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ASQ Joins Forces for Single Lean Certification Standard

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April 6, 2010—

With the goal of moving toward a single standard for lean manufacturing certification and workforce development, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) is collaborating with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) and The Shingo Prize for Operation Excellence on The Lean Certification program, which was launched in 2006 by these three organizations.

"ASQ joining this collaborative effort truly aligns leading organizations to a single standard for lean certification, providing manufacturers, their supply chains and employees with a roadmap for workforce development," says Mark C. Tomlinson, SME executive director and general manager.

In considering how it could offer a lean certification program for ASQ members, the association took a cue from its members themselves. "Our members encouraged us to support the Lean Certification Alliance," says Paul Borawski, ASQ executive director and chief strategic officer. "They wanted a common certification standard that was aligned to industry and had already gained acceptance within the manufacturing community. Additionally, the Lean Certification was developed to be portable between industries, and with ASQ's growing interests in healthcare, service and other sectors, a portable credential met member needs."

The SME/AME/The Shingo Prize/ASQ Lean Certification is an independent, third-party assessment of lean knowledge and experience. Many other certificate programs exist, but this certification is different from others because it operates independently of a prescribed curriculum. It is overseen by practitioners in the field and follows standards for professional credentialing programs. The recertification process is required every three years, perpetuating a continued investment in education and practicing lean manufacturing.

SME manages this alliance and handles all administrative aspects of the program. ASQ members are now eligible for a member discount for the program. ASQ is looking into other methods it can help support member certification efforts. ASQ members will now be represented on the oversight body for the certification program to equally contribute in ensuring the certification process' integrity. The first administration for ASQ will be at its World Conference on Quality and Improvement, on May 23.

More information about the Lean Certification, online study session and other training and testing opportunities is available at www.sme.org/leancert.