Organizations continually seek to implement business strategies of improving processes, focusing on customer service, reducing waste, and enhancing operational efficiency. Process improvement is necessary to succeed in a highly competitive, global marketplace.

While many businesses understand the need for this strategic approach, the issue is finding people with the expertise to put them into action. That’s why business leaders increasingly look to those with a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt to lead the way on organizational change and process improvement.

Professionals who earn a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification understand how projects can realize strategic business goals. Often working under a Lean Black Belt project leader, Green Belt practitioners play a crucial role in helping companies reap the benefits of continuous process improvement.

Lean Six Sigma Belt Levels

To understand the value of Green Belts, it’s important to see where they fit in the Lean Six Sigma hierarchy. Lean uses a color-coded belt system to signify the knowledge level someone has reached within the methodology. The Green Belt level marks a turning point at which people develop a higher level of expertise.

  • White Belt. Basic working knowledge of Lean Six Sigma methodologies.
  • Yellow Belt. Learn more about Six Sigma principles, help project teams gather data, develop process maps, etc. (often overseen by a Green Belt).
  • Green Belt. Develop expertise in Lean Six Sigma, must successfully complete a project to attain certification.
  • Black Belt. Develop a mastery of Lean Six Sigma tools and techniques and typically serve as project team leaders.
  • Master Black Belt. Must have five years as Black Belt and complete 10 Lean Six Sigma projects.

Because of their expertise, Green Belts perform a critical role on projects and may lead some projects of their own. They understand how to apply Lean tools and techniques to solve complex challenges, as well as Six Sigma process improvement frameworks such as DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control).

Green Belt Jobs and Salaries

Few jobs incorporate Lean Six Sigma Green Belt into the title. Rather, Green Belts typically come from all areas of an organization, including human resources, finance, marketing, sales, and C-suites. 

Green Belts help optimize processes and performance in business operations, focusing on speed, efficiency, and removing waste. They bring specialist expertise and knowledge of structured Lean methodology, equipping them to work on projects that result in efficient operations and improved profits.

Lean certification first became popular in manufacturing but has since spread to other industries as more organizations adopt Lean methods. Professionals earning a Green Belt can apply their expertise to any industry.

Job titles can include process development engineer, project manager, continuous improvement specialist, process improvement specialist, business process improvement manager, and business process director.

No matter what position they hold in an organization, a Green Belt typically increases a professional’s salary. According to Glassdoor, people with a Green Belt earn a national average annual salary of $83,044 per year.

The Eight Wastes of Lean

Green Belts work on projects that facilitate change and achieve strategic goals. These projects can range from identifying new markets for a company’s products or services to finding ways to improve efficiency on the manufacturing floor.

Green Belts often focus on data collection and analysis work for a project. Underlying all their work is adherence to the Lean philosophy of putting the customer first and eliminating any waste from an operation. Waste is defined as any action that does not contribute to an improved customer experience.

The eight wastes of lean are:

  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Non-utilized talent
  • Transportation
  • Excess inventory
  • Motion
  • Extra processing

The Kelley School of Business Lean Green Belt Program

Through the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, executives can earn a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, one of many executive education certificate programs.

The Kelley School of Business delivers the program’s 16 weeks of instruction in four courses, each lasting four weeks. The final course includes a capstone event that involves a process improvement project simulation. The program is designed for established business leaders and managers ready to take the next step in their careers.

The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification curriculum is aligned with the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Green Belt Body of Knowledge. It’s the only online courseware that ASQ has reviewed and approved. Participants completing the program and scoring at least 80 percent on a cumulative exam receive a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification from the Kelley School of Business.