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From London to Brussels: UPS Professionals Get Lean Six Sigma Certified at Home and Abroad

Stephen Duggan and Paul Deeren joined a cohort of UPS employees from around the globe that earned their Lean Six Sigma certification online. Read about their experience with the Green Belt program and how flexibility and engaging, usable content played a key role in their ability to get certified while working full-time.
A Lean Six Sigma student learns in front of a computer

Scheller Lean Six Sigma students have the option of completing their certification in-person or online

Fortune 500 companies around the world rely on the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business for Lean Six Sigma (LSS) training. These certification programs allow organizations to learn how to improve their processes, increase productivity, and drive results using real data. LSS offers practical tools that can be applied across all industries, functions, and services. 

Learn how Paul Deeren and Stephen Duggan, two HR systems experts based in Europe, leveraged the opportunity to get certified online with Scheller’s interactive LSS Green Belt program.  

Stephen Duggan 

Current home: London, England 

Job title: HR Systems Manager, UPS 

Stephen’s background: 

UPS introduced a lot of new functionality into the HR system, and because we're so big, the functionality ends up being a significant project. My team has to project manage new functionality in the system, which includes process redesign as well as the technology. It was decided that the whole of our team at UPS should be better skilled in project management and the different tools and methods available. 

How did you fit the online program into your work week? 

The curriculum consists of four, four-hour sessions. I thought the format worked really well with the sessions being interactive. We then completed assignments afterwards to confirm learning. Those assignments were given at the end of each session to submit by the beginning of the next session.  

The sessions were spread over two weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 90% of the people from our company were in the U.S. The start time in the U.S. was 8:30 a.m., which of course is my lunchtime. So, it finished at 5:30 p.m. my time.  

How was your instructor? 

I had one instructor, Bob Myers. I actually found him quite entertaining, which you need when you do a virtual course. I mean, you really do. In a lot of previous courses I've been through, I'm doing my emails within an hour and just half listening, but I actually stayed engaged the whole way through. 

We learned the theory and then did a practical exercise. And then, quite often, we did a practical assignment afterwards that put it into practice. It was really great. I heard similar feedback from everyone on my team. 

How do you plan to implement what you learned? 

Quite often, I’d be sitting through the course, and I’d find what was being said was kind of what I do already, but it formalizes the structure. When you've done a lot of project management in the past, it acts as a really good reminder of setting out the business case and setting out the problem statement, doing everything in order. And then also formalizing the tools that you use as well. 

I think having a lot of people on the same team going through the same training as well really helps, because when someone makes a statement, you can actually say, “Have you followed this particular process to get to that statement? Show me the documentation. Have you thought about using this tool or that tool to clarify a bit more?”  

It takes some of the opinion out of what you do and makes it a bit more formalized, repeatable, and provable. 

Paul Deeren 

Current home: Brussels, Belgium 

Job title: HR Systems Manager, UPS 

Paul’s background:  

Last year, we went through an HR transformation at UPS. As I moved to the global HR systems team, we rolled out Workday and as a result of that, our management is basically being trained in Six Sigma to change our way of working. 

How did you fit the online program into your work week? 

The way it was structured was very good for those of us in Europe, because it was half a day of work, followed by the online course, and the asynchronous assignment. That really worked well for us, because the training was given in the U.S. in the morning. That meant I did not have to attend at midnight like I did for some other online courses that came out of the U.S.  

I've had courses where you have somebody just talking and threading the slides through, and that was definitely not the case with Scheller’s course. There were good examples given through the course—that's also very important—so it was engaging.  

The materials we had were very good. We had the opportunity to download the Excel files for the exercises we did in order to do some of the statistical reporting that is part of the Six Sigma course. The exercises in the workbooks, the assignments that you had to complete—all those documents were sitting in Canvas. They were very easy to use and to consult.  

There were days in between the different training sessions that allowed us to take care of the assignments and the homework. It was better than having a whole day class for two days and having to do all the homework right after. There was some classroom training followed by some homework, then a bit of time to catch up with your work and then go into the classroom again. That made it very easy to digest. 

How was your instructor? 

Bob Myers ran the online classroom trainings and also gave us feedback on assignments. That worked well because the classes were not lengthy and it was never boring. We also had some breakout sessions, which meant that I got to interact with other people in the course. It made it interesting for me, because typically when I'm attending an online training, I'm only talking to Europeans or only people from UPS. In this class, there were a lot of people from the U.S. on the call and some who were not from UPS. That made the class more interesting. 

The instructor was good, and the course itself was engaging. The assignments were interesting, and I really have the feeling that I took something away from this course. 

How do you plan to implement what you learned? 

I plan to apply these tools to the compensation area, which is the area I'm specialized in. I will look at the existing processes and find ways to improve them.  

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