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The American Society for Quality (ASQ) joined Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter at the Pentagon recently to present Lean Six Sigma black belt certifications to 44 Naval service personnel. Ronald D. Atkinson, ASQ president elect, represented ASQ at the event.
The Department of the Navy (DoN) earlier this year teamed up with ASQ to develop the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Logistics Nicholas Kunesh is spearheading the program. In utilizing this certification process, the Navy is showing a strong commitment to the resources and expertise needed to effectively implement Lean Six Sigma, deliver cost-effective readiness and capability, and create a culture of continuous process improvement.
ASQ is the world’s leading authority on quality and an expert in certification and standards development. The agreement represents the collaboration of the DoN and ASQ to develop a testing standards program geared to the unique needs of the Navy and Marine Corps team. Rather than using several Six Sigma certification services, the Navy will now work exclusively with ASQ.
“We are excited about this opportunity to help the Navy provide a consistent certification program. In the end, the certification process will assist in facilitating a common Six Sigma language within the branch, and between the Navy and its private-sector suppliers,” said Atkinson.
Doug Smith, process improvement manager, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Lean Six Sigma College in Norfolk, Va., noted, “ASQ has had an internationally recognized Six Sigma certification program in place for years. We wanted to take full advantage of the Society’s program and offer a certification based on the Navy’s Body of Knowledge for Black Belts, which integrates Lean, Six Sigma, and Theory of Constraints. What ASQ brings to the table is an external accreditation and validation of our training programs that is consistent with industry.”
“Going forward, we expect that these black belts will become leaders among their peers in the Navy, encouraging others to learn the Six Sigma methodology and to attain certification,” said Atkinson.
Earlier this year, ASQ conducted pilot certification program testing with the 44 certification recipients at eight sites around the country. Following the pilot program, ASQ will conduct another certification exam in late September 2006 for an expected 100 participants. There are 750 to 800 Navy personnel who are currently working on Six Sigma black belt programs and who would be eligible for certification.
Since the 1990s, commercial businesses have used Lean Six Sigma methodologies and tools to drive efficiency improvements, increase employee morale, and improve customer satisfaction.
The Navy and Marine Corps Acquisition Enterprise that designs, develops, builds, and supports the U.S. fleet of ships, aircraft, and combat systems, recognizes the importance of providing certification through an authoritative third-party source such as ASQ. Multiple Navy commands were involved with development of this process.
The American Society for Quality (www.asq.org) has been the world's leading authority on quality for 60 years. With more than 90,000 individual and organizational members, the professional association advances learning, quality improvement, and knowledge exchange to improve business results, and to create better workplaces and communities worldwide. As champion of the quality movement, ASQ offers technologies, concepts, tools, and training to quality professionals, quality practitioners, and everyday consumers, encouraging all to Make Good Great. ASQ has been the sole administrator of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award since 1991.