The lean training process involves analysis of manufacturing business that want to grow, and yet, keep operating costs low. A program has been put together so that businesses can have employees obtain lean certification, which means they are trained to look for ways to grow a business while keeping costs low.
Lean certification differs from Six Sigma certification because it involves departments other than manufacturing and production. Six Sigma is a more specific look at the design and implementation parts of manufacturing. Lean training takes the employee into all departments of a corporation to look for ways to cut costs in business departments, for example, and the way they affect the production process.
Consider this example, from the purchasing department. If a purchasing department is not adequately automated, then a request for an increase in production parts can be executed too slowly for the production department to ramp up its output. Once a request is received for an increased order, the purchasing department has its own protocols on how to obtain the correct number of bids, and how to qualify a vendor, and other criteria. This process must be made into a modular unit, just as the manufacturing process must be made modular, according to lean training specifications.
A modular purchasing department would operate in the following manner. A request would come in from production to increase the quantity of a particular item. A subset of the entire purchasing department could be set aside in advance to either deal with type of item, or with this particular part of the production plant. Either way, there is now a smaller group of people who are charged with making this request happen quickly.
If this cell inside the purchasing department has been properly automated, then they have setup their own protocol on how to solicit bids for an increased amount of goods. They would also prequalify their vendors, so that changes in quantity goes to a group of vendors who are excellent at modifying order size. The result is that the purchasing department is optimized, just as the production line is optimized.
In order to obtain lean certification, a candidate has to be familiar with all aspects of a business. They need to have a technical background, so that they can put technology to use in the process. They also must have a business background, with experience, so they know how products are ordered and received, and how payments are made and received, and every other aspect of the business cycle.
Lean certification is unique in that it integrates an entire business and makes each department in a business efficient, so that costs may be reduced in all departments as growth occurs in the overall business.