I've been on the Shingo/AME/SME Lean Certification COA committee for two years now. I just passed the baton of chairmanship to Phil Strobel, who will take the fun factor of the committee to the next level - the Phil Factor(sorry inside joke).
The thing I like about the Lean Certification is that it was built by industry - for industry. Sound familiar TWI fans? Literally hundreds of volunteers have put in thousands of hours to pull this together. It isn't a give us $10K and you will be certified program. This is a what is your experience and your peers will judge your experience against an industry standard body of knowledge - at a price literally thousands of dollars below competing "certifications" which require little experience to earn certification.
Because it is from industry, those that are learning lean everyday
, you know you are on the leading edge of Lean knowledge and application.
Prior to serving on the committee, which I will do for another couple of years, I helped other volunteers build the portfolio section of the program and exam questions. Recently, I had a chance to take the Silver level exam. I was certified Bronze last year, and found the exam to be very challenging and the portfolio process was an excellent opportunity, and challenging as well, to reflect on my experience in a way I haven't done before.
To be honest, I was dreading the Silver exam. I feel I have the experience, but since the exam is gate protocol for certification - and I wasn't as familiar with the texts as I wanted to be - let's just say my test anxiety was high.
Turns out I had needless test anxiety - like most people usually experience. I passed! The test was much more difficult than the Bronze. If I had to give any advice on the Silver exam - it would be to brush up on the Lean accounting and Product Development materials.
Through my TWI Service bookstore, you can get pretty deep discounts on used materials. SME offers packages also, which would reduce shipping charges. The exam is open book, but you have to know the materials very well at this level. The indices are horrible, so flag concepts, tools, etc. as you see them in the chapters.
In another post, I'll elaborate on exam review sessions which may be helpful for you in preparing for the exam.
I knew that when we were building the program that the exam would be hard ...I think I underestimated that assessment. It's downright tough. But that is the way we designed it. Now that I made it through the gate, I have to find my way through the maze of experience and finish my portfolio!(exam questions I wrote two years ago [as if I remember the answers, I barely remember last week!] are tagged so as not show up on my personal exam - in case you are thinking "bias". The level of sophistication for exam revisions and security actually surprised me when I was involved with the construction of the program.)
If you have any questions about Lean Certification, goto http://www.sme.org/
or contact me on my TWI Service
page. I'll do my best to answer any questions you have.