Lean Qualifications for the Workplace

LERC logoThe LCS is an industry recognised a lean qualification framework for developing lean thinking, knowledge and practical skills in the workplace. It was originally developed by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff University.

It has seven Levels of Competency, grouped into three categories.

Your organisation’s lean training system can become accredited, enabling it to issue LCS Certificates of Lean Competency to those who successfully complete lean training programmes.

Click on the tabs above to learn more about the seven level framework, descriptors of each level, an introduction to accreditation, the benefits of accreditation and University endorsement.

The right panel on this page contains a range of Frequently Asked Questions..

The Seven Levels of Competency

The LCS framework has seven levels of competency covering the entire spectrum of lean knowledge and application. They are grouped into three categories 1) Fundamental, 2) Technical and 3) Strategic.

Competency has two dimensions: knowledge and application, both of which have to be demonstrated in LCS Assessments.

LCS levels table 151115 v2

Level Focus

1a: On the underlying principles of lean, its development and antecedents

1b: On the tools and techniques required to understand and analyse the current state and solve problems.

1c: On the tools and techniques required to apply and sustain lean in the workplace.

2a: On the advanced lean knowledge and leadership competences required for lean management. Ability to design and implement progammes, play a leading role in managing departmental or cross functional teams, with some support and guidance.

2b: On the advanced lean knowledge and leadership competences required for lean management. Ability to design and implement progammes, play a leading role in managing inter-business, departmental or cross functional teams, with high levels of responsibility and requiring minimal support and guidance

3a: On advanced lean knowledge and the strategic and leadership competences required for lean leadership at a senior level. Those with LCS 3a should be able to design lean strategies for an organisation (or a significant business unit) and demonstrate appropriate lean leadership qualities and practices.

3b: On advanced lean knowledge and the strategic and leadership competences required for lean leadership at the highest level. Those with LCS 3b should be able to design and lead lean strategies for an organisation and demonstrate mature lean leadership qualities and practices.

Click on the Descriptors tab for details on each level.

Level Descriptors

The level descriptors are central to the LCS framework, since they state what knowledge and implementation capability an individual should possess.

A course aligned to a level should therefore closely reference its description, with its learning outcomes and topic coverage clearly aligned.

The descriptors are Principle and Outcome based. This means that the descriptor is not prescriptive in demanding that a particular set of tools or techniques should be included in a course aligned to the level.

Key features of the descriptors include:

  • Both lean knowledge and application requirements are specified
  • They are principles based, not focused on specific tools
  • They state the outcomes expected as a result of a course of lean learning – expressed as what an individual should be able to know, understand, apply, describe, analyse, etc
  • They note the prerequisites required
  • They provide guidance on the indicative contents of a course aligned to the level

linkSee all Level Descriptors

Comparison with Belts

Coloured belts are often used as descriptors for the different levels in some continuous improvement qualification systems, such as in Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma.

While there is no universal standard definition for each of the belts, the following can be used as a guide for comparison with LCS levels:

  • LCS 1a: white, yellow
  • LCS 1b: green
  • LCS 1c: green, black
  • LCS 2a: brown, black
  • LCS 2b: master black
  • LCS 3a: n/a
  • LCS 3b: n/a

What is Involved in Accreditation?

Accrediting an organisation’s lean training system involves a detailed evaluation of all its interconnected components, covering:

  • Course alignment with the LCS
  • Syllabus/topics covered, course materials
  • Assessment strategy: demonstration of attainment of learning outcomes
  • Delivery resources, teaching capability
  • Assessment methods
  • Quality assurance
  • Management and administration.
training system small

The Lean Training System

Note that there are two forms of accreditation – standard and SME.

linkVisit the standard accreditation page

linkVisit the SME accreditation page

dowbload iconDownload a presentation on accreditation benefits

What are the benefits of accreditation for organisations?

  • Helps engage employees in CI activities
  • Raises workforce lean capability
  • Creates a standard across geographical and organisational boundaries
  • Provides a conduit to link training with application
  • Provides independent endorsement of lean training

What are the benefits of certification for individuals?

  • Provides a qualification with has high perceived value and external credibility
  • Offers a route map for continuous development and knowledge growth
  • Provides access to community of practitioners for peer-to-peer learning and collaboration
  • Rewards participation in CI activity

The Only University Endorsed Lean Qualification for the Workplace

universitylogoThe LCS was created in 2005 by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff University, as a mechanism to promote and develop lean understanding and application in organisations.

In 2014 a new business was launched to hold the Cardiff University LCS licence and exploit the potential of the system.

Keep up to date with LCS news by subscribing to its regular newsletter

FAQ's

Any organisation that has its own lean training system can be accredited – whether the training is in-house for employees, or delivered by a consultancy for client employees or the general public.

A lean training system can be at any scale, from a small team delivering occasional training to an academy delivering courses to many learners.

Yes, it is suitable for private and public sectors and any size of organisation.

Yes

Yes, the LCS can be used in any country.

Yes. In 2014 a new on line accreditation process was developed (for Level 1a only). On line accreditation has a different pricing structure and conditions.

Lean Competency Services Ltd (LCS Ltd), owned by Simon Elias.

LCS Ltd has been granted the licence for 10 years (from Jan 2014)

LCS customers have a contractual relationship with LCS Ltd and not the University.

Yes; the University logo is used on all LCS certificates, as well as on some administrative and promotional material.

A close working relationship is maintained, especially regarding lean research, education and executive short course LCS assessments.

All the interconnected components that enable effective training to be delivered.

The system could comprise of just one training course or an integrated programme with several courses encompassed in a ‘centre of excellence’ or ‘lean academy’.

In LCS language, organisations become accredited, while individuals become certified – that is, receive a certificate. So, an accredited organisation certifies the people it trains.

The LCS promotes a holistic, systems approach to continuous improvement. See a more detailed account on the About the LCS page (click on the Lean Thinking tab)

No. ‘Lean’ is the umbrella word the LCS uses for continuous improvement, which encompasses a wide variety of schools of thinking. Other terms commonly used by organisations include operational excellence, process excellence, business excellence, Lean Six Sigma, service improvement and lean manufacturing.

There is Standard accreditation, suitable for large organisations, SME accreditation for small organisations and On-line accreditation for web based programmes.

This normally takes between 2 and 6 months, though it is largely dependent on the resources committed to the process by the applicant, plus whether a lean training system already exists in some form.

No, it can be accredited initially to one LCS level and then apply to be accredited to a higher level at a later date (at no additional cost).

Check out this presentation on the benefits.

The Benefits of Accreditation

An organisation’s ‘lean training system’ is accredited – not its overall lean management system or continuous improvement architecture.

Issue LCS certificates to individuals who successfully complete one of its training programmes.

The accredited organisation (not the central LCS organisation, except for SME accreditation). A special certificate template is provided for this purpose.

No, the overall system is accredited, not individuals. Implicit in system accreditation is that it has suitably qualified people delivering training.

Yes.

A licence is granted for two years and can be renewed thereafter.

LCS does not relate directly to academic qualifications, though can be mapped against the national qualifications framework.

LCS certificates are issued by accredited training organisations (company in house training departments or consultancies) following the successful completion of one of their training programmes and these companies are the prime holder of candidate records. They should be the first port of call when the validity of a qualification is being checked. A certificate holder should be able to name the organisation that provided the training – it would have been their employer, or a consultant working for their employer.

Coloured belts are often used as descriptors for the different levels in some continuous improvement qualification systems, such as in Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma.

While there is no universal standard definition for each of the belts, the following can be used as a guide for comparison with LCS levels:

  • LCS 1a: white, yellow
  • LCS 1b: green
  • LCS 1c: green, black
  • LCS 2a: brown, black
  • LCS 2b: master black
  • LCS 3a: n/a
  • LCS 3b: n/a

A range of advisory services centred on the development of workplace based training programmes, plus research into workplace learning and knowledge transfer.

No, the LCS organisation does not deliver accredited LCS training.

Standard accreditation fees are based on the volume of certificates issued per year. There are different rates for different fee bands, which start at 100 certificates per year.

The applicant forecasts certificates to be issued at the start of the period and may make an adjustment at any time.

For new standard accreditation, 50% of fees are payable at the start of the accrediting process, with the remaining 50% due at the end of the process. For re-accreditation, 100% of the fee is due at the end of the re-accrediting process.

Yes, there is a separate fee schedule for public service organisations, which pay a lower fee than commercial organisations.

No. Fee bands relate to Level 1b and above. Each band has a ‘free’ allowance of Level 1a certificates. For example, an organisation that opts for the 200 1b and above certificates pa band, can also issue 200 1a certificates pa at no additional cost.

Yes, it can do this is two ways:

  1. it can move up to the next fee band, paying a pro rata fee (new fee less fee initially paid multiplied by time left on licence)
  2. if it just wants to issue more 1a certificates, it can pay per certificate issued over its allowance.

Only those with LCS Certificates of Lean Competency can become Practitioner Members. There are other membership categories, such as Affiliate, Associate and Staff, mainly for those running lean training systems and for specific experts who are personally invited to join.

Approved Prior Learning and Experience.

This allows individuals to gain an LCS qualification by virtue of their knowledge gained from past learning through courses and experience and through their achievements in implementing lean thinking in organisations.

The Level 3 competency focuses on an individual’s depth of experience in applying lean thinking at many levels and the criteria for gaining level 3 is exclusively evidence based, so there is not a course to follow in the traditional sense to gain the qualification. Level 3 candidates follow the Level 3 Programme, which involves being guided and mentored in the production of the evidence, the main elements of which are three strategic case studies

Contact LCS

Lean Competency Services Ltd
5 Clive Crescent
Penarth
Vale of Glamorgan
CF64 1AT

Key Contacts

enquiries@leancompetency.org
elias@leancompetency.org

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