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SME Certification

Lean Certification


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Steps toward Earning Lean Silver Certification

Step 1: Assess your knowledge and experience

To earn the Lean Silver Certification, you must demonstrate your understanding of the Lean Certification Body of Knowledge (PDF) by passing the Lean Silver Certification exam. To become certified, you must further demonstrate your lean training and development by completing an Accomplishment Record.

You should understand these lean processes and practices:

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/production 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

Visit for Exam Preparation Tips and additional information and resources.

Step 2: Read the Core Reference Material

Exam questions are based on specific Core Reference Material selected by knowledgeable and experienced individuals. You can save 10% by purchasing the Lean Silver Certification book package, which includes:

Step 3: Apply

The Lean Silver Certification exam is offered in online and paper/pencil formats. You have one year in which to take the exam from the date you apply.

Click here to apply

To apply for Lean Silver Certification, candidates should have two or more years of professional experience that includes leading improvement teams; successfully applying lean thinking, processes, and techniques to value stream improvements; and nurturing lean behaviors in others.

Step 4: Schedule and take the exam

The Lean Silver Certification exam is a three hour, open book and open notes exam. It consists of approximately 150 multiple-choice questions mapped to the Body of Knowledge (PDF). Exam questions are taken from the Core Reference Material.

You must submit your Proctor Form and Agreement (PDF) to SME at least two weeks before your scheduled exam date.

To pass the exam, you need to score 75% or higher. After your exam is scored, you will receive official results by mail, which includes an Examination Analysis Report (PDF) that provides a breakdown of your results by knowledge area.

Step 5: Mentoring

Lean Silver Certification candidates are expected to seek out others in their lean journey to help them grow and develop. This activity must be demonstrated, and measurable outcomes must be included, in your Lean Silver Certification Accomplishment Record.

Look to find a mentor within your own company, through the Lean Registry, Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) leaders in your area, or, if you are an SME member, your local chapter may be a good resource.

Step 6: Submit your Lean Silver Certification Accomplishment Record

After passing your exam, to receive your Lean Silver Certification you must complete an Accomplishment Record (PDF). The Accomplishment Record examines how candidates have applied their lean knowledge and skills to actual real-world situations.

Your Lean Silver Certification Accomplishment Record will ask you to provide a narrative of your accomplishments for each competency needed by a Lean Silver Certification candidate. You will emphasize the quality of your accomplishments and the results you achieved rather than the jobs you have held or the tasks you have completed.

In addition to completing your Accomplishment Record, you will need:

Visit the Silver tab at for the Lean Silver Certification Accomplishment Record Requirements and Forms (PDF) and additional resources for earning your Lean Silver Certification.

Step 7: Plan your next step

Upon passing your Accomplishment Record you will earn your Lean Silver Certification (LSC). During this time you may choose to pursue recertification or another certification rank. Your Lean Silver Certification is valid for three years.

If you have questions or need additional information email us, complete an online inquiry form, or call SME Customer Care at 800.733.4763 or 313.425.3000.