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SME Certification

Lean Certification


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Lean Gold Certification

Take your lean training to a strategic level.

Lean Gold Certification recognizes your education and training in all aspects of lean transformation across an entire enterprise. It represents career progression to a point of influence and authority over assets, processes, and people.

You’ll study and learn lean from these key modules from the Lean Certification Body of Knowledge (PDF):

  • Module 1: Cultural Enablers (25%)
  • Module 2: Continuous Process Improvement (15%)
  • Module 3: Consistent Lean Enterprise Culture (30%)
  • Module 4: Business Results (30%)

Step 1: Earn your Lean Bronze and Lean Silver Certifications

You must first complete the requirements and earn your Lean Bronze Certification and Lean Silver Certification before advancing to Lean Gold Certification. Learn about those who earned Lean Gold Certification and read and view video testimonials from our customers.

Step 2: Assess your knowledge and experience

Start your preparation by reviewing the Body of Knowledge (PDF), Competency and Behavior Model (PDF), and core reference materials. Visit for Exam Preparation Tips and additional information and resources.

You should also understand the basics of lean, including:

Autonomation (Jidoka)
Cells, one piece flow
Continuous improvement (Kaizen)
Cost, productivity results
Customer demand pace (takt time)
Customer requirements, satisfaction
Distribution, logistics, delivery
Gap analysis
Identifying value added/non-value added work
Identifying waste
Lean product design
Load leveling/production leveling (Heijunka)
Mistake proofing (Poka-yoke)
Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA)
Problem solving (5 Whys)
  Project management
Pull systems (Kanban)
Quality methods
Quick changeover, setup reduction
Root cause, corrective action
Setting goals
Standard work
Tactical results measurement (initial goals, results to goals, gaps)
Team facilitation
Team selection
Total productive maintenance (TPM)
Value stream mapping
Visual factory

Step 3: Read the core reference material

Exam questions are based on specific core reference material selected by knowledgeable and experienced individuals. You can save 10% by purchasing the Lean Gold Certification book package, which includes:

Step 4: Apply

The Lean Gold Certification exam is offered in online and paper/pencil formats. You have one year in which to take the exam from the date of purchase.

Click here to apply

Step 5: Take the exam

The Lean Gold Certification exam is a three hour, open book, and open notes exam. It consists of 150 multiple-choice questions mapped to the Body of Knowledge (PDF). Exam questions are taken from the core reference materials. You must submit your Proctor Form and Agreement (PDF) to SME at least two weeks before your scheduled exam date.

To pass the exam, you need to score 75% or higher. After your exam is scored, you will receive official results by mail, which includes an Examination Analysis Report (PDF) that provides a breakdown of your results by knowledge area.

Step 6: Mentoring

Lean Gold Certification candidates are expected to seek out others in their lean journey to help them grow and develop. This activity must be demonstrated and include measurable outcomes in your portfolio.

The Lean Registry is free online networking community and collaboration space to connect with those looking for mentors and other lean practitioners. It also includes upcoming events, blogs, and a growing lean glossary.

Step 7: Submit your Lean Gold Certification portfolio

After passing your exam, to receive your Lean Gold Certification you must exercise your lean knowledge by participating in activities in which lean principles and tools are applied. This is demonstrated through the development of your Lean Gold Certification portfolio, which must document and include:

  • 200 hours of education and training requirements (PDF) (160 hours earned from Lean Bronze and Lean Silver Certification plus 40 additional hours).
  • One tactical project, two integrative value stream projects, and two strategic enterprise projects that demonstrate continuing practice in lean to which specific lean principles and tools were applied.
  • Mentoring and/or coaching (PDF) activities.
  • A reflection statement that captures your lean journey and what you have learned through the certification process.

Visit for the portfolio requirements and forms (MS Word), portfolio information and instructions (PDF), writing tips, and additional resources.

Step 8: Lean Gold Certification Interview

The final step in earning your Lean Gold Certification is an interview with a team of Lean Certified professionals and/or the Certification Oversight and Appeals Committee. Upon passing your portfolio review and interview, you will earn your Lean Gold Certification (LGC).

Step 9: Plan your next step

Your Lean Gold Certification (LGC) is valid for three years. To maintain your Lean Gold Certification status, you will need to recertify every three years and participate in ongoing education, training, and development activities related to the Body of Knowledge (PDF).

If you have question or need additional information email us, complete an online inquiry form, or call SME Customer Care at 800.733.4763 or 313.425.3000.