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SME Certification

Lean Certification


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Lean Gold Certification

Earning the Lean Gold Certification (the highest level of lean certification) recognizes your understanding of all aspects of Lean transformation across an entire enterprise. It represents your career progression to a point of influence and authority over assets, processes and people.

You'll study and learn Lean from a strategic viewpoint within these key modules as identified in the Lean Body of Knowledge.

  • Cultural Enablers (25%)
  • Continuous Process Improvements (15%)
  • Consistent Lean Enterprise Culture (30%)
  • Business Results (30%)


Meet the People who've earned their Lean Gold Certification


Steps to Lean Gold Certification     Click here to apply

You must complete requirements that include education, knowledge, experience and mentoring.

1. Earn LBC and LSC

You must have also completed the requirements for the Lean Bronze and Lean Silver Certifications. After you apply for the Lean Gold Certification, you will receive a comprehensive kit to help you prepare.

2. Body of Knowledge

To earn this certification, you should demonstrate your understanding of the
Lean Certification Body of Knowledge (PDF), including:

Setting goals, gap analysis, project management
Teamwork, team facilitation, team selection
Tactical results measurement (initial goal, results to goals, gaps)

You should also understand the basics of lean, including:

Autonomation (jidoka)
Cells, one-piece flow
Continuous improvement (kaizen)
Cost, productivity results
Customer demand pace (takt time)
Customer requirements, satisfaction
Distribution, logistics, delivery
Identifying value added/non-value added work
Identifying waste
Lean product design
  Load leveling (heijunka)
Mistake proofing (poka-yoke)
Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA)
Problem solving (5 whys)
Pull systems (kanban)
Quality methods
Quick changeover, setup reduction
Root cause, corrective action
Standard work
Total productive maintenance (TPM)
Value stream mapping
Visual factory


3. Read the Core Reference Material

Exam questions are based on specific core reference material (PDF) selected by knowledgeable and experienced individuals:


4. Apply

After you apply for the Lean Gold Certification Program, you will receive a e-notification that will provide you details on your next steps. If you do not receive this email please contact


5. Exam

The open-book 150-question exam takes three hours.


6. Experience Portfolio

You must provide documentation of your leadership of an ongoing business lean transformation.

It should document:

  • Completion of (200 hours 80 from Bronze, 80 from Silver + 40 additional hours) minimum education/training requirements.
  • One (1) tactical project, Two (2) Integrative (Value Stream) projects and Two(2) Strategic (Enterprise) Projects: events, projects and/or activities to which specific lean principles and tools were applied*
  • Mentoring/Coaching
  • Integrative Portfolio reflection: results of the events, projects and/or activities.

*Projects should demonstrate continuing practice in lean. For example, if you are applying for certification in 2006, and you started your lean practice in 2001, you may choose to include projects from 2002, 2004 and 2006 in your portfolio to demonstrate that you are still practicing lean.

For portfolio forms and guidelines, see the Preparing for Certification page.


7. Work with a mentor

Gold–level candidates are expected to mentor and/or coach others in the principles of Lean. While it is every Lean practitioner's responsibility to apply Lean tools and techniques, Gold candidates are expected to seek out others on the lean journey and help them develop and grow — to apply Lean knowledge, share that knowledge with others, and develop the community of professional Lean practitioners. Gold candidates are in essence sensei's — ones who have gone before. Their role is to both teach others and continue their own learning. Additionally, it is through mentoring/coaching that future Gold–level candidates will be born.

Mentoring and/or coaching should be demonstrated as a planned activity, with measurable outcomes, and reported as such in the portfolio.


8. Interview

Candidates at this level are expected to interview with a team of Lean Certified professionals and/or program oversight committee who will evaluate the candidates applied knowledge related to the portfolio evidence presented.


9. Maintain Your Gold Certification every 3 years


Contact us about Certification