Lean Qualifications for the Workplace
The 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.
See Frequently Asked Questions for answers to typical questions that organisations and practitioners have asked.
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.
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 programmes, 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 programmes, 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.
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
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
Note that other coloured belts used include orange, blue and purple.
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.
Note that there are two forms of accreditation – standard and SME.
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 Linked Lean Qualification for the Workplace
The 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.
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