Body of Knowledge

Lean Gold CertificationBack2Basics understands how to integrate and utilize Lean, Six Sigma, and BPM methodologies and tools. Relevant credentials include Lean Gold Certification (LGC) from Lean Alliance (SME, AME, and Shingo Institute) and Six Sigma Green Belt certification from Arizona State University. In addition, Jeff Sipes is a course instructor and subject matter expert for Villanova University BPM and Lean Six Sigma curriculum. Jeff understands and is a life-long student of these Bodies of Knowledge.

Lean Gold Certification – Rigorous and Evidence-Based

The Lean Alliance sponsors and supports an industry-recognized Lean certification that is unique in the following way – it assesses and recognizes the Lean candidate on both knowledge of Lean (demonstrated by successfully passing a rigorous test) and application of Lean (candidate’s real experience demonstrated through development and submission of an extensive portfolio and accomplishment record that is reviewed by industry experts).

Until now, industry lacked a consensus-based tool for measuring proficiency with Lean ideas and experience. This Lean certification will help align Lean practices within companies, throughout supply chains and across industries. It will also identify true Lean experts, removing uncertainty when engaging a consultant or hiring a new employee.

True Lean strength comes over time and is achieved through depth of experience.  The Body of Knowledge for the lean certification has been defined by the alliance partners and a panel of experts. To achieve Lean certification, the candidate must understand Lean thinking as applied to:

  • Leadership, empowerment, respect for people
  • Business strategy, product design, customer focus
  • Supplier relationships
  • Tools for finding and eliminating waste
  • Tools for continuous improvement
  • Improving quality, cost, delivery, business and service processes, and business results
The certification can be achieved at three levels:
  • Lean Bronze Certified (LBC) - focused on tactical level
  • Lean Silver Certified (LSC) - focused on integrative level
  • Lean Gold Certified (LGC)- focused on enterprise level

For more detail, visit the SME web site at for details about the certification’s development and application.


Body of Knowledge Info Developed by Back2Basics, LLC

Monthly Column in The Fabricator magazine

Jeff Sipes wrote a regular monthly column for seven years focused on lean and continuous improvement for The Fabricator magazine. The magazine has broad distribution to manufacturers across America and other parts of the world.  Visit The Fabricator magazine site to see topics that range from the basics to more nuanced particulars.

Various Examples of Back2Basics Body of Knowledge

1. CIO Review article – “The Process Talk!”

This March 2016 article in CIO Review magazine focuses on a very important topic for companies pursuing BPM and overall business improvement.  The topic is “process”. Jeff Sipes describes how a company can begin to create process understanding through the process talk!

2. Fabricator article about L.T. Rich Products, a Back2Basics consulting client

The article titled “Lean Manufacturing Prepares Lawn Care OEM for the Future” focuses on the improvements achieved by the company. Back2Basics assisted Rich Products over a period of two years to streamline the flow and create stability in the manufacturing processes. The article describes how they paved the way for future growth and product diversification.

3.  CIO Review article - "BPM as Springboard to Renew Lean Sigma Investment"

This March 2015 article in CIO Review magazine focuses on the intersection of Lean, Six Sigma, and BPM (Business Process Management).  Jeff Sipes illustrates how companies can (and should) use the power of all three improvement approaches to achieve breakthrough performance.

4. 2015 Japan Study Mission Whitepaper - March 2015

This whitepaper presents some of the highlights from the 2015 Japan Study Mission. The participants in the trip included people from U.S., Canada, Mexico, Spain, U.K., and Israel. There was lots of rich learning as we visited a variety of companies, ranging from Toyota to Mitsubishi to a Mazda dealership. Please take a look and share with your colleagues.

5. "Piecing Together the Continuous Improvement Puzzle" article in The Fabricator – November 2014

This article provides an overview of a Back2Basics client’s lean journey. Miller Welding and Machining Company’s (now Miller Fabrication Solutions) results are highlighted. But more importantly, the lean journey is explained such that the reader gets insight into how the pieces fit together. Back2Basics' role is documented in a way that illustrates the value of the outside change agent.

6. "Blast the Silos to Unlock Potential" article in The Fabricator – September 2013

In a company with silos, departmental functions rarely interact, and workers within those departments are focused solely on their core assignments. These silos perpetuate inward thinking, turf protection, and subpar results for customers. To improve, an organization needs to tear down these structures. This article provides insight into and recommendations to address this entrenched issue many companies face.

7. Generic Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for BPM Project – November 2011

The generic WBS for a "typical" BPM project is intended to provide a starting point for project planning. The WBS illustrates the phases, provides rough time estimates, and highlights work tasks. The value to the reader is that you don’t have to start from scratch when considering projects using the BPM methodology. The WBS can also be the basis for an overall Improvement Gameplan. Take a look!

8. Japan Lean Study Trip Report

This paper was written following a Lean Study Trip to Japan in October 2008. Jeff Sipes offers thoughts and observations about what he saw/experienced and how it applies to North American manufacturing companies. The report is high-value reading for anyone who is interested in TPS, Lean manufacturing, and business improvement.

9.  Presentation Used in 5S Webinar and Education Workshops in 2008

This material was used in a webinar and two one-day workshops hosted by SME in 2008 and conducted by Jeff Sipes.  The webinar was developed as an introductory session for the one-day workshops.  Testimonies provided by participants include:

  • "Thanks for a great hour.  We had a boat anchor with us and the webinar helped him float.  Now we need to get him in the boat!"
  • "Thank you for the presentation.  It was a very good presentation.  Even the Black Belts here in the office commented that they took something away from it."
  • "Thank you immensely!  He was a super speaker and put it in very useful terms."

10. "Eagle Eye Walkabout Sheet" to Assist Manufacturing Executives Be More Effective

The "Eagle Eye Walkabout Sheet" is a Back2Basics mini-tool that is designed to help manufacturing executives, from operations managers to senior staff, be more effective in asking questions that reinforce Lean and set expectations at the front line. This specific set of questions is tailored for an operation that uses cells, but could easily be modified to reflect your unique operations.

Think of the leverage the manufacturing executive can have by demonstrating and interest in and understanding of Lean fundamentals. A brief conversation with the area supervisor, lead person, or operator will show the level to which Lean is applied, used, and understood. By the way, word will travel fast that the "boss" is asking questions that we need to be prepared to discuss and answer. Take a look and try it out.

Check Back Periodically to See What’s New!
This section of Back2Basics, LLC web site will be used to periodically present technical and subject-matter papers, presentations, and mini-tools for manufacturing executives and Lean practitioners. Check back periodically to see what is new in the body of knowledge!