Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lean Training & Certification

The question that comes up often when I visit with clients, “Where can I go to get the right training to become a certified Lean Practitioner?" Well, to answer this question you have to understand that there is no definitive standard for lean training or certification. Anyone offering lean training and certification is using generally accepted training materials that have become accepted over the years. There is no actual certification body that is giving guidance to training companies that are teaching lean principles and certifying them. 

The truth is that anyone who has been involved with implementing lean principles for 15 years or more understands what is necessary in terms of the lean knowledge and competency levels. Unfortunately, over the years different employers have developed different standards as far as which training and certification bodies they will and will not recognize. It is even worse in the Six Sigma world. A good example is you can have a Six Sigma Black Belt certificate from many of the recognized institutions in the U.S. but the Army will not recognize them. They want you to take and pass their own Black Belt certification exam.    

So, what does a person do? How can they know they are getting the right training? How do they know if the certificate is acceptable to other businesses?    

The truth is they don't know for sure. There is not any way of knowing. They must do their own research and look at the credentials of the person or persons working with any organization that is offering lean training and certification. Check their bio to see what experience they have in applying lean principles in different sectors. Find out what results they have delivered to their clients. Ask questions! Anyone who is not willing to answer your questions or tell you about their background is someone you probably don’t want to work with anyway. Walk away and save your time and most important your money.

So what are employers really looking for in a person who is applying for a Lean Implementation position? Many will ask for education, then certification, then experience and finally examples of results when applying lean principles into a business environment. If you can show great results for several projects with different companies, this will help. I think results are the most important factor when deciding if a person can apply their lean knowledge. Unfortunately, the person making the decision about employing you or not may not have any experience of lean principles. Therefore, they may be more interested in which college or university you attended.  

 Lean principles teach us to be prepared and develop a proactive awareness to prevention. To get the best training find the people who know about lean principles. These people are those who have years of experience in the business of implementing lean principles. Lean Certification Online is a great website because they explain what a good lean training program looks like. Click here to learn more.

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