What is a Green Belt?


Within Lean Six Sigma professional jargon you will often hear different ‘belts’ mentioned. You will find belts in every color of the spectrum, but what does a certain belt color actually mean? The Belts indicate a certain level of expertise. They show at which level someone can apply the Lean Six Sigma methodology.

The Green Belt indicates the practitioner possesses sufficient knowledge and expertise to execute projects independently within the department. Starting at the Green Belt level, one may expect the practitioner has the required knowledge with respect to ongoing or daily improvement initiatives (Lean) as well as project based improvement (Six Sigma).

What did I learn during a Green Belt course?

A good Lean Six Sigma Green Belt course will spend time on topics such as the DMAIC model, the PDCA cyclus, the 5 steps of Womack, the 7+1 types of waste and more. Furthermore, tools such as Value Stream Mapping, de Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA), Poke Yoke, and many others will be covered.

The core of what you learn is to substantiate ‘assertions’. You will learn to point out improvement opportunities and realize these opportunities using data and facts. You know no longer work based on your ‘gut feel’. The particular strength of our Green Belt course is that you can also execute a project. Coached by an experienced (Master) Black Belt you will learn how to put your newly acquired knowledge and skills into practice within your work environment.

What is an example of a Green Belt project?

Green belt projects greatly vary, simply because each process which can be standardized can be improved. An example of a Green Belt project is shortening the lead time of a particular process. For example, requesting a particular license takes two months from beginning to end. As a Green Belt you will scrutinize this process. You will identify ‘where’ waste can be found in this process, remove it from the process and only maintain proces steps which have added value. This is a typical example of a Lean project.

A Six Sigma project on the other hand, would be much more focused on the the quality of the process output. In our example, decreasing the number of licenses with printing errors by looking for the root causes for these errors. After having identified the root causes, you and your team will decide on a way forward leading to a maximum gain at the lowest cost. It will lead to a pilot project, which will elevate the processing level of the entire department.

What benefits do Green Belt projects bring?

After having ‘coached’ thousands of course participants during their practical assignments (projects), the benefits of a Green Belt project are predictable to us.  In general, it is safe to say most of our course participants will strive for a project benefit of at least £75,000. Often these benefits are already visible the quarter after the start of the (sometimes even first) project. Projects typically have a lead time of three to six months.  By executing two to four projects a year, an annual benfit of £150.000-£300.000 is a realistic target.

It should be noted the lead time of a project is influenced by the Lean Six Sigma ‘maturity’ of the organisation. Is the methodology already commonly embraced or are you the first to start? Generally speaking, the more mature the organisation, the faster it will be able to reap the benefits. It also illustrates how powerful the methodology is; the more people can use it, the more effective it will be.

Will I be able to improve my career or my employability as a Green Belt ?

Research shows Green Belt certification is increasingly sought after in job adverts and although it will certainly depend on factors such as experience and seniority, the qualification will lead to better career opportunities. Browse the job adverts on the itnernet to verify what we are telling you!

It is also possible to take a next step within the Lean Six Sigma methodology. You could opt for the Black Belt course. As a Black Belt you will be required to take an even more in-depth look at the processes, thus having an even higher impact on your organisation. Black Belts are the ones who lead the projects and are full time Continuous Improvement professionals who work across several departments within the organisation.

The weekly agenda of a Green Belt

In general, a Green Belt will spend approximately 20% of her/his time on continuous improvement initiatives.  It is normally not a full time job but will replace part of your existing activities. For this reason, a Green Belt can often ‘take on’ processes which she/he is familiar with, in a way making the approach double as effective.

As a Green Belt your role will have two sides to it. Next to your own initiatives and projects relevant to your own work environment or department, you will have the possibility to particpate in Black Belt projects. These projects normally work across departments of the organisation. In doing this, projects are more effective and can find solutions for more complex organisation wide problems.

This broad deployment of the Green Belt does require speciifc skills. For example management skills, a structured approach to work but also executing a very focussed brainstorming session with the team or creating involvement and the ability to thouroughly understand organisational processes. For this reason all these skills will be covered during our course.

I want to become a Green Belt

Want to take the next step and become a Green Belt by following our Green Belt course? Take a look at our product page for more details and enroll on the course!

Click here for more information about our online courses, or contact us to learn more about the possibilities.

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