Body of Knowledge

The accompanying cetificate is shown to demonstrate the Lean Bronze Certified (LBC) earned by Jeff Sipes.Our consultants understand how to integrate and utilize Lean, Six Sigma, and BPM methodologies and tools. Our credentials include Lean Silver Certification (LSC) from SME/AME/Shingo Prize/ASQ and Six Sigma Green Belt certification from Arizona State University. In addition, Jeff Sipes is a lead instructor and subject matter expert for Villanova University BPM curriculum. We understand and are life-long students of these Bodies of Knowledge.

Lean Certification – Rigorous and Evidence-Based

ASQ, AME, Shingo Institute, and SME have partnered to sponsor and develop 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 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

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

Additional sources for Body of Knowledge and Lean information include:

Body of Knowledge Info Developed by Back2Basics, LLC

Monthly Column in The Fabricator magazine

Jeff Sipes writes a regular monthly column focused on lean and continuous improvement for The Fabricator magazine. The magazine has broad distribution to manufacturers across America. Take a look for a new topic each month.


Various Examples of 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 results are highlighted. But more importantly, the lean journey is explained such that the reader gets 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. "Horizontal Thinking in a Vertical World" – Book Concept Paper – October 2012 - (22K)

This is a concept paper describing a book that is being researched and written. The proposed title captures the essence of the subject. To be most competitive, we must act, organize, and operate horizontally. This is very difficult because our businesses and plants are vertical! The author welcomes feedback on this concept paper.

Download "HTVW_Book_Concept_Paper" - (22K)

8. Generic Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for BPM Project – November 2011 - (262KB)

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!

Download "BPM WBS – generic.pdf" - (262KB)

9. Paper Presented at SME National Conference in Nashville June 2010 (741KB)

This material was presented by Jeff Sipes, Back2Basics, and Jeff Paquin, plant manager at Back2Basics' client, at the 2010 SME National Conference in Nashville, TN. The following abstract for the presentation describes the purpose and importance to the manufacturing community:

Download "Alignment and Traction though Operations Vision" - Ops Vison - July 2010.pdf (741KB)

While most companies are involved in improvement initiatives and programs, the track record for sustainable and meaningful results is spotty. An Operations Vision identifies direction and destination to channel the use of resources concisely. It minimizes the risk of organizational misunderstanding, consumption of resources at cross-purposes, and the "bullwhip" affect as operations reacts to marketing, finance, and engineering strategies. How to develop actionable items and the experience of one company will be shared.

10. Using Operations Vision to Enhance Improvement Strategy (52KB) White Paper

This is a white paper that captures the reason for and approach to creating an Operations Vision as part of a serious Lean initiative and/or transformation process. The paper also served as the basis for an article that was published in Industry Week's Continuous Improvement e-newsletter and website posting. Please review the white paper and offer feedback or share your experiences with operations visioning.

11. Japan Lean Study Trip Report (765KB)

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.

12.  Paper Presented at SME Conference in Los Angeles 2006

This paper was written by Jeff Sipes and presented at the 2006 SME Manufacturing Summit conference in Los Angeles. The following abstract for the paper describes the purpose and importance to the manufacturing community:

"UtilizingTime to Drive Meaningful Lean Implementation" (48KB)

Time is of the essence! Unfortunately this is not well understood in too many Lean implementations and business transformations. This paper explores how to use time-based performance measures and Lean techniques to drive Lean investment and activities toward improvements that drop results to the bottom line. Starting with lean strategy, time-based measures and analysis help the leadership develop direction and allocate scarce improvement resources. At the plant and business unit levels, time-based measures and techniques help identify specific targets and opportunities for improvement. Finally, at the team level, time-based measures and techniques are used to execute the plans and strategies laid out at higher levels in the organization. Companies that are serious about Lean transformation across the enterprise must deal with scarce resources, competing objectives, and improvement obstacles (ie, anchor-draggers). Time is a common denominator that serves as a language, a point of reference, and a catalyst for change. This paper fits these various components together to demonstrate how to drive meaningful Lean implementation.

13.  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."

Download 5S Webinar & Education Workshop (9.9MB)

14. "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.

Download Eagle Eye Walkabout Sheet (60KB)

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!