Level 3 is the highest LCS qualification and indicates that the holder has a progressive, mature and broad understanding of lean thinking, is a capable lean leader and is able to effectively design and implement lean programmes at a strategic or transformational level.

LCS Level 3 lean certification is gained by completing a Level 3 Programme, which entails developing and submitting a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates the Level 3 capabilities.

The Level 3  programme is part of the LCS’s Approved Prior Learning and Experience (APLE) route to personal certification and it does not include formal teaching, though there is significant learning from critical reflection, research, reading and analysis.

“I have found [LCS lean certification] to be a hugely worthwhile and interesting process. It’s been a real learning experience for me…and has certainly developed my own thinking”.

Successful L3 lean certified candidate, 2015

Key Link & Download

Level 3 Programme Overview (PDF)

Level 3 Application Form

Who Should Apply?

The Level 3 Programme is suitable for senior managers with few or no formal high level lean qualifications or recognition of their credentials, but nonetheless have a significant track record of managing lean transformations and a deep knowledge and understanding of lean thinking principles and techniques, gained through several managerial roles in employment.

LCS Level 3 lean certification is also the natural progression for experienced LCS Level 2 managers, who have developed strong leadership capabilities and strategic implementation experience.

Candidate Profile & Eligibility

  • Demonstrable success in applying lean thinking at various scales with appropriate organisational benefits. Likely to have been gained through at least 15 years’ lean experience in management roles.
  • Functional background likely to be production, operations, service delivery or planning.
  • Experience in strategy development and deployment, lean or continuous improvement programme design and implementation.
  • Demonstrable leadership capability and experience.
  • Broad knowledge of lean thinking and complementary philosophies gained through practical application, training/education, reading and research.

Individuals will:

  • Develop critical reflection and analysis capabilities, considered fundamental for balanced decision making and effective problem solving.
  • Develop a mature, well-rounded understanding of the lean philosophy and clarity on the imperatives for developing a lean implementation strategy.
  • Gain independent endorsement of their strategic lean capabilities.
  • Be better equipped to undertake a lean mentoring role – a key attribute of a lean leader.
  • Gain enhanced internal credibility as a lean manager and leader.
  • Gain access, though the LCS certified lean Practitioner Community, to a network of professionals for continuing development and peer-to-peer learning.
  • Have greater confidence and self-assurance through holding a prestigious lean qualification.

Sponsoring organisations will:

  • Gain a more confident and informed senior lean manager, with an enhanced ability to contribute at a strategic level.
  • Gain reassurance of the individual’s capability.
  • Have a collection of robust lean case studies that contribute to organisational learning and provide a resource for further learning and improvement activity.
  • Develop insights for lean strategy development through the lessons and conclusions of the assignment and cases.
  • Have an opportunity to stimulate debate among managers, particularly via the Panel presentation, that can help inform strategy development.
  • Be able to demonstrate commitment to a manager’s personal development.


The evidence of capability is provided by the following:

Application Form

This contains employment history – nature of roles held, key responsibilities and achievements, scope of lean related experience, qualifications (academic/professional), education and training undertaken.

Three Case Studies

These demonstrate lean implementation at a strategic or transformational level, where the effective application of lean principles have produced an organisational benefit at an appropriate scale and level. The candidate’s role should have high levels of responsibility in terms of leadership, planning, design and management.


A 4,000 word assignment on the development of lean thinking and highlighting specific issues or future challenges; this formally assesses the depth and maturity of the candidate’s lean knowledge and understanding, in which the candidate researches and reviews lean literature and demonstrates independent thinking, critical analysis and evaluation.

Panel Presentation.

The candidate delivers a presentation to an LCS panel on a topic that draws together the conclusions of the cases and assignment, focusing on the implications for lean leadership and lean thinking in general. Colleagues from the candidate’s organisation may be present at the session.


Level 3 advisors support the candidate in producing the case studies and assignment over a period of six to nine months.

Key support elements:

  • Workshops introducing the different programme elements (physical or online).
  • Peer review of the candidate’s output (in group situations).
  • One-to-one support when developing the cases and the assignment
  • Access to a cloud based personal resource area, plus discussion groups/forums.
  • Post programme networking opportunities.
  • Comprehensive documentation and reference material provided (eg hand outs, guides, templates, articles, papers etc.)

Programme Fee

The base fee for the Level 3 Programme when taken via the LCS centrally is £4,250 (plus VAT).

The fee when taken through an accredited consultancy may differ, depending on the level and nature of expert advisory support that the candidate requires.

Discounts may be available for candidates from public service organisations and for those with exemptions.


Applicants with a lean masters (or equivalent) qualification, may be exempt from the assignment component and pay a lower fee; please check with LCS management.

Routes to Level 3

There are two routes to achieve Level 3 certification:

  1. Undertake the programme on an individual or group basis, managed by the LCS centrally.
  2. Undertake the programme on an individual basis, managed by an organisation (usually a consultancy) accredited to Level 3.

The Level 3 lean certification programme will usually take around six to nine months to complete, though the timing is more flexible when undertaken on an individual basis.

For all routes, support and guidance is provided over the programme by a Level 3 Advisor, from either the LCS centrally or from the Level 3 accredited organisation.

How to Apply & Further Information

dowbload iconDownload the L2 and L3 competency profile guide.

dowbload iconDownload the  Level 3 Programme overview

Complete and submit the LCS Level 3 Programme Application Form

Contact LCS

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

Key Contacts

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