Improvement Specialists are responsible for leading the deployment of improvement strategy, for training others and for providing broad and deep technical expertise in advanced and complex Lean and Six Sigma, Project and Change Management principles and tools to enable identification and delivery of improvement opportunities aligned to key business goals.

Improvement Specialists typically report to Improvement Leaders who develop the improvement strategy and governance processes, and who provide technical guidance on advanced analysis. Improvement Specialists manage (directly and/or matrix) Improvement Practitioners who lead smaller improvement projects aligned to the improvement strategy. A typical ratio of Improvement Specialists to Improvement Practitioners in an organisation could be 1:10. In comparison with the work of an Improvement Practitioner, Improvement Specialists draw on their advanced knowledge and skills in applying Improvement principles and tools across a range of programmes/ projects/areas to build the capability of others.  They also swiftly visualise processes, problems and opportunities and use both graphical and statistical analysis to deliver improvements.

They work closely with other Improvement Specialists to support the delivery of improvement strategy, working on multiple simultaneous projects linked to key business objectives, identifying and engaging both subject matter experts and key stakeholders. Their work generally requires them to interact with others but typically involves a high-degree of autonomy.

Typical roles and responsibilities:

  • Leading the local deployment of improvement strategy; supporting delivery of business goals, for example they may model critical process inputs to enable root causes of complex problems to be verified or they may develop bespoke measurement processes to enable the collection of good-quality data in support of change
  • Providing technical expertise in structured Improvement methods and advanced tools such as Multiple Regression and Designed Experiments to analyse relationships between inputs and outputs
  • Leading advanced and/or cross-functional Improvement projects such as process re-engineering and change programmes or reducing defects on complex products.
  • Co-ordinating Practitioner-level Improvement training, activities and projects; for example, they may deliver Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training and coaching to an awarding body accreditation standard
  • Coaching, mentoring and communicating with Improvement Practitioners, business leaders and stakeholders

The role is typically office-based but involves working wherever their improvement activities are focused, for example they could be delivering training in a classroom environment, they could be working on the shop-floor or at a supplier premises.

Roles are commonly found in all industry sectors and functions including Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Telecommunication, Retail, Finance, Food, Drink, Travel and Leisure. Job titles associated with the Specialist occupation include, but are not limited to: Business Improvement Expert, Continuous Improvement Consultant, Process Excellence Manager, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Business Improvement Consultant, Business Transformation Consultant.

Improvement Technicians are responsible for delivery and coaching of improvement activity within an area of responsibility, often associated with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. They can be found across all industry sectors and functions including automotive, banking, engineering, food products, IT, property, retail, telecoms etc.

Typically, Technicians work as a member of an operational team to resolve problems – preventing re-occurrence, engaging others in issues affecting them and to support the improvement of performance. Typical activities include:

  • Engaging team members in the identification of improvement opportunities and relevant countermeasures and controls
  • Initiating and facilitating improvement activities through to confirmed resolution
  • Providing local expertise in business improvement methods and basic tools to team

There are a variety of job titles associated with the occupation, these include, but are not limited to: Business Improvement Co-ordinator, Continuous Improvement Executive, Process Technician, Operational Excellence/Lean Engineer, Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt and Quality Control Analyst.

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. Improvement Practitioners can be found across all sectors and functions including automotive, banking, engineering, food products, IT, property, retail, telecoms etc.

Typically, Practitioners lead smaller projects and/or play a key supporting role in a larger programme – tackling issues that may require swift problem solving, or re-occurring challenges that require in-depth analysis and the implementation of a range of effective and sustainable countermeasures. They are the focal point for all stakeholders and responsible for communication throughout a project. 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.