Professional Certifications from Transformance Advisors
Let’s review the current situation facing people seeking a professional certification in lean or six sigma.
- The historical approach to earning a lean or six sigma certification is through a small education, training, and consulting organization. These types of organizations are typically focused on a niche specialty, such as lean or six sigma. They are run and staffed by seasoned experts who have the experience and ability to transfer knowledge to their clients. These niche organizations have reached millions of people in all types of job functions and industries.
- A more recent addition, to the mix, comes from professional organizations representing a niche profession, such as quality control or mechanical engineering. For these organizations, the professional certifications in lean or six sigma have been a nice addition to their portfolio, as well as, a new revenue source. It’s unclear how much success these organizations are having. It’s even less clear if they are reaching beyond the job functions typically represented by their members.
- A recent phenomenon is a concept called lean six sigma. There is widespread disagreement concerning the impact and value of this forced combination. Our team, at Transformance Advisors, is on the side of the debate which believes lean six sigma is just marketing hype. This view makes some people angry. But, it’s clear to see how so-called lean six sigma proponents are, generally, former six sigma trainers seeking to claim they have a new and improved program. Our assessment of the available lean six sigma materials shows they are mostly six sigma with a few lean topics added for good measure. These courses do not incorporate the far more important aspects of a what it takes to accomplish a lean transformation.
Let’s explore the effects of the current situation.
- The two biggest process improvement techniques have been fairly robust in responding to new and emerging opportunities. The niche organizations have been the best at responding to market needs. It is unclear how the professional organizations have kept current. They seem to have invested in initial product development, but not in the need for rapid response to new developments.
- The old “lean manufacturing” has transitioned to “lean transformation” for all types of organizations. Lean is now the number 1 program used by retail, healthcare, financial, governmental, and other organizations. Only someone, who has been lost in woods for 2 decades, would refer to lean manufacturing.
- Six sigma has also made the transition to service organizations. There are great success stories where the data analysis power of six sigma has been applied to the millions and billions of transactions in financial and healthcare organizations. We are also seeing enormous potential for six sigma to expand with the explosion of the concept called big data.
- Old habits die hard. Some of the lean and six sigma tools, which offer minimal value, are still hanging around. We won’t get into the list, as it would just make a few traditionalists angry. It takes thoughtful discussion, and reflection, for people to let go of some tool they have used for 30 years. Now, they probably only use the tool in a training class and never use it during an improvement project. But – that’s the point!
The current situation and the effects on lean and six sigma certifications has not gone unnoticed by our team at Transformance Advisors.
- We make significant investments in keeping our lean and six sigma materials current and relevant. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we take a hard look at the topics and concepts included in various courses and certifications. It’s foolish to simply add more and more to any certification program – you need to, routinely, prune back the less relevant.
- We have completely integrated educational programs and certification exams. The relevant, current, and required knowledge is taught in our courses and tested on our exams. This approach leverages the historical advantages provided by niche organizations – a competitive advantage over programs which publish a list of one million topics which “might” be included on some exam.
- Our board of advisors takes an active role in assessing the content and quality of our programs. They bring perspectives which ensure we meet the needs of organizations seeking to improve their performance and the skills of their people.
- We push the envelope in terms of knowledge delivery. Our state-of-the-art learning management system is just one example where we have developed courses which leverage the latest technology.
The results of our efforts have been tremendous.
- Our certification exams are routinely offered by schools, such as Loyola University Chicago, Louisiana State University Shreveport, and the University of Northern Colorado. Additional schools are coming soon and will bring exponential growth.
- Our lean program is #1 in Colorado, where our public events sell-out and private events are growing year after year. Our annual alumni event is one of the biggest and best gatherings of lean experts in the state.
- Our six sigma program has been enthusiastically received. This program brings an exceptional value to our alumni and new customers.
- Private branding of our courses and exams is another booming market. These collaborations extend our impact with molding the standards for lean and six sigma programs.