SME, AME, Shingo Prize join to set lean certification standard

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME), and administrators of the Shingo Prize are collaborating with industrial and academic participants to develop a new “Lean Certification” standard, which is scheduled to be launched in 2005’s fourth quarter.


The Society of Manufacturing Engineers ( SME ), the Association for Manufacturing Excellence ( AME ), and administrators of the Shingo Prize are collaborating with industrial and academic participants to develop a new “Lean Certification” standard, which is scheduled to be launched in 2005’s fourth quarter. The partners add that their constituents encouraged them to collaboration on the standard. The Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing is administered by the Utah State University College of Business. T

he new certification is designed for manufacturing professionals pursuing “Lean” concepts in their careers, and want credentials to show their knowledge and application of Lean principles. Three key aspects of the certification process will include: mentoring by and of certification candidates; a portfolio to show how Lean principles were applied in their organization, as well as documenting results achieved and lessons learned; and an examination that assesses knowledge of Lean principles.


The initiative to create a credentialing process for Lean manufacturing came from a survey of more than 1,100 respondents. Seventy-seven percent reported they’d likely pursue Lean certification, while 83% percent confirmed that Lean certification was critical, very important, or important. They also agreed that a group of professional societies and organizations, in conjunction with industry and universities and Lean consulting professionals, should collaborate to develop an industry standard for Lean certification. Also, 60% of respondents said key Lean leaders at their supplier companies should earn Lean certification.


The partners’ Lean Certification includes of four levels. The first measures knowledge of Lean principles. Candidates at the second level should be able to apply Lean principles and tools to drive improvements, and show measurable results. This is not intended to be an introductory or knowledge survey evaluation. At the third level, Lean practitioners are expected to be senior employees/team leaders, who are capable of applying Lean principles and tools to drive improvements and show measurable results, as well as orchestrate the transformation of a complete value stream. At the highest level of Lean certification, the practitioner is at a point of influence and authority over assets, processes and people, with a solid understanding of all aspects of Lean transformation across the entire enterprise.


SME is the standard’s designated certifying body, and is being held to rigorous standards to ensure certification integrity. Every question on every exam offered is routinely and thoroughly evaluated for its performance, relevance, currency, and integrity. Questions are added only when they have been evaluated, rated, referenced and mapped to elements of the body of knowledge. The bodies of knowledge for every certification are periodically evaluated and updated, which makes SME's certification products 'nationally-normed' regardless of location. This continuous improvement process and national norming differentiates a true certification exam from a certificate program exam.


Industry leaders involved in SME's Technical Community Network (TCN), specifically the Product and Process Design Management Community, along with the Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee, were instrumental in initiating, discussing and developing the collaborative process for this new Lean certification.


Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor


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