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What is ISO 18404 standards?

The International Standards Organization technical committee devised the standards to practice and issue certifications to companies and individuals who deploys “Lean” and “Six Sigma” concepts in the organizations. The ISO 18404 is aimed at providing the benchmark for competencies of practitioners for both Lean and Six Sigma.

Three Levels of Certification in Lean and Six Sigma

It is to note that ISO 18404 sets standards for Lean and Six Sigma not “Lean Six Sigma”. The Lean and Six Sigma certification levels are commonly divided into three as shown below

Key Competencies of Lean and Six Sigma

18 Key competencies in Lean management

The ISO 18404 defines 18 key competencies to become a Lean certificated professional but it also differs based on the roles mentioned above. The below listed competencies are common to all roles

  • Understanding benefits of lean
  • Measurement of process performance
  • Provide internal consultancy in Lean
  • Creativity thinking
  • Visual management
  • Perform Lean audits
  • Benchmarking
  • Analysis of data
  • Risk analysis
  • Lean principles
  • Motivating others
  • Lean techniques
  • Presentation skills
  • Workplace Optimization
  • Sustainability
  • Use appropriate Lean tools
  • Identification of suitable areas for Lean implementation
  • Managing and training the competency


23 Key competencies in Six Sigma

Similarly for Six Sigma there are 23 competencies as follows

  • Customer focus
  • Decision making
  • Motivating others
  • Business process improvement
  • Change management
  • Leadership development (self and others)
  • Creativity thinking
  • Project management
  • Statistical tools
  • Presentation skills
  • Organizational benefits identification and prioritization.
  • Data acquisition for analysis
  • Numeracy
  • Six Sigma tools
  • Statistical concepts and Software use
  • Risk analysis
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Empowerment
  • Process thinking skills
  • Practical Problem Solving
  • Sustainability and control
  • Excellent Communication skills
  • Training and mentoring Six sigma concepts and tools



The ISO standards are globally accepted and organizations that like to get ISO certification look for professionals with key competencies to  approach and deploy Six Sigma, Lean or Lean & Six Sigma. To be ISO recognized individuals need to get certified from an accredited body. There are very little institutions that are internationally accredited. One such institution in Bangalore is NIQC which has EA-JAS, Universal Registrars, ISO 9001:2015. Check out the courses offered by them below.

Lean Six Sigma Training Programs

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