How do I obtain official Lean or Lean Six Sigma certification?

Let’s start with a bit of history. It all started at Toyota in the 1930’s. This company developed the Toyota Production System. It later expanded to the USA and became known as Lean Management (or Lean Manufacturing). Motorola and – at a later stage – General Electric (also from the USA) both developed Six Sigma. They came up with the different knowledge levels (Yellow, Green and Black Belts). Because Lean and Six Sigma are often used in combination with one another, Lean Six Sigma Belts were also developed. Belts for Lean alone were only recently devised. In the United States, there are no Lean Yellow, Green or Black Belts. Instead, the levels are known as Lean Bronze, Silver and Gold.

What certifications are available?

Various organisations around the world are involved in the Lean (Six Sigma) standards and in determining what the Yellow, Green and Black (and sometimes Orange, White, etc.) Belt training courses must comply with. What are these organisations? Below, we have distinguished between organisations that handle Lean Six Sigma training and organisations that focus exclusively on Lean training:

  • Lean Six Sigma
    • American Society for Quality (ASQ)
    • International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC)
  • Lean
    • International Independent Board for Lean Certification (IIBLC)
    • Lean Compentence Research Center (LERC)
    • ASQ, Shingo Institute, SME & AME (collaboration between 4 quality institutes)

As you know, a range of organisations are involved in determining the official standard of Lean or Lean Six Sigma training. Because the responsibility has not officially been placed on a single organisation, no organisation can actually claim the title of official institution. As a result, you can earn your Yellow, Green or Black Belt certification from various institutions.

What certification should I choose?

We dare not suggest which is best. At the end of the day, it does not only revolve around the content of the training or the examination, but also around the training institution and its instructors. Do instructors have lots of practical experience so that they can provide many examples? What are the contents of the training courses? Do the training courses only handle Lean (Six Sigma), or are related matters (team development, change management, leadership, etc.) also addressed? You will need to determine what is most suited to your situation. You might also want to visit, where you will find numerous reviews written by former participants in Lean and Lean Six Sigma training courses.