The master black belts are experts who support many improvement teams. The highest level, champion, is generally a senior manager or top executive who is the driving force behind the organization's six sigma effort as well as a mentor to the black belts (The Sigma Belt, 2004).
Six sigma can be successfully employed in virtually any environment, but there are special considerations that facilitate its success in the manufacturing environment. There, it is best preceded by the application of the AUA modelùawareness, understanding, and action. In the awareness phase, awareness of a problem is the catalyst for change. The problem is identified and fully defined before any action is taken. In the understanding phase, an analysis of the problem is undertaken to determine what will remedy it. A plan is developed outlining what will be needed to close the gap and resolve the problem completely. The final phase, action, is when resolution finally occurs. Since it is preceded by awareness and understanding, the action phase is very focused and has an extremely high likelihood of success. This approach develops competency through learning and far surpasses the old putting-out-fires mentality because it looks beyond symptoms to the real problem underlying them and deals with it at its source.
In her book Transactional Six SIGMA and Lean Servicing, Betsi Erlich examines in depth the leveraging of manufacturing concepts to achieve world-class service. Erlich uses real case studies to provide a how-to manual for using six sigma and lean manufacturing methods in a transactional service-oriented environment. 'Lean ServicingÖ'ùa term coined by the authorùdescribes the application of lean manufacturing concepts to transactional and service processes. The term encompasses continuous-flow manufacturing, a concept borrowed from Henry Ford's 'flow manufacturing,' preventive quality, the elimination of all wastes, just-in-time inventory, a...
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