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What is ISO18404:2015?


The new International Standard ISO18404 was officially launched in the UK on the 2nd of February 2016, having been published three months earlier. It is the first International Standard that will look to certify both organisations and their personnel for their successful implementation of Lean and/or Six Sigma.

Certification against ISO18404 will be for application of competencies rather than knowledge and is aimed at the delivering of results. Prior to ISO18404, it was quite the opposite. Often only knowledge was tested, and as a result paths to certification became abused and bad practice became a mainstay.

Lean & Six Sigma

The standard was developed around the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, therefore as a organisation it’s important to have key knowledge of either or both. However, if your organisation hasn’t implemented a documented management system in the past, you can still work toward ISO18404, only the lead time for implementation will be a little longer; you’ll have to build up evidence.

In addition to organisational certification, personnel will be eligible for certification under the following roles, Six Sigma Green, Black & Master Black Belts and Lean Practitioners, Leaders & Experts. However, if you’re a Lean & Six Sigma practitioner, you must display your full competencies for both roles.

Within the aforementioned roles, a competent professional at the Lean Practitioner or Green Belt level will need to adhere to a yearly in-house check, whilst a review every three years by an external certification body is required for Black and Master Black Belts, and their Lean equivalents.

In the first version of the standard, Yellow Belts, White Belts and Project Sponsors or Champions have been omitted from the classes of certifiable personnel, this could change in subsequent revisions.

Sector Scheme

Since the official launch, Professor Tony Bendell has chaired several meetings at the Royal Statistical Society in order to establish a pilot Sector Scheme for certification.

We’re delighted to say the Sector Scheme has gained significant interest and there will be a subsequent announcement very soon regarding this. Some of the first UK-based organisations are currently undergoing gap analysis to be part of the pilot scheme.

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