General Questions

Q) What companies / industries do you work in?

A) We have worked with a wide range of organizations and industries to help them deliver Lean transformation in their businesses. Our clients cross both public and private sectors and operate in both manufacturing and service industries, including consumer goods, technology, industrial goods, transportation, health care, communications, financial, and government services

Q) Do you have a corporate hotel rate?

A) Yes, we do. Please see our Corporate Hotel Rates page.

Training and Certification Program Questions

Q) Do you offer in-house training?

A)  While many of our programs are offered as public, open-type classes, Lean Sensei routinely develops and delivers customized training sessions and projects that are conducted at a specific company (we call these in-house sessions).  It is up to the company to decide if they prefer to send their people to standardized, open courses where they have an opportunity to network and learn from other industries, or to host in-house programs that are uniquely tailored to their specific needs.  Both are effective ways to bring lean expertise to the company.  Some factors to consider are geographic location, scheduling, content customization, and cost management.


Q) How does your program differ from other Lean programs?

A) With many programs available today, it may be difficult to decide which one to take.  At Lean Sensei International we believe that there are unique features that differentiate our program from others.

Training vs. Certification
Some providers offer in-class Lean training only, while others provide Lean Certification and accreditation without the actual training.  At Lean Sensei, both the training and certification are combined into one seamless session without the need to go through each one separately.

Certification is the recognition that you have not only learned the theory, but have also successfully applied it to improve the performance of your organization.  Our certification process requires proof of project completion (both as a class and within one’s company). Our programs are conducted over several months to ensure enough time for training, project implementation and examination.

A Combination of Theory and Real World Experience
Many providers offer only theoretical training, either through a classroom-style lecture or an online course.  We believe that it’s impossible for lean leaders to become true practitioners without hands-on experience, solving problem and applying the lessons learned.  Lean Sensei’s programs are typically 80% hands-on project time and 20% classroom-style training. This 80-20 ratio provides an optimum level of theory-application mix and ensures that participants learn from real world experience.  We believe that there is no substitute for gemba (on-site) project experience. In addition to completing three projects together as a class in the Greenbelt or Blackbelt programs, participants must also complete two additional hands-on assignments at their own company.

Capability and Experience
Ask your Lean provider how long they have been delivering, teaching, and implementing lean.  For best results you should ensure that your provider understands the unique intricacies of your industry and your business. Collectively, Lean Sensei coaches have over 100 years of industry experience, across a variety of manufacturing and service based market sectors, including consumer goods, technology, industrial goods, transportation,  health care, communications, finance and government services.  In addition, Lean Sensei coaches have actual lean experience from some of the best companies in the world, including Toyota, Suzuki, Singapore Airlines, and Ernst & Young.  Each of our coaches  has a minimum of 20 years of work experience, backed by an extensive lean coaching background.

Instructor Support
Consider the level of instructor support for the course – what form does this support take? Will you be able to contact the instructor after the course for ongoing support?  Lean Sensei’s instructors are available to help participants throughout the course and are also available after graduation.  Our instructors can also tailor courses specifically to meet our participants’ needs.

Recognized Training Program
You need to ensure that the training program you’re considering is recognized both within and across the industry.  Is the provider’s training program broadly recognized?  What other companies have engaged their services?  Does their certification adhere to the highest standards in the field?  Lean Sensei’s training program is recognized by more than 800 organizations and industry bodies such as Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) and by leading industry experts such as Dr. Jeffrey Liker, Mike Hoseus and David Meler (authors of Toyota Way books).

Networking Opportunities
Networking and the sharing of thoughts and ideas with other lean leaders are truly effective ways to learn from others also engaged in Lean.  We offer unprecedented opportunities to meet other like-minded professionals through our workshops and networking events. Facilitated networking opportunities allow those on the Lean journey to learn from the experience of others.  We regularly organize after-program networking sessions such as our highly popular Lean Circle events.

Cost is a big determinant for companies of all sizes. With the number of programs available out there, it’s no surprise to see a wide variety of prices ranging from $99 to +$10,000.  The true measure of value is not the actual cost of the program, but rather the ROI (return on investment) to the customer.  Lean Sensei’s Greenbelt and Blackbelt programs bring  four to ten times the return on investment, based on our actual past history. Our clients often comment that the value of our programs is “exceptional” and “can’t be compared to others”  because program participants must produce measurable results before they can graduate from the programs.  The average cost savings achieved through our flagship Blackbelt program over the past decade has been $10 million in savings per class.

Q) How much does your Training and Certification programs cost?

A) Program pricing may differ based on a number of reasons, such as how many people your company may send. Please contact us directly to discuss training program costs, as you may be entitled to a registration discount.


Q) How does your training differ from Lean Six Sigma?

A) Lean Six Sigma is a very specialized subset of Lean training and does not cover all aspects of Lean. Even if you have completed training in Lean Six Sigma, we recommend you complete at least 1 module of our Greenbelt training. Please contact us to discuss your options further.


Q) I already have my Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt and/or Greenbelt from another provider. Do I still need to complete your Greenbelt training before I can go into Blackbelt?

A) We recommend you complete our Greenbelt training course before commencing your Blackbelt training. However, if you have an alternative Greenbelt qualification and sufficient skills and knowledge, you may qualify to enter the Blackbelt program directly. If you feel your previous experience and training are sufficient, please phone our office to speak with one of our Senior Lean coaches who will assess your skill level to ensure you appropriately matched for our Blackbelt program.


Q) How long is the program?

A) Participants in our Greenbelt and Blackbelt programs attend classes for one week a month, for three months. The program is a combination of in-class training and time at an actual manufacturing office or client site, for hands-on training and problem solving.


Q) I’ve completed my Greenbelt, how long should I wait before I start Blackbelt training?

A) We recommend waiting at least 6 months before commencing your Blackbelt training. This gives you adequate time to practice your new skills in your own work environment.


Q) Whitebelt Training – I’m interested in Whitebelt training but I can’t see it listed on your events calendar page. When and where is this offered?

A) Whitebelt training is a basic “Introduction to Lean” program, usually 2-3 days in length. It is developed for people at all levels of an organization. Often the best option is for a company’s own Greenbelt graduates to facilitate this program, with support from Lean Sensei in the form of content and materials.


Q) I’m attending Greenbelt / Blackbelt in Vancouver. Do you have corporate hotel rates?

A) Yes, we  have corporate rates with some of the major hotels in the downtown area. Please click here or contact us for the most up-to-date information.


Q) Is lunch provided at any of the courses?

A) We offer a catered lunch at all our courses. Please contact us if you have any dietary requirements or  concerns.


Q) When does the next Greenbelt / Blackbelt program start?

A) Please see our event calendar page

Consulting Questions

Q) We can’t wait for our employees to be trained in Lean– will you send consultants to implement Lean in our business?

A) We truly believe that transformational change can only occur when led from within the company. As such, our consulting services are intended to act only as a guide, and to allow a company’s own employees drive change.  With the exception of special circumstances, we will not send our consultants to implement Lean without the company having first invested in its employee development.

Japan Benchmarking Tour Questions

Q) I am interested in attending your Japan trip, but I am not enrolled in any of your courses. Can I still attend?

A) Yes, we welcome people to attend the Japan benchmarking trip, however acceptance is subject to availability. Places fill up fast, so we recommend booking 6-12 months in advance.


Q) I am attending the Japan trip, can I extend the trip by arriving earlier or staying later?

A) Yes, you are more than welcome to extend your trip to Japan. As you are responsible for booking and managing your flights, it is up to you if you would prefer to arrive earlier, stay later or both.


Q) Does the Japan trip include accommodation?

A) Yes, accommodation is included for the duration of the tour. You are responsible for making your own arrangements if you choose to arrive early or stay longer once the tour is completed.


Q) Does the Japan trip include transport?

A) You are responsible for arranging transport until you meet with the group and upon completion of the tour (including your flights). Transport is included to and from all activities


Q) Does the Japan trip include my flights?

A) No, you are responsible for booking your own flights to/from Japan.


Q) I send in my registration form. Should I start making my travel arrangements?

A) Please avoid making any travel arrangements until you have received course confirmation. Lean Sensei cannot be held responsible for any charges incurred for attendees who need to cancel travel reservations in the event that a course is cancelled.


Q) What  are my visa requirements for Japan?

A) Canadian nationals are not required to obtain a visa to enter Japan when the purpose of their visit is commerce, a conference, or tourism and is for 3 months or less. For the latest information on visa requirements, please visit the Embassy of Japan in Canada website at http://www.ca.emb-japan.go.jp/index.html or your local Japanese Embassy.


Q) What vaccinations will I need to go to Japan?

A) Please check with your health care provider. In general, no special immunizations or medications are necessary for most trips to Japan.


Q) What happens if I don’t like Japanese food?

A) Japan is a multi-cultural country and offers a wide range of foods and specialties, from street food to international restaurants. If you are not a fan of Japanese food, don’t worry – you can easily find a variety of different fast-food outlets or western style foods on sale in local shopping centers and supermarkets.

Common Lean Questions

Q) How do I get started?

A) A good place to start is with one of our proprietary Lean Diagnostic Assessments.  This process will provide a snapshot of your organization in its current state and will outline a 12-month roadmap for the next stage of our Lean journey, including employee training requirements and key projects to achieve some “quick wins”.


Q) How does Lean apply in the service industry?

A) Whilst not all Lean manufacturing ideas translate easily from the factory floor to the office cubicle, there are many opportunities for service based organizations to benefit from Lean through standardization, quality improvement, cost reduction and improved efficiency.
We understand some of unique challenges facing the service industry when implementing Lean, which is why we offer a specialized Greenbelt for service training program. Lean sensei has successfully applied Lean thinking into organizations in Health Care, Higher Education, Professional Services and Public Services.


Q) I’ve heard of a lot of times when Lean has failed – what are the most common mistakes in implementing Lean?

A) Often what it comes down to is a lack of understanding of what it means to truly be “Lean”. This can be at any or all levels of an organization, but fundamentally stems from the following:
1. Senior Management Understanding – Lean requires commitment and involvement by senior leaders and you cannot commit to something you don’t understand. Senior leaders must work on identifying and eliminating barriers so the rest of the organization can focus on process improvements.
2. Employee Distrust – Management must inspire trust in their employees that improvements in productivity will not lead to layoffs; Management must trust in the experience, knowledge and intention of their workers.
3. Lean is more than just a technical approach – The tools of Lean are easy – it is Lean culture that is the most difficult to address. The tools will not lead to any gains unless the cultural barriers to improvement and change have been broken down, which requires patience and consistent efforts.

Q) How does Lean differ to Six Sigma?

A) Whilst Lean and Six Sigma often use similar tools and techniques (e.g. 5S, Value Stream Mapping) the core difference stems from the two philosophies.

At it’s core, Lean philosophy focuses very much on enhancing customer value – that is, offering your customer what they want, when they want it, and at the price they are looking to pay. Fundamental to this, is eliminating or reducing anything considered by the customer as non-value added. In Lean, this is where we talk about “waste” and can be in the form of cost or time.

On the other hand, Six Sigma methodology focuses on quality by emphasizing the reduction of errors in any given process. It is a mathematical approach focusing on identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) or variations during manufacturing and business processes.


Q) What is the difference between Lean and Lean Six Sigma?

A) Some organizations or practitioners find that a combination of Lean and Six Sigma is best for their uses. This is where the idea of “Lean Six Sigma” has derived from. Lean Six Sigma is an integrated approach combining the statistical data centric methodology that offers statistical validity combined with the customer focused business management tool of Lean.