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In 2005, SME engaged hundreds of volunteers from companies, universities, associations and independent practitioners to help create its Lean Certification program. During the development phase, a connector/content-sharing tool such as the Lean Registry was conceptually described by volunteers as necessary to help connect practitioners to each other and to those seeking lean collaboration, guidance and expertise. Lean Certification candidates progressing to the Silver or Gold levels must demonstrate that they have mentored and trained others along the way and practitioners frequently need to look outside their company to get mentoring and support. As a result, the Lean Registry was developed.
Lean users cross industry, company and geographic domains. Practitioners work at global enterprises, small companies, independent consultancies, and public institutions. Some work in large departments; others are the original "Lean Lone Rangers". The Lean Registry allows users to post needs/expertise directly to their profile, create virtual groups and make safe connections more easily. Registrants can easily search through shared profiles to find who might match a specific need they have and then send an invitation to connect. Users control if or when to accept a connection and/or share contact information. A Shingo Prize examiner described it as 'Lean Harmony dot com'. From a lean perspective it is about making the value of our people more visible and establishing clear connections to enable value to flow safely.