Syracuse Universitys Martin J. Whitman School of Management is joining with Brambles Ltd. of Australia to develop a curriculum for a new three-credit course on Six Sigma, the practice of systematically improving processes by eliminating defects. The new course, to be called Lean Six Sigma, will be launched in the fall 2007 semester and incorporates Six Sigma training and project internships for select undergraduate and graduate-level students.

We are offering this new course and training to provide students with a better understanding of process improvement using the Six Sigma tools, and we believe it will make our students more attractive to potential employers and result in higher salaries. The Whitman School understands the importance of providing students with the academic equivalent to on-the-job training, and is using programs like Lean Six Sigma to differentiate our programs and our students, said Gary Lapoint, assistant professor of supply chain management and co-director of the H.H. Franklin Center for Supply Chain Management.

Brambles and its CHEP operating unit are working with the school to develop the content and certification requirements for the course, and professionals from Whitman School of Managements Supply Chain Program are also contributing to design the class format. Lean Six Sigma is being offered to undergraduates who have finished their core degree requirements plus two semesters of statistics, and to students studying for their MBA and Masters in Engineering degrees.

It is critical for Brambles and other industrial companies to have a pipeline of qualified people as a basis for recruiting our future managers. Partnerships like the one we have with Syracuse will help accomplish this while providing Brambles with valuable insight into the latest developments in supply chain management processes, said Julie Brignac, vice president of quality and Six Sigma for Brambles.

Upon completion of the fall term, successful students will receive their Orange Belt, equivalent to the White Belt but changed to reflect the schools colors. A Green Belt is awarded to students who complete the spring project, which involves examining processes on the Syracuse campus, including activities like service scheduling and logistics. Finally, summer internships around the world are offered and students complete Six Sigma projects for private and public organizations to earn their Black Belt.

Academic-corporate collaboration is the way of the future, and we look forward to working with Brambles to ensure they get as much out of the process as our students, said Don Harter, assistant professor of management information systems in the Whitman School.

The first course has 12 students, a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students all of whom were invited to join the class by the programs leaders.

I realize how much of an asset you can be to an organization if you have the capability to drive process improvements, says Jonathan Huette, a junior in the Whitman School of Management. Learning the Six Sigma process and methodology will provide me with the framework, tools and structured approach needed to run successful improvement projects in my future career within Supply Chain.