Though there are many sources of Lean and Six Sigma certifications, one of the most historic and significant is the American Society for Quality (ASQ). CapTech has embraced the ASQ process of certification and supports its organizational goals. CapTech currently has over 25 consultants who are ASQ Certified Six Sigma Green Belts, and 5 ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belts. In addition to obtaining these certifications, CapTech also has an extensive internal training program to prepare consultants for the various ASQ certifications. Let me introduce you to the ASQ.

In the world we work in there are a multitude of certifications covering the gamut, but the certification is only as good as the governing body. While many certifications are created by the governing body and are legally protected as property of the governing body, Six Sigma and Lean are different. Six Sigma and Lean certifications are available through many certification bodies, colleges, and companies. These various sources of Lean and Six Sigma education base their curriculum on a common way of thinking and methodology, but the actual process of obtaining and maintaining a certification can vary in rigor. ASQ accepts only those that meet its high standard of rigor.

The ASQ was established in 1946 and gained its notoriety by playing an important role enforcing quality standards achieved during World War II. They have effectively maintained standards, while also considering technology improvements and new innovation. Since 1946, ASQ has gained over 80,000 members internationally. Several key pioneers of Six Sigma and Lean have been honorary members of ASQ, including Walter A. Shewhart, W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. Juran, Kaoru Ishikawa, Genichi Taguchi, and Phillip B. Crosby.

ASQ defines itself in the following way:

"ASQ is a global community of experts and the leading authority on quality in all fields, organizations, and industries.

  • As a professional association, ASQ advances the professional development, credentials, knowledge and information services, membership community, and advocacy on behalf of its more than 85,000 members worldwide.
  • As champion of the quality movement, ASQ members are driven by a sense of responsibility to enrich their lives, to improve their workplaces and communities, and to make the world a better place by applying quality tools, techniques, and systems. (www.asq.org)

In addition to being a certification body and professional association, ASQ also administers the famed Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA). The Malcolm Baldrige award was established by Congress in 1987 and is given out by the President of the United States to companies that have implemented successful quality management. The Malcolm Baldrige award has specific criteria, which benefit companies of any size.

ASQ defines the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence as:

  • Leadership: How upper management leads the organization, and how the organization leads within the community.
  • Strategic planning: How the organization establishes and plans to implement strategic directions.
  • Customer and market focus: How the organization builds and maintains strong, lasting relationships with customers.
  • Measurement, analysis, and knowledge management: How the organization uses data to support key processes and manage performance.
  • Human resource focus: How the organization empowers and involves its workforce.
  • Process management: How the organization designs, manages and improves key processes.
  • Business/organizational performance results: How the organization performs in terms of customer satisfaction, finances, human resources, supplier and partner performance, operations, governance and social responsibility, and how the organization compares to its competitors. (www.asq.org)

In addition to administering the Malcolm Baldrige award and providing certifications, ASQ focuses on its core mission of furthering the education of members and leading the quality movement. Once you are a member of ASQ you are in more than just a historic and credible association, but also a community.