I have been involved in the Association for Operations Management (APICS) since 2006, most recently as President of the 600-member Atlanta Chapter. APICS is a not-for-profit industry association that focuses on Operations and Supply Chain Management. One of the big reasons for my involvement is my passion for bringing professionals together to share best practices, exchange perspective and learn.
That same passion led me and my partner Peter Sherman to establish Riverwood Associates, an Operational Excellence training & consulting firm. One of the key products that Riverwood Associates provides the Southeast market is Lean Six Sigma certification training.
Through APICS Atlanta Board of Directors volunteerism, Kelli Crickey, director of the Mike Cottrell College of Business’ Cottrell MBA program, and I connected and worked on several initiatives together, including student plant tours and a dedicated dinner meeting session where a supply chain executive with a large food distribution company shared his experiences with a MBA class from UNG. Kelli was always looking for ways to add value to the MBA experience for her students.
Those shared experiences led Kelli and I to discuss a collaborative Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification workshop, delivered by Riverwood Associates and hosted by the University of North Georgia. This one-day workshop delivers a fundamental, practical overview of Lean Six Sigma methodology to its participants. Key concepts and tools are reinforced with individual and group exercises.
What does Lean Six Sigma offer students that are already experienced in the professional world? Before that question can be accurately answered, let’s define Lean and Six Sigma:
Lean focuses on value through the relentless elimination of waste and acceleration in the velocity of processes. Value is defined in terms of what is important to the customer.
Six Sigma is a well-defined, customer-focused management system that strives for the delivery of near-perfect products or services. Six Sigma’s goals are to reduce defects and variation so that processes are more consistent and predictable. Originated by Motorola in the 1980s, Six Sigma translates into 99.9997 percent quality or yield.
When we combine Lean and Six Sigma, we get something powerful — a business improvement methodology that maximizes shareholder value by achieving the fastest rate of improvement in Cost, Quality and Customer Satisfaction. It focuses on reducing waste by streamlining operations and reducing defects.
Back to the original question: what does Lean Six Sigma offer professional, experienced MBA students? From a tactical perspective, the methodology gives these students a new array of proven tools, such as the DMAIC framework, Visual Management, Standard Work, Process Mapping, Root Cause Analysis, data analysis tools, and much more. Some or all of these tools have been utilized across all industries to drive improvement, from manufacturing to healthcare to professional services.
But more importantly, in a more strategic sense, Lean Six Sigma training will teach students how to make better data-driven decisions, solve problems more effectively and look at their organizations through a different lens. Furthermore, through a public workshop at UNG, students will be a part of intriguing cross-industry discourse and networking, as professionals from various industry come together for a day of learning and best practice-sharing. The conversation is just as powerful as the content!
A one-day Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification workshop comes with no guarantees of results. But for those that engage themselves and genuinely look to apply the tools to drive positive change, this workshop will be an incredible first step in a lifelong Continuous Improvement journey.
On August 15, Riverwood Associates, in partnership with the Center for the Future of North Georgia in the Mike Cottrell College of Business, will be hosting Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification on UNG’s Gainesville Campus. Click here for more information.