The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Dearborn, Mich., will host a meeting July 25-28 for lean manufacturing industry experts to help the organization develop a lean-certification program for manufacturing professionals. SME has scheduled the program to begin March 2006, with the first certification exams to be held in Los Angeles. In addition to SME, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and The Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing are collaborating with industry and academia to develop this program. According to SME, the lean certification has four levels -- one measures knowledge of lean principles; two requires candidates apply those principles for improvements showing measurable results; three dictates lean practitioners be senior employees/team leaders who can fulfill previous requirements and direct the transformation of a complete value stream; and four requires practitioners have authority over assets, processes, and people and understand lean transformation across the entire enterprise. Go to sme.org for information.