Hess, the energy company formerly know as Amerada Hess, got its first taste of Six Sigma from GE back in the year 2000. GE came in and gave a presentation but Six Sigma didn’t stick. Four years later it was introduced in the Marketing & Refining division of the company as a CEO driven initiative. Since 2005 the program has been expanding globally to other divisions such as the Refining joint venture with HOVENSA, and Exploration & Production.

Noteworthy is the internal Six Sigma certification requirement at Hess. It is one of the most rigorous I have seen. Black Belts must complete a five-week training course in DMAIC, complete at least three projects, and score at least a 75 percent on a qualifying exam. With those certification guidelines there is no doubt that Hess Black Belts know their Sigma. For Master Black Belts the certification requirement is set to a high standard as well. The MBBs must complete nine-weeks of training, score better than 90 percent on a test, and they must have led numerous Six Sigma projects as Black Belts.

While Six Sigma is still early in deployment at Hess, senior leadership believes that Six Sigma will have a considerable impact on all aspects of the company:

“It’s important for employees to know that Six Sigma is more than a quality-improvement program – we’ve all seen a lot of those. It’s far more than that. Six Sigma will become the way we work. It has the power to significantly impact our financial performance, enable employees to learn new skills that will help their personal and professional development, and change the culture of our company.” – John Douglas, VP Process Excellence. (From the Hess LEAN Six Sigma Report)

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