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.