Operational Excellence Award in Lean Manufacturing and Lean Service:
Get your organization assessed by an expert and attain Bronze→Silver→Gold certification after passing the physical audit. The award recognizes manufacturers and service providers that have demonstrated excellence in operations. The candidate company needs to apply for the award and complete specific assessments of business excellence criteria, followed by a validation onsite.
The 3 Certification Milestones to World Class
Maturity is measured on a five-point scale, ranging from the lowest level ‘Iron‘ (1 point) to the highest level ‘Diamond‘ (5 points). Formally certified levels are Bronze, Silver, Gold. Each of those maturity milestones is characterized by a distinct starting point, focus area, and outcome.
Bronze | Maturity 2.0
- Major effort to keep running
- Fire-fighting, barrier-removal
- Hot spots solved, contained
Silver | Maturity 3.0
- Targets met with extra effort
- Reducing waste, variability
- Repeatable processes, results
Gold | Maturity 4.0
- Consistently strong results
- Value stream management
- Solid systems, skills, standards
About the Assessment and Certification
Who is getting an award?
The Operations Excellence Award recognizes applicants who demonstrate excellence against the award guidelines and evaluation criteria (→ “The 20 Keys to World-Class Operations“). Any applicant passing the initial screening interview (→ Book now) will be considered for an award.
Why getting certified?
The primary purpose of the certification is to acknowledge the progress made, learn from best practices, and foster an environment of creativity and innovation, while continuously improving performance levels.
Why focusing on Lean?
Lean standards allow manufacturers and service providers operate effectively and efficiently. As prerequisites for attaining Operational Excellence, these standards help companies increase productivity, shorten lead times, improve service quality, capture new customers and gain access to new markets through rapid response and just-in-time delivery.
How long does it take?
The onsite audit (‘Quick Scan‘) takes 3 days, which includes Gemba walk, process mapping, performance review, and expert-guided assessment. The audit can be extended by 2 days (‘Scan+Plan‘) to develop the transformation projects and roadmap, define business cases, and calculate financial impact (ROI) of individual projects and the transformation program overall.
How to prepare for the audit?
Applicants gather their team and complete the free self-assessment to create awareness and to learn about the 20 keys. The user-friendly questionnaire allows professionals from various backgrounds with varied skill sets to assess the level of operational health and maturity without extensive training (→ Audit Now).
What are thebenefits of going through this process?
The certification process not only validates status and progress, but provides coaching feedback and formally recognizes the team for advancing their operation, creating motivation and insights to prepare for the next phase on their journey to world class → see pictures below.
How many audits are required to get certified?
At least two measurements are required to confirm that the audited organization has achieved and maintained the level of maturity as assessed by the audits. The certification process is an extension of the auditing process, which provides both the baseline and subsequent progress measurements.
How does the audit process work in practice?
Suppose an organization measures 2.7 on the first assessment. This initial measurement does not warrant a certificate; rather, it establishes the baseline for a certificate. Several months later, the audit is repeated to determine progress relative to the baseline. For example, the team was able to mature by +0.4 point with an overall score of 3.1, which justifies awarding a Silver certificate.
What does the audit score actually mean?
Tracking maturity is like tracking atmospheric pressure with a barometer; it provides a clear indication of changing weather conditions. Maturity gain, as established by the 20 Keys, is therefore a leading indicator that complements financial reports that are comprised solely of lagging indicators.
How does the score help to improve?
Making fundamental changes in structure or capability will be reflected in the maturity score (leading indicator), but it may take months for it to affect financial reports (lagging indicator). The 20 Keys provide a reliable forecast for future performance; the principles and processes are described in detail in the Lean Audit book.
What happens when the target is met?
When attaining target maturity, the event should be formally communicated and celebrated in the same fashion as when achieving a significant financial goal or capturing a new valued customer. After all, it is a milestone in an organization’s evolution.
Why celebrate the certification?
Because more mature companies do better than less mature ones, so an improving score in the Lean Audit—along with certification—suggest better operating results in the near future. It is a good reason to recognize people for their extra effort to move the organization forward.
The 5-Step Lean Certification Process
The leader specifies the purpose of the audit, to be either benchmarking, self-assessment, progress measurement, or opportunity discovery, and nominates the members of the audit team to include representatives from all key functions that make up the assessed site or value stream.
Step-2: Audit Tour
The members of the internal audit team walk together with the external auditor through their value streams in flow direction from input to output, evaluating people, processes, setup, and system (→ Gemba Walk).
The audit team meets in the conference room for a guided self-assessment, moderated by the external auditor or internal team leader. The moderator validates assumptions with the team and ensures that the correct level is selected, meeting all stated criteria.
Translating insights into improvements. Led by the external auditor or internal group leader, the team decides on an ambitious yet realistic advancement rate, taking the target minus baseline, divided by the number of years to accomplish the target.
After the progress measurement is established, the team compares the current score against the goal, defined during the previous audit. Two things must occur for certification: the target maturity has been attained at an advancement rate of +0.15 per year or higher.
100+ Companies Certified Worldwide
Trioplast, one of Europe’s leading manufacturer of polyethylene film for cost-effective packaging solutions embarked on a systematic Lean rollout in 2018 to transform its operations.
Gemba walk during Lean audit confirms measurable improvements across all business-critical dimensions, such as employee engagement, structural stability, sorting quality, equipment reliability, and operational productivity.
The Danish manufacturer of foundry equipment reached Silver level, improving schedule-adherence from 33% to 82%, cutting rework and overtime by 50%, increasing productivity by 20%.
With focus on warehouse and back-office operations, 614 champions completed their Lean projects, improving response time to customers and on-time-in-full (OTIF) delivery performance to vessels.
Milestone achieved after a 4-year Lean journey, the operations team in Johannesburg proudly presents its ‘Silver‘ award for achieving level-3 on the Lean benchmarking scale.
Two flavor factories received Silver-awards for scoring 3.0 points on the Lean Manufacturing benchmarking scale, while better delivering liquids and powders to the food industry.
Lean Transformation Program (LTP) allowed NG’s metal sorting plant reduce throughput time by 80%, inventory by 25%, and double-handing by 80% in just 1.8 years.
Lean Transformation Program (LTP) for industrial waste processing sites in Knarrevik and Mongstad to establish flow, processing batches faster and more efficient than ever before.