• Yellow Belt Training on Steroids: Kick Starting Your Lean Six Sigma Program

Yellow Belt Training on Steroids: Kick Starting Your Lean Six Sigma Program


Richard J. Titus, Principal and Adjunct Faculty, Titus Consulting and Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, USA


Six Sigma Training, Program Management, Belt Certification





The Crayola Company, which started its Six Sigma program in 2007, requested the creation of a customized Yellow Belt (YB) training program beyond the traditional YB training goals of familiarizing team members with the DMAIC process. The voice of customer regarding the creation of this new program was provided by one of Crayola’s Engineering Managers. This leader’s vision and training requirements was to provide a program which focused on the hands-on use of the critical tools and concepts. These topics included data demographics, process capability, MSA, hypothesis testing and control charts using Minitab. Crayola’s certified Black Belts and Master Black Belts helped create training modules and deliver the training. In order to ensure the learning process met these requirements, participants had to pass a certification exam in order to earn YB certification. Besides providing the participants with knowledge and application of the Six Sigma foundational tools and principles, the certified Yellow Belts often continued their Lean Six Sigma journey going on earn higher Six Sigma Belt certifications.

Since the initial offering, this YB program has been customized, modified and delivered at two additional companies. The program modifications include the addition of team-based projects completed in conjunction with the Yellow Belt training. The program consists of 5 4-hour training sessions reviewing the key tools and techniques utilized in the DMAIC process and 5 4-hour team project based working sessions. Prior to the start of the training course, company management selects and defines projects for the teams to work on. The projects are then integrated into the training program beginning with the Define phase. Following the completion each session, the teams are given “homework” assignments to gather process data, assess measurement systems, etc. related to their projects which will be used in the next training session. This focused learning provides the benefits of seeing their organization’s data come to life in the DMAIC process using company data on a real projects. The projects are very focused and tightly scoped in order to tie project completion to the end of the training. Examples from several of the projects, including the results from the statistical tools, will be reviewed. Teams met every 2 to 3 weeks for a 4-hour training session and a corresponding 4-hour project team working session. The project benefits have returned financial benefits for the companies easily justifying the cost and resources dedicated to the YB program. These YB project successes have helped kick start the companies’ Lean Six Sigma programs leading to the launching of more projects and higher belt training.