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Cost of Black Belts

Six Sigma – iSixSigma Forums Old Forums General Cost of Black Belts

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  • #28241

    A.H.
    Participant

    Please help: If I put in place 10 BB’s, will they work fulltime on their projects and does this mean I have to hire 10 additional people to replace the BB’s in their previous positions? This would be a significant investment and then I would have to train 10 new persons for the BB’s former positions.

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    #70033

    Jaran S.
    Participant

    Having read your massage, I think your understanding is correct.
    1. Yes, having 10 Black Belts cost a lot. However, it is reasonable if you can get enough return on investment. You have to estimate what you will gain from this big investment (may be difficult to estimate)
    2. I am not sure how big your organization is. Rule of thumb is having 1 black belt per 100 employee. Do you have about 1,000 employee?
    3. If you can not allocate 10 full time black belts or you are not sure how much you will gain from your black belt. Then I recommend :
    Start from 2-3 full time black belts from your best personnel first and provide the best support to this first wave black belts. Then you will see the results and have some feedback. Then you will know how to continue.
    Jaran S.

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    #70041

    anonymous BB
    Participant

    In my (very large) organization, they did not allow the people designated for BB training to be replaced by their “home” departments, nor did they transfer the personnel budgets, evaluation responsibilities or Champion role, even though projects were selected all over the place organizationally. .  In the technical / design/engineering areas, that means there was about a 7% hit to headcount working on the “everyday” tasks.  
    After 2 years, they have had to backpeddle a little and now say that it is up to the managers of the organization to appropriately “leverage” their BB’s to accomplish their individual department and group objectives as well as the objectives for BB savings / quality improvement.  This has resulted in seriously mixed messages to the BB’s and an even more huge problem with project selection. (The central 6 Sigma organization set one group of projects as top priority for BB’s, but only about 25% of the BB’s work for departments where these projects support “local” objectives.)
    The necessity of replacing the BB’s depends quite a lot on how lean your organization already is, and how well cross-trained the people are. You can phase in BB’s to minimize the “start up” impact on your organization, though I strongly suggest that you shouldn’t have less than 3 per site in order to give them a community or team identity. 
    Also, get the metrics right – are the BB’s supposed to support their old groups’ objectives, customer satisfaction, cost reduction or what.  Decide, communicate this decision clearly to all parties, and act consistent with the decision until or unless you change the policy. 
    Good luck.

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    #70109

    nsilva
    Participant

    The benefit you will gain from six sigma will far more outweights the cost of investing full time BB. Just think about 4 projects per BB a year at $250,000 savings per project, that’s a million dollars potential savings per BB. how much do you pay a BB a year? So, the savings can be 10 – 20 fold more per year.

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    #70119

    Cone
    Participant

    Wow, it’s amazing that you know this guy can save $250,000 per project without knowing anything about his business, his revenue, his profitability, …This is just hype, you cannot know the opportunity without knowing the organization.

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    #70120

    Gary Cone
    Participant

    There is no set answer that is correct for every organization. The only real constant is that the role of change agent (what a Black Belt really is) requires focus. So if you do not fully remove and reassign these folks to focus full time on the role of the chane agent, your organization (note I am not assugning this to the Black Belt) will have to learn to set aside focused time for these folks to accomplish their jobs. Most organizations are not disciplined enough or mature enough to do this. That is why most successes are where the job is full time.Read the book Adhocracy by James Watermann, take a hard, honest look at the maturity of your organization and you will know the right thing to do. You are the leader — LEAD!

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    #70125

    Vallejo
    Participant

    Hi..I am a Black Belt ..I think that hire 10 persons are the worst that you can do, because that people has enought experience in your proceess.  In your place, I had trainned the best 10 people in analysis, leadership, statistics, etc..that you hace in your company and they could be the new BB.
    Carlos.

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    #70126

    John Gross
    Participant

    You have brought up one of the biggest opposition most plant managers have to implementing six sigma.  They want to achieve the dramatic savings without adding headcount.  Additionally, many plant manager’s think that they are supposed to train all their engineers as blackbelts.
    I suggest you follow Harry’s original model and create dedicated blackbelts.  Strategically pick who these people are and where they are placed.  Above all else, make the dedicated blackbelts pay their way and make sure they conduct the projects necessary to achieve the programsavings.

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    #70128

    MSILVA
    Participant

    Hi Carlos
     
    I would like to know where do you work, in what company and if you can give more information about your traning program.
     
    Manuel Silva López
    Forjas Spicer
    [email protected]

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    #70130

    John Noguera
    Participant

    John,If I am correct in assuming that you are the author of the article “A Road Map to Six Sigma Quality” (Quality Progess, Nov 2001), I wanted to commend you for a fine piece of work!

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    #70159

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    I am not really sure what is wrong with this website but it is dropping answers. This is my second response to this question.
    On the idea that a plant manager or anyone else looses a resource it is rediculous. When was the last time you heard anybody claim they had to many people (at an operations level). If in fact you chose the best people you had and put them to work on the worst problems you had who got lost? There should have been someone working the “worst problem” to begin with. If your best person wasn’t working it to begin with you might want to ask the manager what they were thinking about to begin with.
    On the number of people it is very dependent on the culture of your company. Lots of people toss around hard numbers. In the SS provider game if you can’t fire off a number you frequently loose out to the snake oil sales person or the person who has seen one whole deployment and believes they have the whole thing figured out.
     
    Before you even deploy anything take a look at what you have done in the past. If you were unsuccessful at deploying something else and don’t know why, guess what. You will probably be unsuccess ful again. If you do not have a formal chamnge program with metrics in place it probably won’t work.
    You really decide how many BB’s you need by how much change the company can deal with. If you want to kill your SS program fast go train a bunch of BB’s and then find out your company has no idea how to implement change. 

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    #70175

    denton
    Participant

    There are two main models–full time Black Belts, that do nothing but go around solving problems wherever they are sent, and part time Black Belts that stay in their own departments, and work on problems there.  We followed the second modoel, and think it is far superior to the first.
    We concluded that all parts of the company are a little screwed up, so there was no sense in sending people from one department with problems to another.  We appoint and train Champions in the Belt’s existing reporting structure, and make sure the projects flow from the VP’s objectives.
    Yes, I’ve had pracitioners/consultants who have an almost religious thing about full time Black Belts practically go into cardiac arrest over our model, but we have the results to demonstrate that it works extremely well–3% of gross sales to the bottom line, every year for three years.
    There are many advantages:
    1.  Minimal to nonexistent turnover due to completion of a two year “tour of duty”.
    2.  Complete alignment of Six Sigma goals with company goals.
    3.  Managers delighted, and not feeling intruded upon.
    4.  Six Sigma is more easily assimilated into the DNA of the company. 
    The downside is that you don’t get nearly as many projects per Belt–usually one good one, and perhaps a second.  But it doesn’t matter.  Our average project pays out $600K, and, compared to that and the cost of turnover, training and mentoring is cheap.  After their formal project, the Belts just keep on applying their new tools as part of their regular day job.
    Denton Bramwell, Sr. Master Black Belt
    [email protected]
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    #70182

    Eoin Barry
    Participant

    Mike –
    Nice message, I particularly like the last two paragraphs.
    Best of luck,
    Eoin

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    #70184

    Jeff Ayland
    Participant

    Here, here, Mike,
    I am glad there are some folks that see it this way.
    It is amazing how much more you “think” something is going to benefit you, especially if you have paid for it!!
    As for “losing” staff, well, if you have been spinning your wheels for years and years, maybe your better “losing” some of those folks?
    I am being a bit cynical there, i don’t truly believe, that you shoud chop out folks willy nilly.
    After all, these (mainly well meaning) folks don’t know what they don’t know… 
    Enough said…!!
    Cheers,
    Jeff.

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    #70187

    Chris Trimble
    Participant

    The answer to your question is NO!  We launched 6 Sigma in February 2001 where I work.  In the first phase of training 14 BB were trained from my department.  These people were removed from their current jobs and placed 100% on projects.  The work was reallocated within the department without missing a beat.  Currently, as projects are being completed we are actually freeing up more people, due to project results, to work on what actually fulfills the V.O.C.  Was it easy?  No, but once everyone got over the ‘how am I going to take on the extra work’ syndrome we found that the work got done and we actually became acretive in November.  So in nine months we launched 6 Sigma corporate wide, and continued to get the current work done, and also completed enough value added projects to pay for the training and still add to the bottom line.

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    #70190

    Dunne
    Member

    Gary your comments are way off target.  If your company follows the Six Sigma philosophy, every project would save at least $250K if the project was properly defined.
    And in answer to the original question posted, our company does not replace people who have been promoted to black belt status.  All managers have to sign off that the person will not be replaced within the department.  The black belt’s salary/expenses still come out of their budget until the next fiscal year when it is assigned to the champion’s budget.  Since we are such a lean organization here, we are starting to see some negative effects from this!

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    #70193

    Mark P
    Participant

    I keep hearing that a BB can save a company $250,000 per year but I haven’t seen any “hard” evidence.  If this savings is true, why isn’t everyone doing it? I am trying to get my company to buy in to the Sigma methodology.  Yet I am having trouble quantifying the payback and the types of projects that will provide these dollars to the bottom line.  Someone Please Advise.

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    #70262

    Cone
    Participant

    Suzanne,You know what they say — where is your data? The $250,000 is just hype. And the only data you make think you have is just from hypsters.I believe in six sigma, but I also know that potential savings per project depends on the company and the type of product / market / …..

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    #70358

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Gary,
    Granted the $250,000 per project figure is not some “industry standard” per se but this figure has worked as a ROT for many, larger, companies.  It is not just hype.  If Six Sigma is implemented properly the hard savings per Black Belt should be in the $800,000 to $1,000,000 per year range.  This is the payback that most companies are expecting.
    Because our investment (in terms of training costs and salaries) is significantly less in South America, we have lowered are per project goal to $100,000 for South America.  We have also, on a case by case basis, agreed to look at projects that are less than our $200,000 criteria and approve them if they can be completed quicker than most projects and if there may be some significant “soft” savings associated with them.
    If the possibility of significant savings per project does not seem realistic to some companies (such as smaller companies) a possible course of action would be to implement more of a “green belt” program and call these projects green belt projects. Black belts would oversee these projects and work on larger projects at the same time (there would be fewer black belts).
    In many of our plants we simply do not have many $250,000 projects.  Most of the projects that I am working on involve, at minimum, 3-10 plants.  Most of our other black belts have similar projects (i.e. projects that span multiple plants).  That is the only way we are meeting our $200,000 per project criteria.
    -Mark-
     

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    #70359

    Sinnicks
    Participant

    Denton,
    Doesn’t it make more sense to utilize a person who is saving over $600,000 per project full-time on these types of projects rather than only part-time?
    In our company we are targeting $800,000 hard savings per year per black belt.  With a burdened salary of say, $80,000, that gives us a 10:1 ratio of savings to burden.  What manager in his/her right mind would give other duties (such as QS9000 internal audits) to that person?
    Respectfully,
    Mark
     

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