Lean Six Sigma is modeled after a statistical quality control system to reduce the number of errors in manufacturing. The term “six sigma” refers to six standard deviations from the mean which is statistical quality control language describing the very low level of error tolerance the program commits itself to. In 2002, Michael George and Robert Lawrence, Jr. published a book entitled, Lean Six Sigma: Combining Six Sigma with Lean Speed. The philosophy and methodology in that book was adopted by The Ingersol-Rand Corporation as a Business Operating System (BOS). The company took the quality control methods and adapted it into a style and commitment to improve their operation.

That is part of how Lean Six Sigma can help your bank. The BOS, when clearly codified, provides corporate style. Corporate styles bring about staff cohesion, uniting employees in common cause and common values with which they identify. However, lean Six Sigma training is also a formula for leadership training. It focuses on ways to solve problems affecting quality of services that have clear application to banks. The certification programs that are part of the six sigma institution build the skills in these problem solving methods. These steps are often referred to as DMAIC. They are: defining the problem, measuring the effects of the problem, analyzing the situation looking for solutions, improving the situation, controlling the new system.

The Six Sigma program can be viewed as a system of management training. A Six Sigma course curriculum provides formal training in the DMAIC skills. There are four course levels: white belt, yellow belt, green belt, and black belt levels. The system ties these levels of mastery to levels of management within the corporation.

The syllabus of the DMAIC training program contains substantive skill training. There are some 45 units of training in the Green Belt program. They include training in proposal writing, problem solving strategies, financial analysis, quality metrics, cost-benefit analysis, statistical analysis, graphical presentation, capability evaluation, Pareto Analysis, control planning.

On completion of the course, the candidate sits for a certification examination. The Pyzdek Institute’s certification exam is included in the course fee. It is given online and, starting in 2015, it is proctored.

The performance value of Six Sigma training varies from organization to organization. When an employee is certified in Six Sigma, they have obtained a particular body of knowledge (BOK). The question remains whether the corporate structure can incorporate those skills. Many banks and organization use the Six Sigma certification system as part of their internal professional advancement system.

Thomas Pyzdek’s The Six Sigma Handbook is the standard work on how to apply the Six Sigma Program for the best benefit.

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