Answered by
Elisabeth Swan
What’s the Difference Between a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and a Yellow Belt?


Aside from the colored band on a martial arts belt, the biggest difference in the Lean Six Sigma World, is that Green Belts get more training, understand more tools and techniques and can lead bigger projects than Yellow Belts. Yellow Belts receive training that provides the vocabulary of Lean Six Sigma, a basic understanding of the method and the most commonly used tools. With their overview of Lean Six Sigma, Yellow Belts become productive team members on process improvement teams led by Green Belts or Black Belts.

Green Belts, on the other hand, can be both team leads as well as team members. They are expected to complete an ongoing series of manageably-scoped projects as part of their work life. They can also participate as team members on projects run by Black Belts or even other Green Belts. What Green Belts and Yellow Belts have in common is that, unlike Black Belts, running Lean Six Sigma projects is not their only job. But it makes their jobs more enjoyable!

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Answered by
Tracy O'Rourke
Can Lean Six Sigma Be Used In Marketing?


DMAIC and Lean can be applied to ANY industry, department or function, and does not need to be customized to be able to make an impact.

The models themselves have not been “adjusted,” however there are many Lean and Six Sigma can be used to improve Sales & Marketing. Some example projects include:

  • Creating standard work for these types of processes.
  • Reducing cycle time for internal pieces of the process, whether it’s proposal approvals or requirements assessment.
  • Creating priority matrices to reducing WIP in the process to improve cycle time.

Hope that helps!

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Answered by
Elisabeth Swan
What Wastes Could Exist In Electronic Records Management?


Electronic Record Management could benefit from both an 8 Wastes Assessment and a 5S. People often assume that once a process is automated, there’s nothing left to improve, but we’ve found otherwise. In some cases, the process is automated before it’s been streamlined, so the automation includes digital versions of the manual non-value added steps. But even if the process was improved before being automated, there are still opportunities. Some examples below:

  1. The Waste of Defects
    1. Are there duplicate names?
    2. Are there drop-down lists or can people type in what they want and create variation?
  2. The Waste of Overproduction
    1. Are there active records that should be archived?
    2. Is there any separation between “Active” and “Working” files?
    3. Have you done a Digital 5S so it’s clear where things should be stored?
    4. Are naming conventions making the latest versions clear?
    5. What happens with the old versions?
  3. The Waste of Waiting
    1. How long does the system take to process?
    2. Is it maintained with current versions and licenses?
    3. Are there opportunities to fine tune and gain productivity?
  4. The Waste of Non-Utilized Intellectual Capital
    1. Can anyone access the electronic records?
    2. Is the task relegated to a few and therefore becomes a bottleneck?
    3. Are there clear and straightforward instructions that anyone could understand in order to access records when they need them?
  5. The Waste of Transportation
    1. Are records being transferred (scanned) from paper to digital?
    2. From paper to storage like Iron Mountain?
    3. How many hand-offs are involved and how long to they take?
  6. The Waste of Inventory
    1. What’s the process for purging old records?
    2. Have you conducted a 5S?
    3. Sorted through what should be stored and what should be eliminated?
    4. Are requests for information forming a queue?
    5. Are people waiting for record retrieval?
    6. Is this function centralized when it could be dispersed?
  7. The Waste of Motion
    1. How many clicks are involved in storing and retrieving records?
    2. How many applications have to be opened and closed?
  8. The Waste of Extra Processing
    1. How much data is being stored?
    2. Are you storing information that no one uses?
    3. Does that make it hard to find valuable information?
    4. Is the user-interface easy to navigate?
    5. Are there extra, unused fields that could be eliminated or clarified?

That’s DOWNTIME: Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-utliization of Intellectual Capital, Transportation, Inventory, Motion and Extra-Processing.

Lots of potential for waste in Digital Records Management!

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Answered by
Tracy O'Rourke
How Can I Apply Lean Six Sigma In the Accounting Department Of a Construction Company?


There are so many ways to apply Lean Six Sigma here. First, what processes are painful for customers, and/or employees? What processes have long cycle times or high defect rates? These are good opportunities to apply Lean Six Sigma tools. We have had many projects from a financial or accounting background.

  • Reducing lead time on Accounts Payable.
  • Increasing the accuracy in paying the right amount to the right person.
  • Streamlining forms and reducing waste out of the process with complex processes.

We have a great number of examples that are from the construction industry as well, from residential homes to commercial buildings. From picking out options to pouring concrete more effectively and efficiently. There is even a movement called “Lean Construction!”

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Answered by
Elisabeth Swan
How Can I Apply Lean Six Sigma At a Hotel?


The Hospitality industry has made great strides in the past decade with Lean Six Sigma. Some of the best projects have centered around reducing workplace injuries by focusing on cleaning and maintenance processes. Another big win that came out of Lean Six Sigma is the “Green Program.” The Green Program is when hotels let guests “opt-in” for new linens as opposed to assuming they required the extra step and cost of a complete change-over. The Front Desk is a great place to consider “load leveling” so the staffing matches guest demand, and banqueting has made great strides with the concept of “single piece flow” of dishes and cutlery to speed turnaround. As you can tell, there are a lot of opportunities to apply Lean Six Sigma in a hotel!

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Answered by
Dodd Starbird
How do I identify new work groups (departments) who want to implement Lean levers in their process?


There are two main ways to identify groups or departments who want to implement Lean.  In keeping with the Lean philosophy, let’s call them “Push” and “Pull”!


Often, an organization or division will decide to proceed with Lean due to some “burning platform” of need to change, potentially as senior leaders look to improve cost structure, customer service, employee engagement, or other key business metrics.  With a leadership team to set the direction, the best option is to conduct a “rapid assessment” of the process effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity within each department.  We would typically form a Lean team in each area, create a Value-Stream Map (VSM) of their core work process(es), and then use value-stream analysis and data (e.g., volume, work time, turnaround time, etc.) to find opportunities.  The full list becomes the “unconstrained” view, and then we conduct a cross-functional prioritization process to select which opportunities (“constrained”) most merit the resources that it will take to implement the approach.  Usually, the highest-impact opportunities go first and others follow later, but organizations can sometimes phase the priorities for other reasons (for example, if one area is currently fielding a new system, we might push up the Lean effort to get ahead of that, or we might wait for the system to be deployed before fine-tuning their new processes).


Sometimes there isn’t a burning platform or a leader who wants to impose the need to change on the whole organization, so we find that a department will “self-select” to volunteer to go first.  We still need to conduct a quick assessment to make sure the department is ready for the Lean journey, and then we implement the approach.  As we proceed, we can use that department to create “positive peer pressure” by showing the value that the Lean activities and cultural changes are generating.  Other departments see the value and then jump on the bandwagon.

Ultimately, regardless of whether you push or pull it, a Lean deployment done properly will build momentum because the approach really works.  You just have to navigate the natural resistance to change, build support for trying new things, and show positive results for both the business and the people.

Sounds easy, right?  Enjoy the journey!

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Answered by
Karlo Tanjuakio
How Much Does Yellow Belt Certification Cost?


Yellow Belt Certification from currently currently costs $49 (as of July 2014). Training is free and you can get immediate access by subscribing using the green form at the top right of any page on our website.

We choose to make Yellow Belt Training free so you can experience it for yourself and be confident you’re getting the best Lean Six Sigma Training available. Then, once you feel the Training is able to give you practical process improvement skills, you can demonstrate your knowledge to yourself, your company, your colleagues/peers that you understand the concepts by completing your Certification.

Our Yellow Belt Training & Certification enables you to immediately begin improving processes by helping you see the world with new eyes. We encourage you to check it out (as well as demo training from other providers) and experience the difference for yourself.

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Answered by
Karlo Tanjuakio
What Is the Difference Between Yellow Belt Training and Green Belt Training?

ANSWER:’s Yellow Belt Training is high level awareness training that introduces the fundamental concepts of Lean Six Sigma. It’s practical, enjoyable, and easy to understand. It’s great for students, professionals or anyone interested in improving their process improvement skills. Our Yellow Belt Training is free and takes approximately 8 hours to complete. Certification is currently $49 and consists of 50 multiple choice questions.

Our Green Belt Training is a more in-depth Training that expands on the concepts introduced in Yellow Belt Training (although Yellow Belt Training or Certification is not a pre-requisite). It also introduces additional concepts and tools using the same practical approach as the Yellow Belt Training. Green Belt Training takes approximately 24 hours to complete and Certification consists of 125 multiple choice questions.’s Certification exams for both Yellow Belt and Green Belt  allow for unlimited re-takes.

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Answered by
Colleen Kindler
How do you convert eliminated Waste into dollar values that show how they affect the bottom line to convey the benefits of Lean Six Sigma to the CFO/CEO?


Full Question: In an IT company, the labor hours saved are not always easy to convert in to dollar values – Finance is not able to see those dollar values unless you convert those hours saved into billable hours. If these hours aren’t converted, then the hours saved by eliminating waste is not a direct bottom line impact to the business. How do you convert eliminated Waste into dollar values that show how they affect the bottom line to convey the benefits of Lean Six Sigma to the CFO/CEO?

I can understand your frustration as hard savings impact the bottom line directly by increasing revenue or decreasing expenses.  If you’re saving labor hours but not reducing people, then labor savings are soft – i.e., not impacting bottom line but improving efficiency.  Some ways to quantify efficiency are:

  • Increased Throughput: Being able to process more units with the same staffing.  With that approach you can quantify the increased capacity, or # units processed/day.
  • Scrap Cost Savings: Total the cost saved of defects discarded and not reworked. To do this, quantify the cost of scrap plus the or quantify the savings of less rework hours.

Hope this helps!

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Answered by
Evans Kerrigan
What should be captured in a SIPOC?


Expanded Question:

I am working on a SIPOC diagram for an urgent care facility. The test facility is the Supplier. I can’t figure out the Input, but the Output was provided which is Diagnosis and the Customer is the Doctor and Patient. I was thinking the test itself would be the Input. Please help.

In determining what to capture in a SIPOC, I find it is frequently helpful to identify the start and stop of the process up front.  I find that when people do this, they frequently find it easier to identify the specific outputs and inputs that they need to capture.  If, in your example you want to frame the process you are mapping as starting with the receipt of the test from the testing facility, I would agree that the test results are the input.

If you are mapping the overall treatment of a patient at the facility, test results are one of many potential inputs to the process.

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