For organisations:

The LCS offers a solution for an organisation that wants its continuous improvement training accredited and endorsed, its staff to be rewarded and recognised for their lean knowledge and practical capability, reassurance that its lean training approach is robust, technically sound and well managed and that wants a flexible, university developed, lean qualification framework that offers a universal standard that is adopted widely.

For individuals:

The LCS offers a solution for the continuous improvement practitioner who wants an acknowledged and relevant lean qualification, a framework around which his or her lean competency can develop and improve, access to a practitioner community for networking and peer-to-peer learning and recognition for his or her lean expertise.

The purpose of the LCS is:

  1. To promote the adoption of lean thinking (and related continuous improvement avenues of thought) in organisations in order to help improve operational effectiveness and achievement of purpose.
  2. To help practitioners better understand and apply lean thinking philosophy, tools and techniques so they can be more effective in their continuous improvement activities.
  3. To contribute to the development, application and understanding of lean thinking.


personal certificate image 1603The LCS is a lean qualifications framework for organisations, practitioners, employees and all those whose work involves continuous improvement activity. The LCS framework has seven levels of competency and the system offers:

– Organisations a structure around which a lean training system or programme can be developed.

– Employees and practitioners an organised route for the development of their lean thinking capability, knowledge and practical skills.

– A collaboration and networking resource and peer-to-peer learning community for practitioners.

A prime use of the LCS is lean training system accreditation. This provides assurance that the system is relevant, well structured, appropriately resourced and effectively delivered; accreditation enables the organisation to issue LCS Certificates of Lean Competency to those who successfully complete programmes of lean training.

linkSee the Frequently Asked Questions on the LCS Framework pages.

linkUnderstand the benefits of accreditation for all stakeholders on the LCS Framework pages (click the Benefits tab)

Overview Video

Click on the Downloads tab above to obtain summary information on key aspects of the LCS.

Development & Adoption

LERC logoThe LCS was launched in 2005 by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC) at Cardiff University as part of its industry impact and engagement agenda as a vehicle to help organisations adopt lean thinking more effectively.

Organisations that had started to embrace lean in the late 1990’s recognised there was no credible workplace based qualifications system available, which was inhibiting the Cardiff University logodevelopment of lean training for staff. LERC responded to this need and was in a unique position to develop and promote a new system that would bridge the gap.

Following research and analysis, a paper titled Structured Lean Learning (by Nicola Bateman, Ann Esain and Peter Hines) was presented at the EUROMA conference in 2003 and this contained the blueprint from which the LCS would emerge.

Following the paper, the system was developed and then piloted over the following year until it was made available for general market release and promotion in 2005. It has since been adopted by private and public sectors in the UK and internationally, where it plays an important role in supporting lean implementation and in creating a continuous improvement culture – through, for example, fostering engagement, building up workforce continuous improvement expertise and providing recognition and rewards for employees. See the list of accredited organisations.


LCS Logos 1-0_RGB white on blue backgroundIn January 2014 an independent company was launched, Lean Competency Services Ltd, which holds the Cardiff University licence to operate and develop the LCS. This is managed and controlled by Simon Elias, former LERC director and chief architect of the LCS.

It offers the following services:

  1. Lean training system accreditation – for organisations
  2. Certification via Approved Prior Learning & Experience – for individuals, LCS Levels 2 & 3
  3. The promotion of activities among lean practitioners that foster professional development, collaboration and peer-to-peer learning.
  4. LCS Approved – endorsement for products, services, technologies and systems that can provide assurance that they align to lean principles and are supportive of the development of a lean enterprise.
  5. Research & advisory services; the LCS promotes research that contributes to the understanding of the impact lean training and certification schemes and provides a range of advisory services to assist organisations that are developing or operating lean training systems.

PolicyBee professional insurance broker


The LCS & Lean Thinking

lean principles graphicThe LCS definition and interpretation of lean thinking, developed in the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, is one that promotes a holistic, systems approach to continuous improvement, acknowledging that lean is much more than simply improving processes through the application of tools and prescriptive principles.

Successful lean organisations employ lean strategies, lean leadership and understand the need for an engaged, empowered workforce.

The graphic shows LCS’s six principles of lean and a short definition of lean is delivering appropriate customer and stakeholder value with the minimum of resources.

Lean is used as the umbrella term for a continuous improvement philosophy that encompasses a variety of approaches, that include tools and techniques from the Toyota Production System, six sigma, agile, the theory of constraints and systems thinking. Other commonly used ‘improvement’ terms include business improvement, service improvement, process excellence, operational excellence, enterprise excellence, operational effectiveness, systems thinking, business excellence and lean six sigma.

The LCS accepts that there are many different continuous improvement methodologies and maintains that different organisations require their own, bespoke implementation solutions for sustained, cultural change – thus adopting a contingent approach.

linkHow the LCS fits in with Lean Six Sigma

Welcome to the Community

Anyone who has an LCS Certificate can become a Practitioner Members of the LCS community, free of charge. This is centred on the website and registration is straightforward  – simply click the Register button in the top right of the home page.

New members of the practitioner community can find out about benefits, opportunities and site features by visiting the Welcome page.

Digital Icons group

The LCS Digital Award Icons

Institute for Continuous Improvement in Public Services

OP BronzeThe LCS is recognised by the Institute for Continuous Improvement in Public Services (ICiPS), which means that individuals working in public services who gain Certificates of Lean Competency via an LCS consultant or trainer are eligible for ICiPS Professional Membership at Member level. This provides a number of benefits, including free networks, discounts on site visits, events and career counselling. If your course participants work in public services, you can draw this to their attention as an additional benefit of LCS certification.

To gain ICiPS membership, those eligible should visit https://www.prodeceo.com/marketplace/icips and register choosing the Member level module and using the free access voucher code LCS1.

Download Summary Information & Brochures about the LCS

dowbload iconLCS summary brochure

How to become an LCS accredited organisation (brochure)

dowbload iconLCS benefits summary

dowbload iconAccreditation process summary

dowbload iconLean training system overview

dowbload iconSubmission portfolio contents

dowbload iconBecoming an LCS practitioner member

You can sign up to the LCS Newsletter at the foot of the webpage.

Contact LCS

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

Key Contacts


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