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Lean Competency System celebrates decade in business

28 June 2023

Two men standing on a staircase look towards a camera while they hold up a card saying '10 more years.'
Paul Devlin (l) and Simon Elias

A start-up founded on Cardiff University research that offers ‘lean’ qualifications for global organisations, individuals and consultants is celebrating a decade in business.

‘Lean’ is an organisational management technique that aims to improve business performance through continuous improvement, maximizing customer value by minimizing waste.

Developed at Cardiff Business School, the Lean Competency System – or LCS - offers accreditation to lean training programmes, enabling them to issue lean qualifications to those they train. Some of the world’s biggest brands have been LCS accredited, certifying thousands of staff across the world.

Simon Elias established the operating company - Lean Competency Services Ltd - a decade ago after developing the concept whilst a director of Cardiff Business School’s Lean Enterprise Research Centre.

“The LCS represents a hugely successful Cardiff University venture,” said Mr Elias. “We’ve been instrumental in promoting the Cardiff University brand worldwide whilst growing the business every year, expanding our directly accredited organisations from just a handful in 2014 to more than 150 today, and issuing hundreds of thousands of certificates worldwide.”

In recognition of its success and potential for continued growth, Cardiff University has extended the LCS licence agreement for another ten years.

Paul Devlin, Head of Research Commercialisation and Impact, said: “The LCS has proved a phenomenally successful global export for Cardiff. Its model of accreditation, ongoing training and certification has helped to generate more than £1m in turnover since its inception, creating three direct employees and support staff, and we are delighted to reaffirm our commitment to another 10 years of business with the company.”

Mr Elias added: “We now have thousands of practitioner members and more than 500 organisations using the LCS globally, from sole traders to major organisations. The LCS model continues to meet a real business need in helping organisations engage their staff in improvement and also develop the personal capabilities required to create and embed a sustainable culture of improvement.”

As well as accreditation, the LCS facilitates a community of practitioners, through its Practitioner Membership offering and promotes personal capability growth through a unique Continuing Professional Development platform.

Cardiff Business School remains a leading light for organisations to pursue lean and operational excellence research and teaching whether through the pursuit of Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships or through our variety of Executive Education offerings in this field.

Professor Sarah Lethbridge, Dean of External Engagement, Cardiff Business School, said: “The legacy of Lean Thinking at Cardiff Business School is immense. We’re so proud that the Lean Competency System continues to go from strength to strength, extending its reach and impact across the globe.”

The LCS has been adopted by major multinational organisations across multiple sectors, including Barclays, BBC, KPMG, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, The Phoenix Group, Guidewell, National Australia Bank, Boeing and PWC.

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