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Creating capacity for change: LEAN certification programs

Published by CME Manitoba on January 12, 2017

By Ian Marshall, LEAN Champion and Chair 2018 Canadian LEAN Conference


One of the major roadblocks to LEAN transformation is not having the capacity or capability to facilitate change. Strategy, plans and resources are needed, but having the knowhow, skills and confidence to engage the people and facilitate change is critical. 

Depending on the urgency, you may consider bringing in a consultant to help manage the LEAN transformation, though sustained change will only come through growing the capability and capacity of leaders and support staff within the organization. 

The CME philosophy is to help members to help themselves, by providing information, contacts, advice, education and training. The LEAN level 1 (Yellowbelt), LEAN level 2 (Greenbelt) and LEAN level 3 (Blackbelt) programs are specifically aimed at closing this capability gap and providing companies with the knowledge and skills to manage their own LEAN transformation.

The LEAN Yellowbelt program is targeted at anyone required to support the LEAN initiative, providing a basic overview of the core LEAN philosophy and tools. Delivered by industry practitioners in one and two day sessions, this seven day program uses presentation, discussion, simulations and plant visits to aid understanding of the core concepts such as flow and ‘pull’ and tools including 5S, Value Stream Mapping and Standard Work. Over 1,300 front-line team leaders, managers and support staff have benefited from the Yellowbelt program to date.

Offered three times per year, the LEAN Greenbelt program builds on the Yellowbelt program to develop the skills and confidence necessary to facilitate Kaizen Blitz or Rapid Improvement Projects and tackle specific process problems. This 14 day program is delivered in three one-week modules over three months. Utilizing a ‘learning by doing’ approach, the program revolves around facilitated Kaizen Blitz. Homework assignments challenge the Greenbelts to facilitate 5S and Cycle-Time Reduction Kaizen Blitz in their own organization. More than 500 LEAN practitioners, managers and support staff have graduated from the program to date.

In 2013 CME partnered with David Chao and Lean Sensei International (LSI) to offer the LEAN Blackbelt program in Manitoba. Offered only once per year and aimed at those championing and leading LEAN at the enterprise level, participants gain the knowhow, skills and confidence to develop LEAN Strategy, drive out cost from the Supply Chain and tackle business critical issues with the ‘Transform’ problem solving method. The Blackbelts have to develop LEAN Strategy for their own organization and identify 25% cost savings in their Supply Chain, typically realizing ten times the program costs in tangible savings. The highlight for most Blackbelts is the one week trip to Japan, to experience first-hand world class LEAN organizations such as Toyota Motor Company, Mitsubishi Electric and Daiwa House. Over 50 Manitoban business leaders, managers and LEAN professionals have graduated from the Blackbelt program to date.

For more information on all the LEAN certification programs go to or call Tammy Oakes on (204) 949-1454.



Found in: LEAN LEAN Blackbelt LEAN Level 1 LEAN Level 2 Manitoba LEAN team

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