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LCS SME Accreditation


SME Accreditation Introduction

SME accreditation is generally suitable for small organisations or start-up companies – the key difference with Standard Accreditation being that course tests are run centrally by the LCS. The up front accreditation fee is lower for the SME version and there is a fee for each test taken/certificate issued.

As with Standard accreditation, Certificates of Lean Competency are awarded to learners who successfully complete a course of training. The accrediting process ensures the training system is fit for purpose and aligned to the LCS levels, involving an in-depth scrutiny of all its components.

An ‘organisation’ could be a company or public service body with its own CI training capability or a consultancy with a training capability for its staff, clients’ staff or for the general public.

Click on the tabs to learn more about suitability, the accrediting process and format, fees and how to apply.

Key Links & Downloads

LCS SME accreditation guide

Download the brochure: How to become an LCS accredited organisation

Download the brochure: Accreditation for consultants

Complete an LCS Accreditation Registration Form.

Complete an LCS Accreditation Submission Form


Who Can Apply?

A company may wish to consider SME lean accreditation if:

  • It is a small training company with limited resources.
  • It is a start-up training company that has not yet established itself.
  • It delivers small scale lean training on an infrequent basis.
  • It is a small company that wants to deliver its own bespoke training to staff on an infrequent basis.

SME v Standard Accreditation

The main differences are:

  • Knowledge test assessments are not carried out by an SME lean accredited company, but by the LCS centrally.
  • With SME accreditation, Certificates of Lean Competency are produced and distributed by the LCS centrally.
  • SME lean accreditation has a comparatively low accreditation licence fee and pays the LCS for knowledge tests undertaken by its learners.

Accrediting to Specific Levels

An organisation can choose to align its training to any combination of LCS levels and can add more levels to its licence at any point at no extra cost.

For example, it may decide to start with just Level 1a and then add Level 1b and 1c at a future point when its capability has developed and the demand from its organisation or customers dictates. Most organisations start with Levels 1a, 1b and 1c, though those with mature and established training systems generally start with both Levels 1 and 2.


Stages to Becoming Accredited

The first time lean accreditation process involves scrutinising the applicant’s lean training programme to ensure that it has the capability to deliver effective lean training and meet LCS standards that can be adhered to over the two year licence period.

Note that for organisations seeking re-accreditation after two years, there is a separate process.

  • The lean training programme (or system) comprises of several interconnected components that are required to deliver effective lean training to learners – see below.
  • The accrediting process aims to ensure that these components are well established, managed, resourced and integrated.
  • These are described by the applicant in its online submission form.

Stages Detail

The stages in the accrediting process are listed below; it typically takes between one and three months to complete.

  • Registration form submitted (applicant)
  • Planning. including gap analysis (optional) and timetable (applicant)
  • Portfolio assembled (applicant)
  • Ongoing review (LCS/applicant)
  • Final submission (applicant)
  • Sign off meeting (LCS/applicant)
  • Welcome pack sent (LCS)

Note on Training Systems & Accreditation

The LCS accepts that every training system is different, which is consistent with its contingent approach to lean. There is no right or wrong way to deliver training, though there are some key principles and practices that should be followed.

In general, the system should be evolving and be part of a Learning Organisation – that is, one that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself.

The LCS expects that the accredited system will, over time, encompass new avenues of thought and perspectives and broaden its scope and sophistication.

The initial accreditation process not looking for perfection in a system, but rather one with solid foundations, that is technically sound, well managed and strategically aligned.


Developing Your Submission

The applicant’s submission contains the evidence that demonstrates that the organisation meets the accreditation criteria. The LCS adviser can assist in the production of the portfolio and provide technical advice where needed.

Submission Form

Submission Form is used to capture information on the training system and thus provides a clear framework to follow. A Guide to SME Lean Accreditation is available to provide further information and guidance.

The Form captures the following information:

  • Strategic context, organisation information
  • Training organisation; key roles & responsibilities
  • Course(s) alignment with LCS levels
  • Courses structure – aims and learning outcomes
  • Sample teaching material, such as presentations, workbooks, etc
  • Delivery capability and credentials of facilitators/teachers
  • Assessment approach
  • Methods used to record implementation activity as part of assessment
  • QA procedures; examples of evaluation questionnaires
  • CI process; ongoing improvement approach
  • Description of administration and resources to support training
  • Administration, database, training records approach

Go to the Submission Form page

Reviewing the Submission

When the form is submitted (in full or as a draft), a Progress Checklist is completed and sent to the applicant. This shows sections considered satisfactory and complete (shown as 100%) and those needing more information or clarification. When all items are marked as 100%, the submission is deemed satisfactory and the process moves to the sign-off meeting stage.


SME Accreditation Fees

The table below shows the SME fees:


  • Fees are exclusive of VAT.
  • Note that VAT is not added if the accredited company is based outside the UK and does not operate the LCS in the UK. The reverse charge system is used for non UK based EU organisations.
  • Test/certification fees can be paid for by the accredited company on behalf or learners or by learners direct to the LCS.
  • Fees are reviewed periodically.


Next Steps

When you are ready to commit to the accrediting process, complete a Registration Form, after which you will be contacted by the LCS to plan the next steps. You should also download and study the SME Accreditation Guide.

Note that you can contact  LCS management at any time to discuss options and have your queries answered.

Download or link to the following documents and pages:

LCS accreditation registration form

LCS accreditation submission form

dowbload iconLCS SME accreditation guide

Accreditation Terms

Lean accreditation is for a 2 year period – renewable thereafter every two years. Download the latest SME Accreditation General Terms

dowbload iconGeneral Terms – SME Accreditation

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