ISO 18404:2015 – New International Standard for Lean and Six Sigma Certification


ISO 18404:2015 was launched by the International organisation for standardisation (ISO) in December 2015 as a new International Standard for both organisations and individuals as competent practitioners of both Lean and/or Six Sigma;

To the best of the author’s knowledge, this is the first ISO standard that allows certification for both individuals and organisations;

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate that they have an adequate level of competence, an amalgamation of education, training, skills and experience necessary to fulfil their roles.

For the organisations, they are expected to define, maintain and control an appropriate, documented Six Sigma, Lean or “Lean & Six Sigma” strategy, appropriate approaches and/or plans of action to achieve these objectives.

Why ISO 18404

This International Standard sets out to address the following concerns which have been the main subject of many debates over the years regarding Lean and Six Sigma training and certification:

  • Training and Certification providers who accredit their own certificate (Conflict of interest)
  • Training and Certification providers with no accreditation
  • Training and Certification services with unbelievably cheap price
  • Various Accreditation Bodies
  • Various Bodies of Knowledge
  • Some of them require a project, but some others don’t
  • Some of the certificates require renewal but some others are valid in perpetuity
  • Lack of regulation may result in abuse and misleading
  • Many of the certificates are not worth the ink and the paper they are printed on. Can you imagine online Six
  • Sigma Master Black Belt certification with $199.99 !!!

Contents of ISO 18404

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms, definitions, and abbreviated terms
  4. Competency of key personnel in relation to Six Sigma, Lean, and “Lean & Six Sigma”
    1. Education and training
    2. Skills and competency
    3. Experience
  5. Adequacy of an organization with regards to its Six Sigma, Lean or “Lean & Six Sigma” approach and deployment
    1. General
    2. Adequacy of the organization’s Six Sigma, Lean or “Lean & Six Sigma” strategy
    3. Adequacy of the organization’s Six Sigma, Lean or “Lean & Six Sigma” architecture
    4. Adequacy of the skills and competencies of the key personnel
    5. Adequacy and continual improvement of organizational deployment
  6. Resource management
    1. General
    2. Provision of resources
    3. Ongoing monitoring of requirements
    4. Key personnel
    5. Maintaining competence of key personnel
    6. organization
    7. maintaining competence of the organization

Annex A (normative) Six Sigma
Annex B (normative) Lean
Annex C (normative) Lean & Six Sigma

ISO 18404 Competency-based Certifications

Lean Six Sigma Lean Six Sigma
Lean Practitioner Six Sigma Green Belt Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
Lean Leader Six Sigma Black Belt Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
Lean Expert Six Sigma Master Black Belt Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Lean Competencies in ISO 18404

  • Understanding and communicating expected benefits of Lean
  • Lean Principles
  • Stakeholder management
  • Measurement of process performance
  • Creativity thinking
  • Visual management and control
  • Workplace optimisation
  • Team-based problem solving
  • Implementing Lean approaches
  • Analysis of data
  • Risk Analysis
  • Sustainment
  • Motivating others
  • Managing productive time
  • Workload planning
  • Self-review and self-development
  • Lean techniques
  • Presentation and reporting skills

Six Sigma Competencies in ISO 18404

  • Organisational benefits identification and prioritisation
  • Organisational process improvement
  • Change management
  • Leadership development in self
  • Leadership development in others
  • Data acquisition for analysis
  • Creativity thinking
  • Customer focus
  • Decision making and taking
  • Interpersonal and team leadership skills
  • Motivating others
  • Numeracy
  • Practical problem solving (opportunity realisation)
  • Presentation and reporting skills
  • Process thinking and process analysis skills
  • Project management
  • Risk analysis and management
  • Self-review and development
  • Six Sigma tools
  • Stakeholder management
  • Statistical techniques
  • Statistical software use
  • Sustainability and control

Lean & Six Sigma Competencies in ISO 18404

Competencies for “Lean & Six Sigma” in ISO 18404 include all “Lean” as well as “Six Sigma” Competencies.

CBIS and ISO 18404

CBIS, as a prominent lean and six sigma training, coaching and consulting services provider in Australia, other than its existing accreditation from other accreditation bodies, has been piloted in Exemplar Global ISO 18404 project and now is the FIRST Exemplar Global Recognized Training Provider (RTP) worldwide to be able to run the ISO 18404 examinations for Lean, Six Sigma and Lean & Six Sigma Certifications:

  • Lean Beginner, Lean Practitioner, Lean Leader, Lean Expert
  • Six Sigma Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, Master Black Belt
  • Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, Master Black Belt
  • Lean & Six Sigma ISO 18404 Internal Auditor, Lean & Six Sigma ISO 18404 Lead Auditor

CBIS ISO 18404 Consulting Services for Organisations

  • Conduct an initial gap assessment against the requirements of ISO 18404 standard;
  • Develop required documents including policies, manuals procedures, registers, forms, etc. to meet the documentation requirements of ISO 18404 standard;
  • Develop Training program based on the existing gaps and required competencies;
  • Conduct in-house Lean and/or Six Sigma training courses and coach the team for their; projects
  • Supervise the implementation of other requirements of ISO 18404;
  • Conduct Internal Audit against the ISO 18404 requirements;
  • Support the team during the certification audits.

How CBIS can help you

Please contact us if you need our hands to assist you in developing and establish your management system in compliance with the requirements of ISO 18404:2015 standard.

02 Jul 2021
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