Thinking About Lean Six Sigma Training Are You

Thinking About Lean Six Sigma Training Are You

Lean Six Sigma training offerings vary greatly. Offerings include 5 days to get certified as a Black Belt (guaranteed) all the way up to 20+ days of training with no guarantees unless the student demonstrates competency over following months. Offerings also include Green Belt level courses with a bundle of six sigma tools all the way up to Green Belt training that includes a comprehensive array of both lean, six sigma and facilitative leadership methods.

Which one do you buy into? Which one will serve you best? How to answer that is simple …


If your goal is to obtain some qualification only, the good news is there are cheap and fast ways to do this. Jump on a 5 day black belt course, do the exam and get the piece of paper. Easy … not much will be transferrable back to the workplace, but that was not the goal.

Here is a quote from one student of that type of training.

“In this fast paced world it’s often too easy to get quick fixes. I once embarked on a trip to Melbourne with the promise of a Black Belt in Six Sigma within a week. What was the catch? There wasn’t one. I paid the money and sat in a room for 10 hours a day for 5 days. On the Friday afternoon I left with a freshly printed Black Belt Certificate. During the flight back to Perth the first threads of doubt crossed my mind. What had I really learnt? Did I have the confidence to call myself a Black Belt? The answer was no. The course was too rushed without real depth. At least the hotel food was nice. Statistical analysis was covered in the final hour. Ten weary faces staring at an overhead … no hands on, no use of a computer.

Five years later I found myself embarking on my second Black Belt. Within minutes of meeting Harry [the trainer] I knew the course would be special. Here was a professional facilitator who was also disciplined in the technicalities of Lean and Six Sigma. How refreshing that the comprehensive guide book used was written by the owner of the company with additional tips and commentary by Harry. The book is now my professional bible as I convert to becoming a Lean Six Sigma professional. My second Black Belt is not yet finished. But when it arrives in the post it will replace the counterfeit one hidden under the bed.”

If you are looking to develop genuine competency in using Lean and Six Sigma type methods to improve processes and business performance in any context, this is the type of provider you’re looking for:

(a) Does not take any short cuts in the training for the sake of time – the goal is to teach how to use a methodology properly, not teach some tools quickly.

(b) Teaches the methods in a hands on simulation (I mean a proper one not just some sterile building block simulation) which covers both production and service aspects of a business value stream.

(c) Teaches both Lean and Six Sigma project leadership, not just six sigma – most gains will be realised by most companies through Lean.

(c) Teaches in a face-2-face training environment where the dynamics of working with people are replicated.

(e) Certifies skill through competency based assessment, not examinations alone.

(f) Offers mentoring support of some kind – could be face-2-face or could be online.

(g) Provides participants with the right learning aids through training (not just a bunch of printed power point slides) and post course reference materials.

(h) Uses teachers who are industry professionals with genuine hands on experience, not just academics.

Here’s a bonus … make sure the qualifications you get are accredited by a training body such as the Australian Qualifications Framework (


The training should never be fast or cheap. You’ve heard it said before … ‘you get what you pay for’.

DURATION – The duration of training has to be exactly what is needed to teach what a GB and BB must know in order to get results in business scenarios. Those ‘black belt in one week’ offerings are scams and are killing the reputation of lean six sigma by failing to produce tangible and quantifiable results in business improvement.

PRICING – Let me tell you what I believe to be a fair and value for money approach to pricing of training. Good technical training should be competitively priced at a rate consistent with what a Technical College charges which is in the $ 500 to $ 600 per day range. I am dubious about training that comes in at less than this and I would have to ask questions about the quality and capability of the trainer delivering the material.

Green Belt and Belt and Black packages should be discounted, individual modules (lean, six sigma etc) should be available yet more expensive on their own.


A Lean Six Sigma training provider should never propose to be all things to everybody. At our company for example, we focus on Mining and Energy – they are our specific market and we are the best in the world in that sector. Fortunately for us, our course translates perfectly into service as well as manufacturing because of the type of simulation we use, but that’s a bonus.

We do not undertake ‘Design for Six Sigma’ training as there are better providers out there. We do not deliver the lean pyramid type of approach to customers … for one we don’t think it is the best way to approach business improvement in this culture, and also there are people out there who specialise in that activity.

Make sure your provider is professional in their approach to the sector of training they target. As we get more and more sophisticated in our industries, this sector focus is becoming more important.


Participants must enter training with a project. A failure to utilise the skills taught is a failure of the training system. The only way to master these skills is through application and on the job project work offers that opportunity perfectly. It also raises the probability that your training is an investment with a return for the host company and not just a cost and drain on the budget.

You may find this information about projects, which we provide to our students in course joining instructions, to be useful.

A. Working on a Lean Project

The ideal Lean project is one that meets the following criteria: – Involves a highly repetitive process – Involves more than 5 steps to complete – Cycle time can be measured – A reduction in Cycle Time would add value to the business or customers

The process involved can be either service related (finance, supply, HR etc) or production related (manufacturing, laboratory etc).

Example projects include cycle time reduction for …. – Finance Application Processing – Leave Application Processing – Online Order Processing – Machine Servicing – Die Changeover – Payment Processing

B. Working on a Six Sigma Project

The ideal Six Sigma Project is one that meets the following criteria: – The process is highly repetitive and experiences obvious variation – Involves more than 5 steps in the process – The key output variable is measurable – An improvement in the variation that is experienced would add value to the business or customers

The process involved can be either service related (finance, supply, HR etc) or production related (manufacturing, laboratory etc).

Example Projects – Reduce the variation in part length to within customer specs – Decrease the amount of time spent producing below targeted throughput – Increase the proportion of defect free parts (reduce number of defective parts)

– Raise the daily average quality level of material produced to some specified target

Here are some other related articles that might be useful for you to scan too. Training Produces Zero Returns – Characteristics of Great Projects –

Remember, dig deep, get the right information and make smart decisions when you choose your training provider. Good fortune in your business improvement endeavours.

George Lee Sye is MD of Soarent Vision and provides what is arguably the most effective Lean Six Sigma Training in Australia for the Mining and Energy Sector. More information can be obtained from their web site here –