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Public Affairs : Mastering Lean Six Sigma

Mastering Lean Six Sigma
SE professor earns master black belt status

Story and photos by Kathy Eastwood

Staff Writer

WEST POINT, N.Y. (April 10, 2013) — Col. Donna Korycinski, professor in the U.S. Military Academy Department of Systems Engineering has been teaching the Lean Six Sigma Program of Instruction to cadets and some faculty for the past seven years. In addition to serving as West Point’s Lean Six Sigma Deployment Director and working toward her L6 Master Black Belt certification, her hard work has paid off.

On March 18 Korycinski received her MBB certification from the Office of the Secretary of the Army, Office of Business Transformation. She was recognized by her peers and the Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Timothy Trainor April 8 with a certificate and an MBB Coin.

“This has been seven years coming and it’s been a lot of hard work,” Korycinski said. “This is actually a benefit for West Point in that now I am an asset to the program. I can now begin training and mentoring faculty and staff. I have mentored some, but I haven’t been able to train. I hope to be able to expand the program here, hopefully get more faculty and staff. This is going to be a highly sought after skill.”

The Army’s Lean Six Sigma deployment began in 2005 to create a culture of continuous process improvement. The purpose of this program is to help the Army provide speed and efficiency by eliminating waste, reduce variation and defects and identify where there are redundancies in effort and resources.

West Point adopted the L6 program in 2007 with five initial cadets working toward their green belt by attending classroom learning and completing a project. In this case, they worked on a project with the Cadet Mess in an attempt to accurately forecast the amount of meals needed during optional meals.

To date, 43 cadets have certified as green belts, with an additional six cadets working toward certification this academic year.

“There is one cadet who is working on an independent study,” Korycinski said. “Class of 2014 Cadet Megan Coley is working on a project for the director of human resources to improve the mail routing.”

Green and black belt students receive formal classroom training and must complete a project using the steps of L6 Sigma: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. A green belt certification may take up to three months and six months for a black belt certification.
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Col. Donna Korycinski, professor in the U.S. Military Department of Systems Engineering, received her Black Belt in 2008 and now has achieved her Master Black Belt. She is the 90th person to achieve this milestone in the Army and the first person at West Point to do so. To date, 43 cadets have been certified as Green Belts and six additional cadets are working toward certification this academic year.

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Col. Donna Korycinski received a certificate and a coin from Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Timothy Trainor April 8.