UB's Six Sigma Students Are Available to Help Companies Boost Performance

Release Date: March 25, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. Western New York companies have the opportunity to improve their operations and achieve measurable gains by hosting students enrolled in the University at Buffalo's Six Sigma Black Belt Student Certification program in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

A record number of UB seniors and graduate students have applied for the 2011 - 2012 Six Sigma Black Belt Student Certification program, which is administered by UB TCIE (The Center for Industrial Effectiveness) under the university's Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department. The program is in its seventh year.

Companies of any size and type may sponsor one or more students. Students pursue a two-semester project targeted at achieving process excellence by eliminating variation. They are supported by a UB Master Black Belt mentor with varied and extensive industry experience, who works with company officials to identify a project that has defined outcomes and achievable results.

"When the economy is struggling, it's the perfect time to optimize your business strategies and operational efficiencies, and revisit your market presence," said Timothy Leyh, TCIE executive director.

The program, one of a handful of Six Sigma programs offered by U.S. institutions of higher education, has been steadily increasing enrollment among both U.S. and international students, who cite the program's pairing of university resources with industry as particularly attractive.

Rakesh Nagi, PhD, UB chair of the ISE Department, said that the scientific problem-solving skills developed through the program provide participants with a distinguishing characteristic when entering the workforce.

Companies benefit by tackling an issue that has not received proper attention because "they either don't have the expertise or the time to do it," Nagi said. With the UB partnership, "they can basically do it on a shoestring. The program is also an opportunity to evaluate a student who might be considered as an eventual hire."

Students work 12 to 16 hours per week onsite at the company, helping to increase efficiency. Some recent projects include the following:

-- Two students worked to streamline hiring practices at a non-profit organization, ultimately reducing the overall cycle time for hiring new employees by 40 percent. This was achieved by increasing the candidate interview acceptance rate, as well as reducing required recruiter time, interview time and documentation efforts.

-- A student's project at a manufacturing company focused on reducing warranty costs by turning attention to test data versus customer experience. Research led to formulating the next steps toward cost reduction, which is expected to be between $130,000 to $224,000 per year.

-- While establishing a workload monitoring system to ensure appropriate care, a system error uncovered at a healthcare organization led to an increase of $5 million in revenue.

The cost of sponsorship is $4,900 per student. Companies interested in the program should contact Director of Business Development Gary Simon at 716-645-8837 or ggsimon@buffalo.edu by April 1 to secure students to start for either a summer or fall start.

A program of the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, TCIE is Western New York's bridge to excellence by providing a dynamic link between UB's expert resources and the region's business community. TCIE's core focus on operational excellence drives continuous improvement, and its engineering solutions ignite innovation and technological advancement. For more information on how TCIE can assist Western New York businesses, go to http://www.tcie.buffalo.edu or call 645-8800.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
News Content Manager
Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBmednews