ControlTek Document Control Specialist, John Knapp, Earns Six Sigma Green Belt Certification


ControlTek Six Sigma

Recently, John Knapp, our document control specialist, had the opportunity to enhance his quality management skills through the Lean Six Sigma business management strategy. His participation was made possible through a partnership with Clark Community College in Vancouver, Washington and supplemented by a grant from Washington States' Job Skills Program (JSP)*. John went through a detailed training program to receive his “Green Belt certification”. (Skill levels for certified Lean Six Sigma’s are broken down into Master Black Belt, Black Belt, Green Belt, and occasionally other colors. A Green Belt usually works on smaller projects under the direction of a Black Belt, and the smaller projects often tie into larger projects or company initiatives).

Lean Six Sigma is a business initiative that produces improvements in quality, delivery, customer satisfaction and profitability. The Green Belt training program John received follows the classic Six Sigma DMAIC improvement cycle (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) and covers the American Society for Quality (ASQ) recommended Body of Knowledge for Green Belt training. John is already an ASQ Certified Quality Process Analyst, so this certification is an added benefit for John and ControlTek.


Here is a snapshot of the classic Six Sigma DMAIC improvement cycle:

  • Define the problem, the voice of the customer, and the project goals, specifically.
  • Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data.
  • Analyze the data to investigate and verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Seek out root cause of the defect under investigation.
  • Improve or optimize the current process based upon data analysis using techniques such as design of experiments, poka yoke or mistake proofing, and standardize work to create a new, future state process. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability.
  • Control the future state process to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Implement control systems such as statistical process control, visual workplaces and continuously monitor the process.

All Green Belt trainees were involved in eight one day sessions separated by two to three weeks. All trainees were asked to involve their companies’ upper level management and/or Six Sigma Black belts in choosing an improvement project to work on during and between the training sessions to achieve consensus and buy-in.

"With a Master Black Belt from another company as consultant, we keyed in on a defect reduction program for our most frequent defect: 'insufficient or no solder'. Using the templates provided during training and involving the production workers on our manufacturing floor, we were able to successfully reduce those defects. This was done by modifying the work flow through our processes and prove so statistically," reports John.

All in all, John was able to define the problem, analyze our current defects, measure the process as it was, brainstorm improvement methods with the larger team, create a hypothesis test and prove that we had controlled the process improvements using Chi-Squared and the P-values of our before and after measurements as proof of effectiveness.

After earning his certification as a Green Belt, John and ControlTek and were able to add another tool to our policy of “effectively maintaining and continually improving our quality system.”

*According to CCC, “The Job Skills Program (JSP) is a commitment by the state of Washington to extend its education and training resources so that Washington employers will be provided with a well-trained and skilled workforce. Through dollar-for-dollar matching grants, the Job Skills Program (JSP) funds industry-education partnerships to deliver customized, short-term and job-specific training. The program supports skill training or education that is separate from and in addition to existing workforce education programs.  Each year, the 34 community and technical colleges within Washington compete for the funds available.”

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