Six Sigma is a philosophy developed for the management of highly complex business and manufacturing enterprises.
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The Six Sigma Black Belt certification process consists of questions about the Six Sigma philosophy and organizational goals, measurement and key profit drivers, the implementation of lean concepts into manufacturing, and the elimination of obstacles that can derail progress.
A second section of the Six Sigma examination consists of questions within the general category of operations management. This component of the exam requires the test taker to analyze customer data using graphs and statistical tools, to identify degrees of involvement in a process, and to be familiar with quality control techniques related to customer satisfaction.
There are nine questions in the first section of the certification test. These are devoted to the philosophy of Six Sigma; the integration of lean; the interrelationship between operational activities like production, accounting, and design; and the impact this interaction can have on profit. The nine questions in this section focus also upon the leadership that management must provide in setting the direction for structural, cultural, and operational goals. This section of the test requires the student to understand the roles of various Six Sigma levels.
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There are also nine questions on the process management aspects of the business enterprise, requiring the test taker to understand and apply Six Sigma concepts to customer satisfaction, quality and cost control, safety, and product delivery. This section of the certification test entails benchmarking, or business performance measurement in the financial and quality areas. In the financial area, test takers may be asked to answer questions about market share, ROI, revenue growth, cost-benefit analysis, and related material.
Sixteen questions are focused on team formation and team management. To succeed in this area, the test taker will need knowledge of team motivation and communication techniques; time management; and performance evaluation.
Fifteen questions ask for definitions of the customer, customer requirements and feedback, the project charter, and tracking by means of schedules and Gantt charts. Twenty-six questions deal with statistical measurement of all operational and process-management activities, while another 24 questions relate to analysis of multivariate tools, regression, and correlation coefficient and hypothesis testing.
Process improvement is the focus of the next 23 questions of the certification test. Test takers must be familiar with concepts of waste elimination, cycle-time reductions, project design, and risk analysis. Finally, there are 21 questions about process control and other control tools.