yellow Belt training so that those with more hands-on responsibility in day-to-day operations can leverage Six Sigma knowledge into their daily tasks.
The more improvements made in those areas, the closer an organization gets to achieving long-range goals and implementing overall business strategy.
As with everything in Six Sigma, Yellow Belt designation involves learning important skills and knowledge that, when put to use, help make operations more efficient. That means fewer mistakes, less wasted time and money, and ultimately, better products and services.
Some of the fundamental teachings of Yellow Belt includes:
- A complete education in Six Sigma terminology, an important first step in implementing the methodology
- Basic strategies in collecting and analyzing data to reach actionable conclusions, as well as measuring results of those actions
- Proven methods for leveraging Six Sigma knowledge to achieve goals
- Examples of ways to limit or even eliminate wasted time and effort in daily work tasks
- Methods for getting buy-in for Six Sigma from peers and managers
Yellow Belts will not complete training ready to lead a project team. Those positions are typically reserved for Green Belts and Black Belts. However, they will have enough knowledge to implement Six Sigma strategies into their own day-to-day tasks.
That knowledge is what can make a single operation more efficient.
Yellow Belts and Corporate Culture
Not everyone in an organization will attain Green Belt or Black Belt status, much less Master Black Belt. In reality, only a small percentage of employees – approximately 10% on average – will attain these levels.
That’s why more companies are investing in Yellow Belt training. For some, an investment in teaching a wide range of employees the fundamentals of Six Sigma can pay more dividends than having a few employees with deeper knowledge.
A mix of the two is the ultimate goal. Achieving such a balance can change a corporate culture from top to bottom, resulting in wider usage of beneficial Six Sigma practices.
Yellow Belt training does not replace Green Belt or Black Belt training. Rather, it supports Six Sigma at all levels.
The Ideal Situation
In most cases, an ideal situation calls for a mix of two strategies.
Companies who buy into Six Sigma have the need for Green Belts and Black Belts at the project manager and even executive level. Those with such designations are responsible for successfully completing large projects and developing and implementing business strategy.
However, the best situation would include Yellow Belts involved with such projects. It is easier for a Black Belt to lead a project when the team understands Six Sigma and its concepts.
Some of those key concepts include understanding that data drives decisions in today’s business world. That includes the type of metrics used to set goals and measure performance.
Yellow Belts also understand that process improvement is an ongoing effort and that certain controls will have to be set into place to sustain any improvements made.
This type of knowledge among a majority of team members can lead to far more project success.
Yellow Belt Functions
Getting more into specifics, a Yellow Belt has the skills to handle a number of important tasks. These can include major projects or smaller endeavors made at the operations level.
For example, Yellow Belts can:
- Prepare a Project Charter that includes the customer needs the project will address, the company’s goals in implementing the project, the project scope and any possible challenges the project may face
- Aid Green Belt and Black Belt leaders in developing measurements to quantify success (or the lack thereof)
- Aid in the analysis and improvement of a Six Sigma process as applied to the organization
- Suggest testable options for improving a process
- Verify if the solution implemented actually worked to make operations more efficient and to produce a better product
Six Sigma Yellow Belts can play a central role in any organization. Making the commitment to providing the training and supporting Yellow Belt’s efforts is increasingly becoming an attractive strategy for businesses who wish to implement Six Sigma methodology.