Improvement Techniques

Practitioner Level 4 Apprenticeship

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Improvement Practitioners use a blend of Lean and Six Sigma, project and change management principles and tools to identify and lead the delivery of change across organisational functions and processes.

Key responsibilities may include:

  • Leading small projects and/or play a key supporting role in a larger programme
  • Tackling issues that may require swift problem solving
  • Re-occurring challenges that require in-depth analysis
  • The implementation of a range of effective and sustainable countermeasures.
  • Identifying potential opportunities, diagnosing issues, proposing solutions and implementing changes and controls
  • Coaching teams and sharing best practice
  • When leading projects they may manage small teams ensuring motivation and momentum, and be responsible for the successful

Upon successful completion of your Improvement Practitioner Level 4 Apprenticeship with Sigma UK Group you will also qualify with Level 2 functional skills in Maths and English and the opportunity to achieve a value- added Level 4/5Business Improvement Techniques.

Typical activities include:

  • Identifying potential opportunities, diagnosing issues, proposing solutions and implementing changes and controls
  • Coaching teams and sharing best practice
  • When leading projects they may manage small teams ensuring motivation and momentum, and be responsible for the successful

There are a variety of job titles associated with the occupation, these include, but are not limited to: Business Improvement Practitioner, Continuous Improvement Manager, Process Excellence Manager, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Quality Control Senior Analyst.

  • Compliance: Legislative and customer compliance requirements including health and safety
  • Team formation & leadership: Decision-making techniques e.g. consensus, authority rule, majority rule
  • Project management: Business case, risk analysis and management, toll-gate reviews, work breakdown structure, lessons learned, pilot studies, project review, process management and measures, benefits tracking
  • Presentation & reporting: Reporting templates, message mapping, case for change
  • Change management: Stakeholder identification, analysis and management (RACI). Change curve, resistance characteristics, change sponsorship, compelling point of view
  • Principles & methods: Business value of Lean and Six Sigma improvement methods - 8D, practical problem solving, Define Measure Analyse Improve Control, Design for Six Sigma
  • Project selection & scope: Y=f(x) equation (outputs are the result of inputs), business scorecard cascade
  • Problem definition: Cost of Poor Quality, problem analysis models such as Is/Is Not
  • Process mapping & analysis: Swim lane, value stream map, performance metrics – continuous, Parameter diagram, Takt time, Overall Equipment Effectiveness, theory of constraints principles, Kanban
  • Data analysis – basic tools: Spreadsheets and pivot table analysis, statistical analysis software
  • Measurement systems: Repeatability and Reproducibility principles
  • Basic statistics & measures: Control charts - attribute data, principles of normality
  • Data analysis - statistical methods: Measures of central tendency and spread
  • Process capability & performance: Capability analysis – continuous data for normal distribution
  • Root cause analysis: Key principles including symptoms, failure-mode, potential/verified cause, critical inputs, escape point. Graphical representation of data with dot, scatter and box plots
  • Experimentation: Active versus passive analytics, design of experiments, experiment plan
  • Identification & prioritisation: Selection and prioritisation matrix, Failure Mode and Effects Analysis
  • Compliance: Work in accordance with organisational controls and statutory regulations
  • Communication: Speak and write clearly. Influence others, question effectively. Plan and deliver meetings presenting insight to engage audiences
  • Coaching: Observe, listen, use questioning, provide feedback and spot learning opportunities
  • Project management: Define, sequence, plan and schedule activities with phases and milestones. Estimate effort and duration. Create and update project charter. Review progress
  • Change management: Sponsorship contract, surface and manage resistance, build compelling narratives for change, assess change impact
  • Principals and Methods: Select and apply a structured method and appropriate improvement tools engaging with subject matter experts to deliver business benefits
  • Project selection and Scoping: Support the identification of improvement opportunity and the scoping of these projects
  • Problem definition: Support development of problem/opportunity statements
  • Voice of the customer: Support application of techniques to identify and prioritise customers, their requirements and ensure balance against the stated and unstated needs of the business (Voice of the Business)
  • Process mapping & analysis: Process map to measure and analyse flow and value. Identify interfaces, functional responsibilities and ownership. Use insight to identify potential opportunities and map future state
  • Lean tools: Seek in-process waste through understanding of value within the value stream
  • Measurements systems: Plan, carry out and assess results of a measurement system study
  • Data acquisition for analysis: Develop a sampling strategy
  • Basic statistics & measures: Use graphical analysis to understand distribution and stability
  • Data analysis-statistical methods: Identify data-types and select analysis methods and tools. Assess time series data stability and analyse making relevant insight
  • Process capability & performance: Select methods and metrics for analysis
  • Root cause analysis: Select and apply the appropriate graphical tool dependent on the data type to identify patterns, trends and signals to establish hypothesis
  • Experimentation & optimisation: Plan designed experiment with clear objectives, and appropriate levels of Measurement Systems Analysis, analyse experiment data and optimise
  • Identification & prioritisation: Identify and prioritise factors, ideas and solutions
  • Data analysis – SPC: Select and apply appropriate tools for ongoing monitoring and control. Analyse and interpret control charts
  • Benchmarking: Conduct structured benchmarking to support target setting
  • Sustainability & control: Identify failure modes and embed learning from improvements
  • Drive for results: Continuous drive for change and encourages others to deliver results across functional areas capturing and standardising best practice
  • Team-working: Awareness of own and others’ working styles. Creates high performing team
  • Professionalism: Promotes a moral, legal and socially appropriate working manner, aligns behaviours to the organisations values. Maintains flexibility to needs of project
  • Continuous development: Proactively seeks and acts on feedback. Reflects on performance and has a desire for development. Adapts quickly to working with new situations/stakeholders/challenges
  • Safe working: Ensures safety of self and others, speaks out to challenge safety issues