Glossary of Terms

This Glossary contains terms commonly referenced by Lean Practitioners, including Kaufman Global's proprietary best practice terminology. By no means complete, it is regularly evolving. Examples, comments, and expanded explanations have been included for many of the terms listed to enhance overall understanding.

Terms listed may have several variations and alternate meanings. We invite readers to suggest improved definitions. To submit a recommendation, click here.

0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

1

100% Inspection
Lean emphasizes “zero defects” by preventing errors or problems from becoming defects in the product. The term "100% inspection" in Lean refers to more than having an operator conduct an inspection after each operation. Implementing 100% inspection means deploying preventive and detective devices and techniques to achieve the same results as 100% inspection, that is 100% effective. The objective is to strive for a... Read more › Lean emphasizes “zero defects” by preventing errors or problems from becoming defects in the product. The term "100% inspection" in Lean refers to more than having an operator conduct an inspection after each operation. Implementing 100% inspection means deploying preventive and detective devices and techniques to achieve the same results as 100% inspection, that is 100% effective. The objective is to strive for a state where errors are either prevented from occurring in the first place or are prevented from becoming defects that continue through the production process.

2

20 Keys®
See Lean Daily Management System®

3

3 Drivers of Customer Satisfaction
The three drivers of customer satisfaction are quality, cost and delivery.
3 General Principles of Kaizen
The key to successful Kaizen is going to the shop floor, working with the actual product, and getting the facts. The three principles of Kaizen are... Read more › The key to successful Kaizen is going to the shop floor, working with the actual product, and getting the facts. The three principles of Kaizen are:
  1. gemba: the shop floor
  2. gembutsu: the actual product
  3. genjitsu: the facts
3Ds (3 elements of demand)
Working conditions or jobs that are dirty, dangerous or difficult.
3P (Production Preparation Process)
Rapidly designing production processes and equipment to ensure capability, built-in quality, productivity and takt-flow-pull. The production preparation process minimizes resources needed such as capital, tooling, space, inventory and time.

5

5 Steps for Lean
The 5 Steps for Lean are as follows:
  1. Define value as perceived by the customer
  2. Identify the value stream and eliminate waste
  3. Make your product or service ‘flow’ through the value stream
  4. ‘Pull’ your product or service through the system
  5. Pursue perfection
5 Whys
A simple but effective method of analyzing and solving problems by asking “why” five times (or as many times as needed to determine root cause). This approach is used to construct cause-and-effect diagrams.
5S
A method for organizing a workplace, especially a shared workplace (like a shop floor or an office area), and keeping it organized. The 5Ss are used to eliminate waste and increase efficiency. Some companies add safety and call it 6S. The Ss are derived from the Japanese words... Read more › A method for organizing a workplace, especially a shared workplace (like a shop floor or an office area), and keeping it organized. The 5Ss are used to eliminate waste and increase efficiency. Some companies add safety and call it 6S. The Ss are derived from the Japanese words:
  1. seiri = sorting: Going through all tools, materials, etc., in the work area and keeping only essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded. This leads to fewer hazards and less clutter to interfere with productive work. 
  2. seiton = simplifying, or straighten: Focuses on the need for an orderly workplace. "Orderly" in this sense means arranging the tools and equipment in an order that promotes workflow. Tools and equipment should be kept where they will be used, and the process should be ordered in a manner that eliminates extra motion. 
  3. seis = sweeping, systematic cleaning, or shining: Indicates the need to keep the workplace clean as well as neat. Cleaning in Japanese companies is a daily activity. At the end of each shift, the work area is cleaned up and everything is restored to its place, making it easy to see what goes where and to know when everything is where it should be. The key point is that maintaining cleanliness should be part of the daily work - not an occasional activity initiated when things get too messy. 
  4. seiketsu = standardizing: This refers to standardized work practices. It refers to more than standardized cleanliness (otherwise this would mean essentially the same as "systemized cleanliness"). This means operating in a consistent and standardized fashion. Everyone knows exactly what his or her responsibilities are, and time is built into their jobs to perform them. In part, this follows from seiton where the order of a workplace should reflect the process of work, these imply standardized work practice and work station layout. 
  5. shitsuke = sustaining: Refers to maintaining and reviewing standards. Once the previous 4Ss have been established, they become the new way to operate. Maintain the focus on this new way of operating, and do not allow a gradual decline back to old ways. Shitsuke is also about changing processes, equipment and individual behaviors to prevent disorganization and uncleanliness from occurring in the first place. Further, when an issue arises such as a suggested improvement, or a new way of working, or a new tool, or a new output requirement, then a review of the first 4Ss is appropriate.

6

6 Big Losses in Equipment Efficiency
One of the major goals of TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) and OEE (Operating Equipment Effectiveness) focused programs is to reduce and / or eliminate what are called the Six Big Losses — the most common causes of equipment related efficiency loss in manufacturing. The Six Big Losses are... Read more › One of the major goals of TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) and OEE (Operating Equipment Effectiveness) focused programs is to reduce and / or eliminate what are called the Six Big Losses — the most common causes of equipment related efficiency loss in manufacturing. The Six Big Losses are:
  1. equipment failure (breakdown) loss: Largest of all losses, it includes function-stoppage where failure occurs unexpectedly and function-deterioration where failure occurs / performance decreases over time.
  2. set-up and adjustment loss: Losses due to downtime from changeover and minor process adjustments.
  3. speed loss: Slowing the equipment down to produce good quality.
  4. minor stoppage and idling loss: Losses we tend “to put up with” such as part hanging and pushing the reset button.
  5. defect and rework loss: Downtime and manpower losses.
  6. start-up/yield loss: Equipment warm-up and stabilization.
6Ms of Production (man, machine, material, method, mother nature and measurement)
Understanding how these factors impact the process and the establishment of standards are key steps in strengthening production processes. These factors are used to construct cause-and-effect diagrams.

7

7 Characteristics of a Business Process
A process is a series of actions or steps toward achieving a particular end. A business process or a sub-process can be described based on the following characteristics... Read more › A process is a series of actions or steps toward achieving a particular end. A business process or a sub-process can be described based on the following characteristics:
  1. scope: Starting point and end point for the series of steps.
  2. purpose: Overall objective or reason why the process is performed.
  3. steps: Actions performed by operators.
  4. sequence: Order in which steps are performed.
  5. operators: Individuals that perform the steps.
  6. outcome: A specific result, product or state.
  7. customer: Next process, requestor, or end-user of the outcome.
7 Leadership Wastes
Arise from a failure of leadership to harness the potential that resides in all workgroups. The 7 wastes of leadership are... Read more › Arise from a failure of leadership to harness the potential that resides in all workgroups. The seven wastes of leadership are:
  1. focus waste: Arises when everyone is not aligned and energized on critical issues.
  2. structure waste: Arises when there is not a comprehensive system in place to maintain focus throughout the organization.
  3. resource allocation waste: Arises when time and money is not formally committed to agreed upon initiatives.
  4. integration waste: Arises when all methods, initiatives, tools and programs are not compelled to work seamlessly.
  5. involvement waste: Arises when employees are not required to participate in all efforts that impact their work and work areas.
  6. discipline waste: Is the loss caused by failure to maintain the behaviors and processes of the structure.
  7. ownership waste: Is the loss that occurs when the management team and other significant individuals do not personally, and as a group, take direct responsibility for eliminating all of these wastes.
7 Management and Planning Tools
The seven management and planning tools have their roots in operations research work done after World War II and in Japanese Total Quality Control (TQC) research. In 1979, the book Seven New Quality Tools for Managers and Staff was published and was translated into English by Bob King, QOAL/PQC in 1983. The seven tools include... Read more › The seven management and planning tools have their roots in operations research work done after World War II and in Japanese Total Quality Control (TQC) research. In 1979, the book Seven New Quality Tools for Managers and Staff was published and was translated into English by Bob King, QOAL/PQC in 1983. The seven tools include:
  1. affinity diagram: Takes large amounts of disorganized data and information and enables one to organize it into groupings based on natural relationships. See modified affinity diagram.
  2. interrelationship diagraph (ID): Displays all the interrelated cause-and-effect relationships and factors involved in a complex problem and describes desired outcomes. The process of creating an interrelationship diagraph helps a group analyze the natural links between different aspects of a complex situation.
  3. tree diagram: Breaks down broad categories into finer levels of detail. It can map levels of details of tasks that are required to accomplish a goal or activity. Developing the tree diagram helps one move their thinking from generalities to specifics.
  4. prioritization matrix: Prioritizes items and describes them in terms of weighted criteria. It uses a combination of tree and matrix diagramming techniques to do a pair-wise evaluation of items and to narrow down options to the most desired or most effective.
  5. matrix diagram: Shows the relationship between items. At each intersection, a relationship is either absent or present. It then gives information about the relationship, such as its strength, the roles played by various individuals, or measurements. Six differently shaped matrices are possible: L, T, Y, X, C and roof-shaped, depending on how many groups must be compared.
  6. process decision program chart (PDPC): A useful way of planning is to break down tasks into a hierarchy using a tree diagram. The PDPC extends the tree diagram a couple of levels to identify risks and countermeasures for the bottom level tasks. Different shaped boxes are used to highlight risks and identify possible countermeasures (often shown as 'clouds' to indicate their uncertain nature). The PDPC is similar to the failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) in that both identify risks, consequences of failure, and contingency actions; the FMEA also rates relative risk levels for each potential failure point.
  7. activity network diagram: Plans the appropriate sequence or schedule for a set of tasks and related subtasks. It is used when subtasks can or must occur in parallel. The diagram enables one to determine the critical path (longest sequence of tasks).
7 Types of Waste
Classification of the seven types of waste in production systems, as defined by Taiichi Ohno, the father of waste elimination in manufacturing operations, are as follows. Waste is defined as anything that uses resources, but does not add real value to transforming the product or service... Read more › Classification of the seven types of waste in production systems, as defined by Taiichi Ohno, the father of waste elimination in manufacturing operations, are as follows. Waste is defined as anything that uses resources, but does not add real value to transforming the product or service.
  1. Waste from overproduction.
  2. Waste from waiting or idle time, including a) man waiting on machine, b) man waiting on man, c) machine waiting on man or d) machine waiting on machine.
  3. Waste from unnecessary transportation.
  4. Waste from inefficient processes or over-processing.
  5. Waste of unnecessary inventory or backlog.
  6. Waste of motion and efforts.
  7. Waste from producing defective goods or making corrections.
In recent years, an eighth type of waste was identified, waste from unused creativity (human intellect).

8

8 Tools of Quality Control
Presents complex or abstract statistical information in a simple, visual format. The eight quality tools help monitor and control production processes, analyze and solve problems, generate ideas, and help make improvements... Read more › Presents complex or abstract statistical information in a simple, visual format. The eight quality tools help monitor and control production processes, analyze and solve problems, generate ideas, and help make improvements. The eight tools include:
  1. cause-and-effect diagram (or ishikawa or fishbone): Identifies many possible causes for an effect or problem and sorts ideas into useful categories.
  2. check sheet: A structured, prepared form for collecting and analyzing data; a generic tool that can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes.
  3. control chart: A type of run chart used to study whether a process is predictable / capable and how it changes over time.
  4. histogram: The most commonly used bar graph for showing frequency distributions, or how often each different value in a set of data occurs; looks at the range of variation in a process.
  5. Pareto chart: Shows on a bar graph which factors are more significant.
  6. scatter diagram: Graphs pairs of numerical data, one variable on each axis, to look for a relationship.
  7. run chart: Shows process data trends over time.
  8. flowchart: Visually displays the steps of a process and how the people interact within it.

A

A3 Process
A3 is metric nomenclature for a paper size document. Toyota believes that when you structure your problem-solving around a 1-page piece of paper, then your thinking is focused and structured as well. Per John Shook of the Lean Enterprise Institute: “The most basic definition of an A3 would be a PDCA storyboard or report... Read more › A3 is metric nomenclature for a paper size document. Toyota believes that when you structure your problem-solving around a 1-page piece of paper, then your thinking is focused and structured as well.

Per John Shook of the Lean Enterprise Institute: “The most basic definition of an A3 would be a PDCA storyboard or report, reflecting Toyota’s way of capturing the PDCA process on one sheet of paper. But the broader notion of the A3 as a process — embodying the way of thinking represented in the format — captures the heart of Lean management. In this context, an A3 document structures effective and efficient dialogue that fosters understanding followed by the opportunity for deep agreement. It’s a tool that engenders communication and dialogue in a manner that leads to good decisions, where the proposed countermeasures have a better chance of being effective because they are based on facts and data gathered at the place where the work is performed, from the people who perform it.”
ABC Inventory Classification
Inventory in any organization can run in thousands of part numbers or classifications, as well as millions of parts in quantity. Therefore, inventory is required to be classified with some logic to be able to manage the same. The ABC classification system groups inventory items according... Read more › Inventory in any organization can run in thousands of part numbers or classifications, as well as millions of parts in quantity. Therefore, inventory is required to be classified with some logic to be able to manage the same. The ABC classification system groups inventory items according to annual sales volume, value or other criteria. For example,

  • "A" approximately 10% of items or 66.6% of value
  • "B" approximately 20% of items or 23.3% of value
  • "C" approximately 70% of items or 10.1% of value
This permits selective inventory control. Policies based on ABC analysis:

  • A Group: very tight control and accurate records
  • B Group: less tightly controlled and good records
  • C Group: simplest controls possible and minimal records
Abnormal Management
Being able to see and quickly take action to correct abnormalities (i.e., any straying from Standard Work). This is the goal of standardization and visual management. Continuous waste elimination and problem-solving through Kaizen are only possible when the abnormalities are visible.
Activity Network Diagram
See 7 Management and Planning Tools
Activity-Based Costing
A management accounting system that assigns cost to products based on the resources used to perform the applicable processes (e.g., design, order entry, production, etc.). These resources include floor space, raw materials, energy, machine time, labor, etc.
Actual Person-Hours
One person-hour = 60 minutes of available work time. The sum of person-hours (i.e., actual number of operations multiplied by actual hours worked per operator) used to produce a set number of units.
Affinity Diagram
See 7 Management and Planning Tools
Andon
A visual control device typically leveraged in production areas that utilize a lighted overhead display or board. Andons are used to give the current status of the production system and alert team members to emerging problems or abnormal situations. A green light indicates normal mode. An amber light is used to warn of poor performance or an imminent problem. A red light is used for failure mode.
As Is
A representation or description of a current state (e.g., an organization, a process, etc.).
Asset Velocity
Asset velocity, also referred to as “asset turnover”, measures the number of times an asset completes a full economic cycle in a given period of time... Read more › Asset velocity, also referred to as “asset turnover”, measures the number of times an asset completes a full economic cycle in a given period of time.
  1. The asset velocity for an individual asset or group of similar assets is the number of cycles of revenue generation in a given period of time. For example, ABC Car Rental rents each vehicle in its fleet once every 2 weeks for an average of 5 days each time. In a year, a car is rented 26 times for 5 days each time — or a total of 130 days. The asset velocity is 26 cycles out of a possible 73 (365 days per year divided by 5 days per rental).
  2. Asset velocity is also used as a company level financial measure to gauge use of asset investment. It is calculated as annual sales dollars divided by the average value of the total assets reported in the financial statements during the year.
Autonomation (or jidoka)
Automation with a human touch or transferring human-like intelligence to a machine. This allows the machine to detect abnormalities or defects and stop the process... Read more › Automation with a human touch or transferring human-like intelligence to a machine. This allows the machine to detect abnormalities or defects and stop the process when they are detected. On the other hand, autonomation prevents the production of defective products, eliminates overproduction, and focuses attention on understanding the problem to ensure that it never recurs. This facilitates the separation of mans work from machines work and allows the machine to run autonomously without human supervision (which is a waste).
Autonomous Maintenance
Operators maintaining their own equipment.

B

Back Flush
The process of automatically reducing perpetual inventory records, based on the bill of materials of a given product. Normally triggered by shipment and invoicing to a customer, back flushing is used to eliminate wasteful inventory transactions.
Balanced Plant
A plant where capacities of all resources are balanced exactly with the rate of market demand after production smoothing.
Balanced Scorecard
Measures whether the activities of a company are meeting its objectives in terms of vision and strategy. By focusing not only on financial outcomes but also on human issues... Read more › Measures whether the activities of a company are meeting its objectives in terms of vision and strategy. By focusing not only on financial outcomes but also on human issues, the balanced scorecard helps to provide a more comprehensive view of a business which in turn helps organizations to act in their best long-term interests. It helps managers focus on performance metrics, while balancing financial objectives with customer, process, and employee perspectives. Measures are often indicators of future performance.
Baseline
The current state or foundation that is based on an evaluation of the output over a period of time. It is used to determine the process parameters prior to any improvement effort; it forms the basis against which change is measured.
Baseline Process Flow Data
The "flow" of data through an information system.
Batch Production
A "push" system of production where resources are provided to the consumer based on forecasts or schedules. Production is run in batches of like items.
Batch-and-Queue
Producing more than one piece of an item and then moving those items forward to the next operation before they are all actually needed there. Thus, items wait in a queue.
Benchmark
A standard of performance against which similar or comparable products, processes or methods are measured or judged.
Benchmarking
A process used in management (particularly strategic management) in which organizations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best practice... Read more › A process used in management (particularly strategic management) in which organizations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best practice, usually within their own sector. Benchmarking allows organizations to develop plans on how to adopt such best practice, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance. Benchmarking may be a one-off event, but it is often treated as a continuous process in which organizations continually seek to challenge their practices.
Benefits and Concerns (Bs & Cs)
A simple practice for reviewing and evaluating team activities immediately after they have finished. It provides timely feedback and direction by itemizing all benefits and assigning next steps to concerns that arise from the activities.
Best Practice
A way of performing activities or executing processes that is generally considered superior to all other methods in terms of high performance and low cost. It serves as the benchmark against which all other activities can be judged.
Best-In-Class
A best-known example of performance in a particular operation. One needs to define both the class and the operation to avoid using the term loosely.
Black Belt
In Six Sigma terms, black belts operate under master black belts to apply Six Sigma methodology to specific projects. They devote 100% of their time to Six Sigma. They primarily focus on Six Sigma for project execution, whereas champions and master black belts focus on identifying projects / functions for Six Sigma.
Bottleneck
A phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single component or function. The component or function is sometimes called a bottleneck point. The term is metaphorically derived from the bottleneck of a bottle, where the flow speed of the liquid is limited by its neck. Any resource whose capacity is equal to or less than the demand placed on it.
Bowling Chart
A form used to track performance (i.e., plan versus actual) on policy deployment objectives - usually reviewed with top management on a monthly basis.
Brainstorming
An idea generation technique used to identify creative solutions through open-ended discussion. Normally a team-based process, with the team formulating and recording as many ideas as possible before defining specific strategies, tactics and actions. There are three phases... Read more › An idea generation technique used to identify creative solutions through open-ended discussion. Normally a team-based process, with the team formulating and recording as many ideas as possible before defining specific strategies, tactics and actions. There are three phases of brainstorming:
  1. Generate ideas: Record ideas, as stated, by team members. Ideas can be generated using a structured process (going around the table / room — one idea per person per round) or an unstructured process (any person’s idea, in any order, as fast as the recorder can capture them) — no judging or censoring allowed.
  2. Clarify ideas: Encourage team members to ask any questions if needed to understand ideas generated.
  3. Evaluate ideas: Eliminate duplicates, combine similar items and prioritize to identify the top three to five ideas to focus on.
Breakthrough Objectives 
In policy deployment, those objectives characterized by multi-functional teamwork, significant change or a major stretch in the organization, and significant competitive advantage.
Brown Paper (or process mapping or process flowcharting)
A visual snapshot of an entire operating process highlighting all applicable interfaces, documentation and data sources. The brown paper is a process flow illustration that focuses on content. Click here to read blog posts focused around process mapping.
... Read more ›
A visual snapshot of an entire operating process highlighting all applicable interfaces, documentation and data sources. The brown paper is a process flow illustration that focuses on content provided by team members. It is an important first step toward understanding the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ states of a process. It is called a brown paper because it is constructed on brown paper.
Brown Paper Fair
An event where brown papers are presented. The audience is encouraged to engage actively by commenting directly on the maps with sticky notes.
Brownfield
An existing and operating production facility that is set-up for mass-production manufacturing and management methods. Contrasts with greenfield.
Business Process
A set of interrelated activities that together produce a defined set of outcomes, whether products, services or information.
Business Process Improvement (BPI)
A systematic approach to improving defined business processes through the implementation of problem-solving strategies, waste elimination and employee involvement in decision-making.

C

Capability (or Process Capability, or Cpk)
The level of ability involved with a process to perform as expected. Often referred to as Cpk, this reflects how well a process can be performed and delivered defect free. The Cpk is compared to ‘1.00’ as a measure of how ‘good’ a process is in performing... Read more › The level of ability involved with a process to perform as expected. Often referred to as Cpk, this reflects how well a process can be performed and delivered defect free. The Cpk is compared to ‘1.00’ as a measure of how ‘good’ a process is in performing to expectation.
  • A Cpk < 1.00 indicates a process with variation that exceeds a specified expected performance window.
  • A Cpk = 1.00 indicates that 99.9% performance falls within a specified expected performance window.
  • A Cpk > 1.00 indicates a process with tight variation around its mean. It performs consistently better than a specified expected performance window.
  • A process with a Cpk = 2.00 is equivalent to a Six Sigma level performance, or 3.4 defective parts per million parts.
Capacity
The maximum amount of output a process, machine or system can produce in any given period of time.
Catch-Ball
A series of Hoshin Kanri discussions between managers and their employees during which data, ideas and analysis are thrown back and forth like a ball. This can open productive dialogue within a company.
Cause-and-Effect Diagram (or C&E, or ishikawa, or Fishbone) 
A problem-solving tool that depicts the various inputs, including all processes and sub-processes, that affect the outcomes of a given activity or operation. These diagrams are used to analyze and identify root causes within the 6Ms.
Cause-and-Effect Diagram with the addition of cards (CEDAC) 
A method for involving team members in the problem-solving process.
Cells
The layout of different types of machines that perform different operations in a tight sequence, typically in a U-shape, to permit single piece flow and flexible deployment of human effort.
Cellular Manufacturing
Linking of manual and machine operations in cells that have the total capabilities of producing an item or family of similar items in a single flow. This is opposed to setting up manufacturing centers based on similar functioning equipment, in which case items must be moved to and from different centers.
chaku-chaku line
Chaku-chaku is a Japanese term meaning “load-load." A chaku-chaku line is a work cell setup for single-piece flow, where the operator proceeds from machine to machine... Read more › Chaku-chaku is a Japanese term meaning “load-load." A chaku-chaku line is a work cell setup for single-piece flow, where the operator proceeds from machine to machine, taking the part from one machine and loading it into the next. Loading and unloading is greatly simplified or automated so that no significant work is expended by the operator. Once a part has been loaded, the operator leaves the machine to run autonomously and proceeds to the next machine. The operator completes the full circuit of the cell within Takt time and starts over. Chaku-chaku lines are achieved through implementation of Autonomation (Jidoka) and the installation of Hanedashi devices.
Champion
Each Executive Steering Committee member is required to act as a mentor, advisor and coach (or champion) of at least one change team. The champion role provides the team... Read more › Each Executive Steering Committee member is required to act as a mentor, advisor and coach (or champion) of at least one change team. The champion role provides the team with support and visible authority, and the change team provides the champion with a detailed look at how change really operates in the organization. The champion meets informally with the team and / or the leader once or twice a week for 15 to 20 minutes and checks progress, works issues behind the scenes and provides advice and support. The champion must be a coach of the process, not a technical advisor.
Change Agent
A person who leads change within the organization, by championing change efforts, and managing and planning their implementation. Change agents work cross-functionally inside an organization to enable people and systems to achieve a higher degree of output.
Change Team (or Work Stream Team)
A small group of employees (usually 5-9) that is assigned (typically not full-time) to work on a specific issue for a specified time period. They are chartered and report weekly... Read more › A small group of employees (usually 5-9) that is assigned (typically not full-time) to work on a specific issue for a specified time period. They are chartered and report weekly to the Executive Steering Committee. These teams are the primary engine used to do the actual hands-on implementation work for any significant change. Generally speaking, change teams fix / improve processes or install new processes.
Changeover (Set-up)
The act of “changing over” equipment to run a different part, component or product. Example could include the installation of a different sized tool in a metal-working machine, switching a different paint color in a painting system, or changing a mold in an injection molding machine to produce a different shape, etc.
Changeover Time
Changeover time is measured as the total time elapsed from concluding work on the last good piece of one job in a process or machine to the production of the first good piece... Read more › Changeover time is measured as the total time elapsed from concluding work on the last good piece of one job in a process or machine to the production of the first good piece of the next job. As such, it includes all waiting time for preparation, transportation of changeover tools and machine dies, mechanical changes, material movement and staging, warm-up, run-in, as well as adjustment time.
Charter
The Executive Steering Committee works with each change team (and its champion) to negotiate a charter that describes the background, objectives, critical success factors, team membership... Read more › The Executive Steering Committee works with each change team (and its champion) to negotiate a charter that describes the background, objectives, critical success factors, team membership, activities, deliverables, responsibility matrices, schedules, resources, anticipated financial benefits, etc for a focused activity. The charter assures that the leadership and change teams are aligned, and it guides the work.
Chartered Change Teams (or Work Stream Teams)
All types of change teams should be chartered through the Executive Steering Committee. The charter is a written commitment approved by management stating the scope of authority for an improvement project or change team.
Chi-Squared Analysis
An analysis that is used to assess multiple variables toward understanding their collective and individual influence on a specific metric. This type of tool can be used to assess equal employment opportunity (EEO) situations, for example, or where more than three or four variables may be influencing a resulting condition or situation.
Coaching
Helps an individual or group develop knowledge or skills through thoughtful questioning and participative demonstration. Coaching is usually performed one-on-one and involves active listening, receiving and providing feedback, as well as modeling appropriate behaviors.
Concurrent Engineering
An approach to designing and marketing new products. It involves stages that are run in parallel, rather than in series, to reduce lead times and costs.
Constraint
Anything that limits a system from achieving higher performance or throughput.
Continuous Flow
An optimal state of production in which goods are made according to the rate of customer demand (e.g., producing exactly what is needed, when it is needed, and in the quantities needed, without interruption).
Continuous Flow Production (or Single-Piece Flow or One-Piece Flow)
Means items are produced and moved from one processing step to the next. One piece is handled at a time, without interruption, for staging or waiting in inventory. Each process makes only the one piece that the next process needs. The transfer batch size is one.
Continuous Improvement (CI or Kaizen)

A way of doing work in which every worker is constantly taking steps to remove waste from their processes. Click here to read blog posts focused on Continuous Improvement.

Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP)
An annual business plan and timeline that schedules and communicates Continuous Improvement initiatives for a site, including training, progress and results to date, and implementation activities and events.
Control Chart
See 8 Tools of Quality Control
Control Element
A specific process variable that must be controlled. Measurements of a control element indicate whether or not a stable condition has been achieved.
Cost Efficiency
Productivity relative to the cost.
Counter Measures
Immediate actions taken to bring performance that is tracking below expectations back into the proper trend. Requires root-cause analysis.
Counterclockwise Flow
A basic principle of Lean manufacturing cellular layout, it is the flow of material, and the motion of people, from right to left or counterclockwise. The origin of this idea came from the design of lathes and machine tools with the chucks on the left side, making it easier for right-handed people to load from right to left.
Countermeasure
A countermeasure is a set of actions intended to correct or “counteract” the root cause of a problem or off target performance. A countermeasure may not always be the final solution. Follow-up and learning are required to ensure actions are achieving the expected results. If not, adjustments, and or further other countermeasures, must be tried.
Covariance
The impact that one variable has upon others in the same group.
Cross-Functional Team
A team of people from different areas, functions, shifts, and organizational levels that work together to perform a specific task or solve a specific problem. Click here to read blog posts focused on Cross-Functional Teams.
Cross-Training
Skill development practices that enable workers to master multiple job skills and increase operational flexibility.
Current State
The status of a process, operation or system before a planned correction or improvement.
Current State Map (or ‘As Is’ Map)
See Brown Paper Mapping and Value Stream Mapping
Curtain Effect
Permits the uninterrupted flow of production regardless of external process location or cycle time. Curtain effect is normally used when a product must leave the cell for processing through equipment that cannot be put into the cell. (e.g., heat treat, curing oven, plating, or wave solder). Curtain quantities are established using the following formula: Per unit cycle time of curtain process / takt time = curtain quantity.
Cycle Time
The time required to complete one cycle of an operation, usually documented in seconds.

D

Daily Huddles (or Daily Workgroup Meetings)
See Lean Daily Management System®
Daily Management
Attention each day to those issues concerned with the normal operation of a business.
Daily Workgroup (Shift Start-up) Meetings
See Lean Daily Management System®
Dashboard
A performance dashboard that is visually based, providing operational information that displays real-time understanding of the performance of an organization through metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Days Supply of Inventory
Total number of days (if the production level equals zero) that it would take to deplete finished goods inventory for the specified product line.
Defect
A measurable characteristic that negatively varies from specifications and / or fails to meet customer requirements of any product or service.
Defect Opportunity
Any flaw in a process, operation or unit of production that creates the opportunity for a defect to occur.
Defective
A product or service that does not meet customer requirements. A defective product can have multiple defects.
Dependent Events
Events that occur in sequential fashion after the initial event. One event is a prerequisite to the next.
Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA)
Design for manufacture is the method of design for ease of manufacturing of the collection of parts that will form the product, or reducing part cost. Design for Assembly is the method of design of the product for ease of assembly, or reducing assembly cost.
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
An application of Six Sigma to design processes, such that the process of design is optimized and performing with minimal variation and waste, and is creating maximum value. There are several approaches, all focused on improving and optimizing the design and engineering process. (See DMADV and IDOV for specific details on the two most popular approaches.)
Design of Experiments (DOE or Experimental Design)
DOE is an experimental and analytical tool that uses structured experimentation and analysis to analyze the complex relationships between multiple input and output process... Read more › DOE is an experimental and analytical tool that uses structured experimentation and analysis to analyze the complex relationships between multiple input and output process variables. Often the aim is to optimize the input variables (factors) in order to center the output variables on their target values with minimum variation. In industrial settings, experimental design techniques apply analysis of variance principles to product development. The primary goal is usually to extract the maximum amount of unbiased information regarding the factors affecting a production process from as few (costly) observations as possible.
Discipline Waste
See 7 Leadership Wastes
DMADV
One step-by-step approach to Six Sigma as applied to design (referred to as design for Six Sigma, or DFSS). The basic methodology consists of the following five steps... Read more › One step-by-step approach to Six Sigma as applied to design (referred to as design for Six Sigma, or DFSS). The basic methodology consists of the following five steps:
  1. Define the goals of the design activity that are consistent with customer demands and enterprise strategy.
  2. Measure and identify CTQs (critical to qualities), product capabilities, production process capability, and risk assessments.
  3. Analyze to develop and design alternatives, create high-level design, and evaluate design capability to select the best design.
  4. Design details, optimize the design and plan for design verification. This phase may require simulations.
  5. Verify the design, set-up pilot runs, implement production process, and hand over to process owners.
DMAIC
The most popular, structured step-by-step application of Six Sigma. The basic methodology consists of the following five steps... Read more › The most popular, structured step-by-step application of Six Sigma. The basic methodology consists of the following five steps:
  1. Define the process improvement goals that are consistent with customer demands and enterprise strategy.
  2. Measure the current process and collect relevant data for future comparison.
  3. Analyze to verify relationship and causality of factors. Determine what the relationship is, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered.
  4. Improve or optimize the process based upon the analysis using techniques like design of experiments.
  5. Control to ensure that any variances are corrected before they result in defects. Set-up pilot runs to establish process capability, transition to production and thereafter continuously measure the process and institute control mechanisms.
Downstream
Processes or activities that follow the task or activity in question. For example, budget creation is downstream of forecasting.
Downtime Study
Machinery downtime occurs for a variety of reasons, including mechanical breakdowns, scheduled maintenance, safety issues, and a lack of spare parts, etc. A downtime study uses various statistical techniques to determine the cause and amount of downtime so that it can be addressed.

E

Effectiveness
A general term used to describe an activity or process’s ability to meet the needs of the customer. An effective process successfully achieves planned outcomes in a planned manner (e.g., on time, built to specifications, value-added, etc.). Effectiveness is the foundation for Six Sigma.
Efficiency
A general term used to describe how resources are used to produce a given output. An efficient process is one that uses relatively few resources (e.g., funds, time, energy, etc.) to achieve planned (i.e., value-added) outputs. Efficiency is the foundation for Lean.
Employee Involvement
The philosophy, commitment and actions that ensure employees are involved in the decisions that affect their work.
Employee Knowledge Network
Employer-created environment and systems for capturing, organizing and sharing knowledge. This allows employees within an organization to significantly improve productivity through the exchange of expertise and knowledge by quickly locating helpful internal experts.
Enterprise Software (or EIS or ERP)
Software systems that attempt to merge all (or some selected portions) of an organization’s data systems, reporting and analysis into a single, integrated entity so that timely, accurate, real-time data can be effectively used by various levels of management.
Ergonomics
The science that deals with designing a work area to eliminate safety hazards for the operator and designing work activities to eliminate causes of repetitive stress injuries, such as fatigue, carpal tunnel, back injuries, etc.
Error-Proofing (Mistake-Proofing or poka-yoke)
A process and set of techniques for anticipating, detecting and preventing errors that adversely affect product quality, process efficiency and customer satisfaction... Read more › A process and set of techniques for anticipating, detecting and preventing errors that adversely affect product quality, process efficiency and customer satisfaction. It focuses on preventing defects at the source through physical measures that prevent errors from occurring and going undetected. It includes any change to an operation, such as fixtures, templates, gauges, checklists or screens, that help the operator reduce or eliminate mistakes that could lead to quality defects.
Every Part Every “X”
Measured in terms of time (e.g., hours, days, weeks, months, etc.), every product every “X" indicates the level of flexibility to produce whatever the customer needs. For instance, every product every day would indicate that changeovers for all products required can be performed each day and the products can be supplied to the customer.
Excess Inventory
Raw materials, work-in-process and finished goods not immediately required to fulfill a customer order. Inventories are held in storage for future withdrawal.
Executive Steering Committee (ESC)
The ESC typically consists of a site’s senior management team or a subset of it (5-9 people are best). The ESC directs and leads all change efforts with chartered change teams... Read more › The ESC typically consists of a site’s senior management team or a subset of it (5-9 people are best). The ESC directs and leads all change efforts with chartered change teams, from moving an office, to installing new computers, to introducing a new product or service. The ESC is not concerned with the day-to-day work of the organization; the existing management team handles this. Rather the ESC is focused on improving the business. Change teams brief the ESC once a week for about five minutes. ESC members also select and prioritize implementation initiatives, allocate resources, select team leaders and members (with the team leader), coach and guide the teams, and resolve issues off-line from the ESC meeting.
External Changeover or External Set-up
Changeover actions that can be performed while the equipment is still running in production. See Changeover.
External Customer
Any party outside the organization that purchases or relies on goods or services produced by the organization.
External Supplier
Any party outside the organization that provides goods or services to the organization.

F

Facilitation
Concerns itself with all the tasks needed to run a productive and impartial meeting or event. Facilitation serves the needs of any group that is meeting with a common purpose, whether it be making a decision, solving a problem or simply exchanging ideas and information. It does not lead the group, nor does it try to distract or to entertain.
Facilitator
Someone who skillfully helps a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them in achieving them without taking a particular position in the discussion. The facilitator will try to assist the group in achieving consensus on any disagreements that pre-exist or emerge in the meeting / event so that it has a strong basis for future action.
FIFO
First in, first out. For example, the first items put in inventory will be the first ones removed for use or sale.
First Time Through Yield (or First Pass Yield or FPY)
The percentage of items that move through a step in a process that are defect free on the first attempt (i.e., without rework).
First-Pass Quality
A product or service free of deficiencies on first attempt.
Fishbone Diagram
See Cause-and-Effect Diagram
Five S
See 5S
Five Whys 
See 5 Whys
Flexibility Diagram
See Skill Assessment
Flexible Workforce
The efficient deployment of personnel to meet customer demand. Focuses on achieving workforce flexibility through cross-functional activity using multi-skilled employees.
Flow
A progressive completion of tasks in the value chain to deliver products and services that meet customer requirements; optimal flow occurs when material moves through the entire process without interruption, waste or variation.
Flow Production (or One-Piece Flow)
A philosophy that rejects batch, lot, or mass processing as wasteful. Products should move (flow) from operation to operation in the smallest increment, with one piece being the ideal. Products should be pulled from the preceding operation as it is needed. Only quality parts are allowed to move to the next operation.
Flowchart (or Deployment Flowchart, Brown Paper, Value Stream Map or To Be)
Diagram of a defined process from start to finish. It is particularly helpful in depicting how the process actually functions and where waste, error and resistance can occur. Advanced flowcharts use symbols and figures to represent actions, data, equipment, and material flow. It can reflect the as is or the to be states.
Focus Waste
See 7 Leadership Wastes
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)
A way to measure a worker's productivity and / or involvement in a project. An FTE of 1.0 means that the person is the equivalent to one full-time worker.
Functional Layout
The practice of grouping machines or activities by type of operation performed.
Future State
The planned, improved, but not yet realized state of a process, operation or system, as distinguished from the current state.
Future State Map
See Flowchart

G

Gantt Chart
A type of chart that displays all of the action items for a project, along with timelines and names of people responsible for each item.
gemba
The Japanese term for workplace (shop floor). The concept, “go to gemba” means to physically verify information or data in the workplace where the product or service originates.
gembutsu
Japanese for “actual thing” or “actual product.” The tools, materials, machines, parts and fixtures that are the focus of a Kaizen activity.
genjitsu
Japanese word for “the facts” or “the reality.” The actual facts or the reality of what is happening on the shop floor or in the business.
Greenfield
A new design or production facility where best practice, Lean principles and Six Sigma are designed into manufacturing and management systems from the beginning. Contrasts with brownfield.

H

Hand-Off
The transfer of material or information to the next step in a process. Too many, or poorly executed, hand-offs can be a major source of waste.
hanedashi 
Device or means of automatic load and unload of the work piece from one operation or process, providing the proper state for the next work piece to be loaded. Automatic unloading and orientation for the next process is essential for a chaku-chaku line. A recognizable example is the automated tray that loads and unloads a CD in a computer.
hansei
Japanese term for "deep personal reflection and acknowledgement of your own mistake."
heijunka
A method of leveling production at the final assembly line that makes just-in-time production possible. This involves averaging both the volume and sequence of different model types on a mixed-model production line.
Histogram
A type of bar chart used to display the frequency, distribution and central tendency of a set of data. The shape of the graph provides quick insight into the meaning of the data.
Hoshin Planning (HP or Management by Policy or Strategy Deployment)
A means by which goals are established and measures are created to ensure progress toward those goals. HP keeps activities at all levels of the company aligned with its overarching strategic plans. HP typically begins with the visioning process, which addresses... Read more › A means by which goals are established and measures are created to ensure progress toward those goals. HP keeps activities at all levels of the company aligned with its overarching strategic plans. HP typically begins with the visioning process, which addresses the key questions:

  • “Where do you want to be in the future?”
  • “How do want to get there?”
  • “When do you want to achieve your goal?”
  • “Who will be involved in achieving the goals?”
Resources are then allocated to the few critical initiatives needed to accomplish the performance targets and the HP process then systematically explodes the what’s, who’s, and how’s throughout the entire organization.

I

IDOV
Another popular, structured step-by-step approach to Six Sigma as applied to design (referred to as design for Six Sigma or DFSS). The four basic steps... Read more › Another popular, structured step-by-step approach to Six Sigma as applied to design (referred to as design for Six Sigma or DFSS). The four basic steps of the methodology are:
  1. Identify the process improvement goals that are consistent with customer demands and enterprise strategy, and key design opportunities / ideas to achieve them.
  2. Design the new product, process, etc. utilizing innovation, inventive techniques and concurrent engineering methods.
  3. Optimize the design concept, using techniques like design of experiments and other methods.
  4. Validate the product and process performance against expectations and resolve any issues or go back to the design step.
ijo-kanri
See Abnormal Management
inefficiency
A general term used to describe the creation of waste in the production of a given output. In Continuous Improvement terms, inefficiency may come in the form of inconsistency, overburden or waste.
Input
Any material, service or information that contributes to, or affects, the activities and results of a process.
Intact Workgroup
A small group (typically 5-9 individuals) that work in close physical proximity on like or similar tasks for most of the work day. These workgroups are the basic building blocks upon which the Continuous Improvement element of the Lean Daily Management System® is based.
Integration Waste
See 7 Leadership Wastes
Internal Changeover or Internal Set-up
Changeover actions that must be performed when the equipment is stopped. See Changeover.
Internal Customer
Any user of goods or services produced within the organization. This usually refers to the next (downstream) operation in the value chain. For example, finishing and packing are internal customers of final assembly.
Internal Supplier
Any provider of goods or services produced within the organization. This usually refers to the previous (upstream) operation in the value chain. For example, purchasing is a supplier to production.
Interrelationship Diagraph (ID)
See 7 Management and Planning Tools
Inventory
A major cost for most businesses, inventory is all raw materials, purchased parts, work in process components and finished goods that are not yet sold to a customer. In some cases, inventory may include consumable goods used in production.
Inventory Turnover
Inventory turnover measures a company's efficiency in managing its investment in inventory. It is calculated as a ratio that shows the number of times the average inventory balance... Read more › Inventory turnover measures a company's efficiency in managing its investment in inventory. It is calculated as a ratio that shows the number of times the average inventory balance is used or sold during a reporting period. Inventory turnover can be calculated either using the dollar value of an inventory grouping or individual inventory items based on physical quantities. For example, ABC company sells 12,000 widgets per year, and it maintains an average inventory of 4,000 widgets in its warehouse. ABC turns its inventory over three times per year (12,000 divided by 4,000) or once every four months (12 months divided by 3 turns per year). Inventory turnover is improved by lowering the average inventory it maintains, or by increasing sales without increasing the average inventory. The more frequently a business is able to turn over its inventory, the lower its investment in inventory must be for a given level of sales.
Involvement Wastes
See 7 Leadership Wastes
ishikawa diagram
See Cause-and-Effect Diagram

J

jidoka
See Autonomation
jishuken
Fresh eyes; an important concept in observation-based safety.
Just-In-Time (JIT)
A system for producing and delivering the right items, at the right time, in the right place, and in the right amounts. The key elements of just-in-time are flow, pull, standard work, and takt time.

K

Kaizen
A Japanese term meaning "small, continuous improvement on everyone’s part." The word itself comes from the Japanese words “kai” (small, little, good) and “zen” (good, change for the better). The intent is to create a work environment that focuses each worker on waste elimination as a normal part of the everyday work process.
Kaizen Action Sheet System
See Lean Daily Management System®
Kaizen Action Sheets
Paper forms used to communicate and convert small, simple process improvement suggestions into real change within employee work units.
Kanban
The Japanese word for “signal,” a kanban in a manufacturing plant is any signal to start or stop production, replenish parts from stores or order parts from a supplier... Read more › The Japanese word for “signal,” a kanban in a manufacturing plant is any signal to start or stop production, replenish parts from stores or order parts from a supplier. The signal can take any form, including cards, lights, squares on the ground, colored balls or buzzers. Kanbans are a critical element of a Lean production system, as they provide communication and coordination to ensure that each process produces what the next processes needs at the right time, in the right quantity and with perfect quality.
Kaufman Global 20 Keys®
See Lean Daily Management System®
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Financial and non-financial metrics used to quantify objectives to reflect the strategic performance of an organization. KPIs are frequently used to value difficult-to-measure activities such as the benefits of leadership development, engagement, service and satisfaction. KPIs are typically tied to an organization's strategy (as exemplified through techniques such as the balanced scorecard).

L

Lead Time
The total time a customer must wait to receive a product after placing an order. When a scheduling and production system is running at or below capacity, lead time and throughput time are the same. When demand exceeds the capacity of a system, there is additional waiting time before the start of scheduling and production, and lead time exceeds throughput time.
Lead Time Reduction
A systematic process of identifying, timing, graphing, and improving processes to eliminate non-value-added activities and speed delivery of products to customers.
Leadership Waste
See 7 Leadership Wastes
Lean (or Lean Manufacturing or Office Kaizen)
A name given to the overall operational system that is characterized by extensive use of standardized methods to remove waste. The body of knowledge, leadership behaviors... Read more › A name given to the overall operational system that is characterized by extensive use of standardized methods to remove waste. The body of knowledge, leadership behaviors and the social / organizational reality that create an environment in which every employee at every level is provided with the focus, structure, discipline, and ownership required to generate Continuous Improvement, commitment, pride, and enthusiasm to help the organization excel. Processes require less human effort, capital investment, floor space, materials, and time in all aspects of the operation.
Lean Daily Management System® (LDMS®)
Kaufman Global's proprietary management system for small workgroups and the primary means of sustaining and expanding the results of implementation. There are seven key elements of LDMS. The first five are for the intact workgroup and the last two are for their supervisors / area leaders... Read more › Kaufman Global's proprietary management system for small workgroups and the primary means of sustaining and expanding the results of implementation. There are seven key elements of LDMS. The first five are for the intact workgroup and the last two are for their supervisors / area leaders.
  1. Primary Visual Display: A large, permanent bulletin board that operates as a daily status and improvement planning display for a single intact workgroup. It displays key indicators of the group’s performance (e.g., productivity, defects, customer satisfaction, attendance, skill versatility and safety), posted and updated on a daily basis.
  2. Daily Workgroup Meeting: A tightly facilitated, loosely scripted, structured, and daily stand-up meeting held by members of an intact workgroup in front of the group’s primary visual display and lasting no more than ten minutes. This meeting does several very critical things: (a) it brings the workgroup together as a team; (b) it provides every person in the workgroup with the same picture of what is going on; (c) it focuses each person on the metrics and key performance indicators that are critical to management; and (d) it generates a sense of ownership among the team about their area and processes.
  3. Kaizen Action Sheet System: A method for capturing small, low-tech improvement ideas within an intact workgroup that they can control and implement with little or no support.
  4. 20 Keys® Long-term Improvement Plan: A method for focusing an intact workgroup on the 20 most important elements of how it is operating versus world-class (or better) standards. The method provides an assessment of current status, future performance levels and a month to month plan for improvement. It also provides a vision for the future to align each workgroup, operation and function.
  5. Weekly One-Hour Continuous Improvement Meeting: Each intact workgroup requires a weekly problem-solving, process improvement meeting. This meeting provides the group with the time necessary to implement their improvements ideas, work on 5S and solve problems.
  6. Short-Interval Leadership: The process whereby a workgroup’s leader visits each workgroup member several times a day to see how things are, collect data, help problem solve or provide encouragement.
  7. Mid-Shift Supervisor / Area Lead Coordination Meeting: A 15-30 minutes meeting held by area supervisors to assess the status of each area, manage by abnormality and determine corrective actions. Improves interdepartmental / area communications.

Click here to read blog posts focused around LDMS.
Lean Enterprise Transformation
The process of converting an organization, its systems and its operations from a traditional business culture to a culture in which the systematic elimination of waste is an organizational norm.
Lean Leader
A designated, full-time employee, who is trained and accredited in the tools and techniques of Lean and Change Management. His / her role is to identify improvement opportunities and lead team-based waste elimination initiatives in the workplace.
Lean Thinking
A state of mind in which the elimination of waste in all processes and the maximization of value for customers, shareholders and employees is the primary consideration in all decision-making.
LEC (or Lean Executive Committee)
See Executive Steering Committee
Leveling (or Production Leveling or heijunka)
Production leveling is a technique for reducing waste and developing production efficiency. The general idea is to produce intermediate goods at a constant rate and to allow further processing to be carried out at a constant and predictable rate.
LIFO
Last in, first out. For example, the last items added to inventory will be the first items removed for sales or use.
Lock Out / Tag Out (LOTO)
Lockout devices or tags are applied to energy sources and pressure valves and other protections are applied so the machine will not operate or pose risk of injury to the personnel working on it. In all, LOTO is a safety procedure which is used to ensure that... Read more › Lockout devices or tags are applied to energy sources and pressure valves and other protections are applied so the machine will not operate or pose risk of injury to the personnel working on it. In all, LOTO is a safety procedure which is used to ensure that:
  1. Dangerous machines are properly shut off and depressurized, or components braced against gravity before commencing maintenance or other work.
  2. Machine is not started up again before the maintenance or servicing work is completed. Process ensures tools have been removed, and the workers have moved away from the machine. Steps are also taken to make sure all guards and protective devices have been properly reinstalled.

M

Macro Process
The name given to a group of micro processes, such as processing a purchase order or annual planning.
Matrix Diagram
See 7 Management and Planning Tools
Mega Process
The name given to a very large collection of smaller processes, such as engineering, purchasing, or the processing center.
Metric
A measure that provides vital information about important issues, the status of ongoing efforts, and progress (or lack of it) of a person or group who can significantly impact the measure through direct, hands-on process efforts.
Micro Process
The inputs, events and outputs manipulated by a worker, such as completing an invoice.
Mistake-Proofing
See Error-Proofing
Modified Affinity Diagram
A consensus-based, participative group technique for gathering and prioritizing inputs to a given problem statement in the following process... Read more › A consensus-based, participative group technique for gathering and prioritizing inputs to a given problem statement in the following process:
  1. Develop the problem statement
  2. Collect headline responses
  3. Indentify categories
  4. Group responses into categories
  5. Vote on responses
  6. Tally votes and determine priorities
  7. Assign accountabilities
A variation of the affinity diagram. See 7 Management and Planning Tools.
MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)
MTBF is calculated by dividing the operating time by the number of failures. Used as a measurement for maintenance of equipment.
MTTR (Mean Time to Repair)
Used as a measurement for maintenance to establish a baseline for repair time and then strive to reduce time in order to return equipment to working order quicker. It can be calculated as total maintenance repair time divided by the total number of maintenance repair actions during a given period of time.
muda (or Waste)
The Japanese term for waste. See 7 Types of Waste
Multi-Functional Worksheet
See Skill Assessment
Multi-Skilled Worker
Employees at any level of the organization that are diverse in skills and training. They provide the organization with flexibility; they grow in value over time. These workers are essential for achieving maximum efficiencies of JIT.
mura 
Japanese term for "unevenness."
muri 
Japanese term for overburden or "unreasonableness."

N

nagara
Japanese term for "while doing something, accomplishing more than one task in one motion or function."
Nonvalue-Added
Activities or actions taken that add no real value to the product or service, making such activities or action a form of waste. Any activity that the customer would not be willing to pay for.

O

Office Kaizen
A systematic, repeatable methodology for achieving excellence in non-manufacturing areas, Office Kaizen enables improved speed, accuracy and customer focus. Click here to read blog posts focused around Office Kaizen.
On-Time Delivery
The amount of product that is actually shipped to all customers on the day agreed upon with the customer. Calculated as on-time deliveries per month divided by total deliveries to all customers per month.
One-Piece Flow (or Continuous Flow Production or Single-Piece Flow)
Items are produced and moved from one processing step to the next one. It is a piece at a time, where each process makes only the one piece that the next process needs, and the transfer batch size is one.
Operationalize
To make something operational, to put something to use or to implement procedures to achieve a defined strategy or goal.
Output
Any product, service or piece of information produced by, or resulting from, the activities in a process.
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
Comprised of three components that are multiplied together to reflect an overall percentage of effectiveness for a given piece of equipment or manufacturing line. For example, if a machine works about 80% of the time, it is running at about 92% of machine standard... Read more › Comprised of three components that are multiplied together to reflect an overall percentage of effectiveness for a given piece of equipment or manufacturing line. For example, if a machine works about 80% of the time, it is running at about 92% of machine standard, and it’s making 90% quality parts — with an OEE of 70%. The three components are:
  1. availability: Measures the affect of breakdowns, set-ups and adjustment losses
  2. performance (line efficiency): Measures the affect of minor stoppages, idling time and reduced speed losses
  3. quality: Measures the affect of quality problems, rework and start-up yield losses
Overproduction
See 7 Types of Wastes
Ownership Waste
See 7 Leadership Wastes

P

Pareto Chart 
A vertical bar graph showing the bars in descending order of significance, ordered from left to right. It helps to focus on the vital few issues, rather than the trivial many. An extension of the Pareto principle suggests that the significant items in any given group normally constitute a relatively small portion of the items in the total group. Conversely, a majority of the items will be relatively minor in significance — the 80 / 20 rule.
Pareto Principle
A principle of causation, often known as the 80 / 20 Rule, which states that the most important 20% of causes creates 80% of the problem. The principle assumes that addressing the few most critical causes are an efficient problem-solving strategy.
Performance Culture
The beliefs, values and practices of a diverse, results-oriented, high performing workforce. High performance organizations engage people's inherent beliefs about the value they place on their work and contributing to a common enterprise, inspiring loyalty from employees who want to stay and be part of a team.
Performance Improvement Plan
A plan implemented by a manager or supervisor that is designed to provide employees with constructive feedback, facilitate discussions between employees and their supervisor regarding performance-related issues, and to outline specific areas of performance requiring improvement. The most effective plans have specific metrics and time-frames.
Personal Development Plan
Action-based on a reflection of personal, career and academic objectives that may include a portfolio containing evidence of the skills gathered over a particular time-frame. These plans support progress of self-directed, independent workers.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is equipment, gear, or special clothing worn by operators to minimize exposure to health and safety hazards. Examples include such items as gloves, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs), hard hats, respirators, and full body suits.
Plan For Every Part (PFEP)
The first step in creating a Lean material-handling system for purchased parts is to collect all of the necessary parts information in one place. This involves establishing and documenting how each part is to be purchased, received, packaged, stored, and delivered to its point of use — a Plan for Every Part (PFEP).
Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA)
A classic four-step process improvement model that is the foundation for more detailed approaches to problem-solving and goal achievement... Read more › A classic four-step process improvement model that is the foundation for more detailed approaches to problem-solving and goal achievement. It includes:
  1. Plan: Identify problems, analyze root causes and determine possible solutions.
  2. Do: Test the solutions one at a time.
  3. Check: Measure the results of the test(s).
  4. Act: Take appropriate action on the results of the measure(s) - refine approach or permanently implement.
Point of Use Positioning
Materials, tools and supplies are positioned near where they are used by an operator, facilitating the sequence in which they are used and in a manner that prevents motions such as reaching, lifting, straining, turning and twisting.
Predictive Maintenance (PdM)
Predictive maintenance is performing maintenance-based on developing conditions. It compares the trend of measured physical parameters against known engineering limits for the purpose of detecting, analyzing and correcting problems before failure occurs.
Preventive Maintenance (PM)
Preventive maintenance is interval-based maintenance. It involves periodic and systematic inspection, detection and correction of developing failures, either before they occur or before they develop into major defects. The maintenance intervals may be established based on equipment manufacturers recommendations or a company's own studies or experiences.
Primary Visual Displays (PVDs)
See Lean Daily Management System®
Prioritization Matrix
See 7 Management and Planning Tools
Proactive Maintenance
Proactive maintenance is a maintenance strategy for stabilizing the reliability of machines or equipment by focusing on root causes of failures as opposed to active failure symptoms or machine wear conditions. A proactive maintenance program sets a quantifiable target for a learned root cause and implements monitoring and maintenance procedures to control the root cause condition within the target level.
Process
A process is a series of actions or steps required to complete a task, to create a product, to add value, or to achieve a particular end.
Process Capability
A measureable property of a process to a specification. The output of this measurement is usually illustrated by a histogram, and calculations that predict how many parts will be produced that are out of specification.
Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC)
See 7 Management and Planning Tools
Process Flow Analysis
A procedure used to portray the sequence of activities, inputs, events, interfaces, and documentation involved in a selected process. The analysis has a predetermined start and end point, as well as related guidelines... Read more › A procedure used to portray the sequence of activities, inputs, events, interfaces, and documentation involved in a selected process. The analysis has a predetermined start and end point, as well as related guidelines for construction depending on its intent and purpose. Examples of process flow analysis techniques include brown papers and flowcharts. Process flow analyses are used to clarify details, highlight strengths and opportunities, and promote understanding.
Process Kaizen (or Point Kaizen)
Improvements made at an individual process or in a specific area.
Process Management
A comprehensive approach to defining, documenting and monitoring processes on an ongoing basis to facilitate the elimination of waste. Click here to read blog posts focused around around Process Management.
Process Map
See Brown Paper
Process Ownership
The person who coordinates the various functions and work activities at all levels of a process, has the authority or ability to make changes in the process as required and manages the entire process cycle to ensure performance effectiveness.
Processing Time
The time a product is actually being worked on in a machine or by an employee in a work area.
Production Leveling
See Leveling
Pull System
A system in which customer demand pulls products through the supply chain or triggers an activity to occur. This contrasts with a push system.
Push System
A system in which the volume and rate of production is determined by a schedule rather than by customer demand. This contrasts with a pull system.

Q

Quality
A business discipline that focuses on meeting customer specifications and requirements. Quality is synonymous with the ability to meet customer requirements all the time.
Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
A visual, decision-making, highly structured, four-step process that starts with a customer demand or need and goes through the product design, process design and support system selection methodology... Read more › A visual, decision-making, highly structured, four-step process that starts with a customer demand or need and goes through the product design, process design and support system selection methodology. The general steps are:
  1. Transform user demands into functional specifications and requirements.
  2. Transform functional specifications and requirements into design capabilities focusing on fit, form and function of a product or service that fulfills the customer needs.
  3. Transform product design into manufacturing and assembly process performance characteristics, and define, in detail, key operational tasks based on Lean methods, and design for manufacturability, assembly, reliability and supportability.
  4. Transform production characteristics through the necessary support structures and systems to sustain performance, at the customer demanded quality levels.
Using multi-skilled project teams develops a common understanding of the voice of the customer and a consensus on the final engineering specifications of the product that has the commitment of the entire team. QFD integrates the perspectives of team members from different disciplines, ensures that their efforts are focused on resolving key trade-offs in a consistent manner against measurable performance targets for the product and deploys these decisions through successive levels of detail. The use of QFD eliminates expensive backflows and rework as projects near launch.
Quality Management
Focused not only on product quality, but also the means to achieve it. Quality management uses quality assurance and control of processes, as well as products, to achieve a more consistent quality... Read more › Focused not only on product quality, but also the means to achieve it. Quality management uses quality assurance and control of processes, as well as products, to achieve a more consistent quality. Considered to have three main components:
  1. Quality Assurance: The planned or systematic actions necessary to provide enough confidence that a product or service will satisfy the given requirements for quality.
  2. Quality Control: The ongoing effort to maintain the integrity of a process to maintain the reliability of achieving an outcome.
  3. Quality Improvement: The purposeful change of a process to improve the reliability of achieving an outcome.
Quality Management System (QMS)
A system to manage quality assurance within an organization, focusing on integrating the components of quality management through a systematic approach to every operation and function within an organization. Quality management systems often support and enable ISO 9000 implementation and certification.
Queue Time
A mathematical analysis of several related processes. Ultimately, it is the time a product spends in line awaiting the next design, order processing or fabrication step.
Quick Changeover or Quick Set-up (or Single Minute Exchange of Die or SMED)
A methodology that enables the ability to rapidly change tooling and fixtures (usually in less than 10 minutes), so that multiple products can be run on the same machine. The ultimate goal is making a changeover in less than a minute, which is referred to as OTED (One-Touch Exchange of Die).
Quick Hit
An action that can be taken immediately to yield quick benefits.

R

RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Inform) Matrix
A planning tool used to identify and clarify roles, responsibilities and individual levels of participation across all functions (e.g., activities, tasks and decisions) to ensure effective operation.
Rapid Improvement Event or RIE, Rapid Process Improvement Event (RPI) or Kaizen Event
A four-to-five-day, highly structured and coached, intense attack on waste in a process or work area by a small cross-functional team of employees. They focus on designing solutions. Click here to read blog posts focused around Rapid Improvement Events.
... Read more ›
A four-to-five-day, highly structured and coached, intense attack on waste in a process or work area by a small cross-functional team of employees. They focus on designing solutions to meet the well-defined goals in their charter. Events can generate tremendous savings in labor, cycle time and quality. The typical event, annualized over 12 months, puts a minimum of $50,000 on the bottom line.
Rationalization
Reorganization of a company or organization in order to improve its efficiency. Sometimes used as business jargon for a reduction in numbers.
Reactive Maintenance
Maintenance environment where equipment is allowed to run into failure or frequent unexpected breakdowns occur. As a result, the maintenance department must react in crisis mode. Run to failure may also be a selected strategy for certain types of maintenance based on cost effectiveness. For example, light bulbs are not changed until they burn out.
Red Tag
A physical red tag used to identify unnecessary or unsafe items in the workplace. The tag is attached to the item with disposition information included. Usually performed during the sort phase of 5S.
Redeployment
The reassignment of employees to other departments or functions.
Reengineering
The radical redesign of an organization's processes, especially its business processes. Rather than organizing by functional specialties (like production, accounting, marketing... Read more › The radical redesign of an organization's processes, especially its business processes. Rather than organizing by functional specialties (like production, accounting, marketing, etc.) and looking at the tasks that each function performs, reengineering looks at complete processes from materials acquisition, to production, to marketing and distribution. An organization would reengineered into a series of processes.
Repeatability
A key indicator of stability within a process. It represents the probability that a process will achieve the same measured result each time it is conducted under the same conditions.
Reproducibility
A key indicator of stability between processes. It represents the probability that a process will achieve the same measured results after transfer to another location or environment.
Resource Allocation Waste
See 7 Leadership Wastes
Resource Leveling
Aims at smoothing the stock of resources on hand, reducing both excess inventories and shortages.
Resource Utilization
The efficient and effective deployment of an organization's resources when they are needed.
Rework
Any material, part, product or activity that has to be corrected by duplication or by returning it to a previous step in the process.
Root Cause
A single, verified reason why a given problem or defect has occurred.

S

sensei (or Lean sensei)
An outside master or teacher that assists in implementing Lean practices.
Sequential Changeover (or Sequential Set-up)
When changeover times are within takt time, changeovers can be performed one after another in a flow line. Sequential changeover assures that the lost time for each process in the line... Read more › When changeover times are within takt time, changeovers can be performed one after another in a flow line. Sequential changeover assures that the lost time for each process in the line is minimized to one takt beat. A set-up team or expert follows the operator, so that by the time the operator has made one round of the flow line (at takt time), it has been completely changed over to the next product.
Six Sigma (6)
A statistically-based problem-solving methodology for reducing variation within processes. Based on the premise that variations in measurement, fit and timing are common causes of defects, which, in turn, create waste. It uses martial arts terms to describe various levels of expertise of its practitioners (e.g., yellow belt, green belt, black belt, master black belt).
Skill Assessments / Multi-Functional Worksheets
A documented record of team members’ abilities to perform specific tasks within the team. Typical categories include: not trained, trained, trained and can perform independently, and trained and can teach others.
SLIM-IT®
Kaufman Global’s proprietary implementation methodology. It is a pronunciation of the acronym for structure, Lean Daily Management System®, mentoring, metrics, tools, teamwork, training and technology (or SLMMTTTT), or all the elements required for an organization to implement an initiative, sustain it and continuously improve upon the gains achieved through it.
SMART Goals
Specific, measurable, attainable, reachable and time-based goal statements.
Spaghetti Chart
A graphical aid used to diagram physical paths and distances traveled, including product and operator movement. Processes which are not streamlined, when diagramed, look like a bowl of cooked spaghetti.
Span of Control
A term commonly used in human resources management to describe the number of subordinates that each supervisor has.
Standard
A prescribed, documented method or process that is sustainable, repeatable and predictable.
Standard Work
Standard Work is the design of the work. Creating standard work involves learning and standardizing the best combination of humans, machines and equipment to carry out a process in the safest. Click here to read blog posts focused around Standard Work.... Read more › Standard Work is the design of the work. Creating standard work involves learning and standardizing the best combination of humans, machines and equipment to carry out a process in the safest and most efficient way — based on takt time, work sequence, and minimum Work-In-Process. Standard work, in a Lean context, ensures that the work at each station is performed with consistent quality and within takt time, thereby enabling the line to “flow.”
Standard Work in Process
The minimum amount of material or a given product, which must be in process at any time to ensure proper flow of the operation.
Standardization
The system of documenting and updating procedures to make sure everyone knows clearly and simply what is expected of them. Standardization is essential for application of the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle.
Standards
Standards involve comparison with accepted norms, such as those set by regulatory organizations.
Statistical Process Control (SPC)
Typically used in manufacturing processes (although it may also pertain to services and other activities), it denotes statistical methods used to monitor and improve the quality of the respective... Read more › Typically used in manufacturing processes (although it may also pertain to services and other activities), it denotes statistical methods used to monitor and improve the quality of the respective operations. By gathering information about the various stages of a process and performing statistical analysis on that information (related to central tendency and dispersion), the analyst is able to take necessary action — often preventive — to ensure that the overall process stays in control and allows the product to meet all desired specifications.
Steering Champion
See Champion
Strategy
An integrated plan which defines both the objectives and the means through which they can be achieved. Strategy includes the assessment of internal and competitor strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, market structure and attractiveness, as well as competitive rivalry. See Hoshin Planning.
Straw Model
An initial version or draft used as the basis or foundation for a final version. The purpose is to facilitate discussion leading to the development of a final version.
Structure Waste
See 7 Leadership Wastes
Sub-optimization
A condition where gains made in one activity or function are offset by losses in another activity or function, created by the same actions creating gains in the first activity. An example is reducing purchasing costs on raw materials, which causes production times to suffer because of lesser-quality materials.
Succession Development (or Succession Planning)
The process of identifying, finding, assessing, retaining, and preparing suitable employees for key positions to ensure the least possible disruption to the organization’s effectiveness. This is important because it often takes years of training to develop effective senior managers.
Supermarket
Resembles a supermarket for the retail customer but for a business process. “Customers” select products from a location and when inventory levels drop, suppliers restock the inventory to a target level.
Supplier Partnership 
An approach to business that involves close cooperation with a key supplier. It provides benefits and responsibilities that each party must recognize and work together to realize.
Surface Waste
See 7 Types of Waste
Swim Lane Process Map
The swim lane process mapping approach uses a people / function coordinate (either at the top or on the side of the chart) to demonstrate how people and processes interact. Many processes cross functional or departmental boundaries, and this type of flowchart easily visualizes hand-offs, wait time and other non-value-added work.
SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis
A strategic planning tool used to evaluate internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats involved in a project or in a business venture... Read more › A strategic planning tool used to evaluate internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective using an affinity diagram.
System Kaizen
Improvement aimed at an entire value stream.

T

takt time
The available time over the customer demand. The term Takt is German and refers to cadence, rhythm or tempo. For example, if customers demand 240 widgets and the factory operates... Read more › The available time over the customer demand. The term Takt is German and refers to cadence, rhythm or tempo. For example, if customers demand 240 widgets and the factory operates 480 minutes per day, takt time is two minutes. If customers want two new products designed per month, takt time is two weeks. Determining takt time serves to set the pace of production to match the rate of customer demand and is at the basis of all subsequent production design calculations becoming the heartbeat of any Lean system.
Team Building
Activities or strategies targeted at breaking down barriers within a team’s infrastructure to enhance team performance. The term 'team building' can refer generally to the selection... Read more › Activities or strategies targeted at breaking down barriers within a team’s infrastructure to enhance team performance. The term 'team building' can refer generally to the selection and motivation of results-oriented teams or more specifically to a team’s self-assessment in order to gauge its own effectiveness and thereby improve performance. The process of team building includes:

  • Clarifying the goal, and building ownership across the team.
  • Identifying inhibitors to teamwork and removing or overcoming them, or if they cannot be removed, mitigating their negative effect on the team.
Teamwork
A fundamental principle of Continuous Improvement. Effective collaborative skills are necessary to work well in a team environment. Many businesses attempt to enhance... Read more › A fundamental principle of Continuous Improvement. Effective collaborative skills are necessary to work well in a team environment. Many businesses attempt to enhance their employees' collaborative efforts through workshops and cross-training to help people effectively work together and accomplish shared goals.
Theory of Constraints (TOC)
A theory based on the premise that the rate of revenue generation is limited by at least one constraining process (i.e., a bottleneck). Only by increasing throughput (i.e., flow) at the bottlenecked process... Read more › A theory based on the premise that the rate of revenue generation is limited by at least one constraining process (i.e., a bottleneck). Only by increasing throughput (i.e., flow) at the bottlenecked process can overall throughput be increased. The key steps in implementing an effective TOC approach are:
  1. Articulate the goal of the organization — frequently, this is something like, "Make money now and in the future."
  2. Identify the constraint — the thing that prevents the organization from obtaining more of the goal.
  3. Decide how to exploit the constraint — identify unique and intended characteristics while isolating those elements that are uncharacteristic and unintended.
  4. If after steps #1 and #2 more capacity is needed then subordinate or align all other processes to the necessity to exploit the constraint.
  5. Elevate the constraint — if required, permanently increase capacity of the constraint (i.e., buy more).
  6. If, as a result of these steps, the constraint has moved, return to Step #1. Do not let inertia become the system’s constraint because there will always be another constraint to remove.
Throughput
Rate of production — of a defined process — over a stated period of time. Throughput is calculated as units produced divided by a period of time.
Throughput Time
The elapsed time required for a product to go through a defined process, from beginning to end, including both processing time and queue time / lead time. Throughput time... Read more › The elapsed time required for a product to go through a defined process, from beginning to end, including both processing time and queue time / lead time. Throughput time for a process is synonymous with average lead time and is calculated by dividing the number of items within the process (i.e., work-in-process inventory) by the throughput.
Time-to-Market
The length of time it takes to launch a new product starting from concept until first market sale.
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)
A series of methods to ensure that every machine in a production process is always able to perform its required tasks so that production is never interrupted. TPM involves total employee participation... Read more › A series of methods to ensure that every machine in a production process is always able to perform its required tasks so that production is never interrupted. TPM involves total employee participation (especially operators). Identifies and eliminates the six big production losses (set-ups and adjustments, breakdowns, idling and minor stops, start-up / yield loss, defects and rework, and reduced running speed) of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) through:
  1. preventive and predictive maintenance: Maintenance teams conduct daily and periodic maintenance and inspection, predictive maintenance (using technologies that determine “when” something is going to break), improvements to lengthen equipment life, spare parts control, breakdown analysis and lubrication control.
  2. maintenance prevention: Maintenance, design engineers and production engineers establish design goals; maintainability, operability and reliability of equipment; lower life cycle costing, and anticipate and prevent production problems during design and debug stages.
  3. autonomous maintenance: Operators are involved in maintaining their own equipment. They participate by conducting initial cleaning (5S), making cleaning and inspection easier, setting cleaning and lubrication standards, developing general inspection skills, and conducting daily cleaning and inspection.
Toyota Production System (TPS)
The philosophy which organizes manufacturing and logistics at Toyota, including the interaction with suppliers and customers. The TPS is a major part of the more generic "Lean manufacturing.” The main goals of the TPS are to design out overburden / unreasonableness (muri), unevenness / inconsistency (mura) and waste (muda). Click here to read blog posts focused around the Toyota Production System.
Tree Diagram
See 7 Management and Planning Tools

U

Upstream Process
Any work unit or operation in a business process that supplies goods or services to another (downstream) unit.

V

Value
A capability provided to a customer at the right time and at an appropriate price — as defined in each case by the customer.
Value Chain
Starting at the initial point of supply, the chain of activities that converts inputs, such as raw materials and information, into finished products and services to meet a customer's need and then delivers those products and services into the arms of the customer. A value chain typically consists of vendor sourcing, procurement, inbound logistics, engineering, manufacturing, distribution, sales and service to the customer.
Value Stream
The specific activities required to design, order, and provide a specific product, from concept to launch, order to delivery and / or raw materials into the hands of the customer. Click here to read blog posts focused around value streams.
Value Stream Mapping
A structured process mapping technique that focuses on locating and assessing hands-on work time (i.e., cycle time) and waiting (i.e., lead) time, as well as other elements of interest. Process typically... Read more › A structured process mapping technique that focuses on locating and assessing hands-on work time (i.e., cycle time) and waiting (i.e., lead) time, as well as other elements of interest. Process typically involves the development of a current state value stream, a future state value stream design, and an action plan to begin moving from the current to the future state. It focuses on removing barriers and waste between processes to achieve system-wide continuous flow.
Value Stream Owner / Manager
Person responsible for creating a future state value stream map and leading complete implementation of the future state for a process or a product across departmental and functional boundaries.
Value-Added
Any task or process that transforms or adds value to a product or service to meet customer requirements. It is an essential part of any business process and is what the customer is willing to pay for.
Value-Added Analysis
An improvement team strips a process down to its essential elements. The team isolates the activities that, in the eyes of the customer, actually add value to the product or service. The remaining non-value adding activities (i.e., waste) are targeted for extinction.
Value-Adding Activity / Process
Any activity that transforms materials or information into a usable product or service that the customer is willing to pay for.
Variation
The degree to which actual results are different from an established standard or specification. Variation can occur within a process or any characteristic of a product / service and is the primary source of defects and waste.
Vertical Teams
See Cross-Functional Team
Vision
A bold, long-range goal, or an ideal image of the future — and an imaginative picture of what can be accomplished. Characteristics of a shared vision... Read more › A bold, long-range goal, or an ideal image of the future — and an imaginative picture of what can be accomplished. Characteristics of a shared vision include:

  • Desirable and rewarding
  • Long-range and challenging, but achievable
  • Vivid, inspiring, clear and compelling — grabs people
  • Meaningful — people get it and feel connected by it
Vision Control
Any visual indicator of actual performance versus expected performance in the workplace. Examples include correct tool placement, tracking production run data or signaling that a piece of equipment is or isn’t working correctly. Visual controls ensure that the status of the system can be understood at a glance by everyone involved.
Visual Display
A graphic indicator (e.g., sign, chart, real product sample) used to visually communicate important information in the workplace.
Visual Factory
An environment in which every worker can see the same thing, at the same time. Everyone knows exactly what they should be working on to move the organization... Read more › An environment in which every worker can see the same thing, at the same time. Everyone knows exactly what they should be working on to move the organization forward. Some techniques include:

  • Primary visual display (PVD)
  • Signal activity — move or produce
  • Control material — where and how much to store
  • Identify abnormal conditions
  • Display standardized methods
  • Communicate performance
  • Any visual system used by area operators, support and supervision
Visual System
An approach in which the condition and status of every relevant element of a work environment, as well as critical needed actions, is openly displayed and updated so that everyone knows what to do, when to do it and the progress made against it. See Visual Factory.
Voice of the Customer (VOC) 
Desires and requirements of the customer at all levels that are translated into real terms for consideration in the development of new products, services and daily business conduct.

W

waste (or muda)
See 7 Types of Waste
Work in Process (or Work in Progress or WIP)
A measure of the quantity of goods in various stages of completion throughout the facility, from raw materials to completed products. WIP disrupts single-piece flow and anything that is not immediately needed is classified as waste.
Work Sequence
The specific order in which an operator performs the manual steps of the process.
Work Unit
A team of employees that share a common work area and have responsibility for a particular process or product.
Work Unit Metrics
A set of measurement indicators used to track work unit performance on a day-to-day basis. Examples include productivity (versus plan), defects, skill versatility, safety and... Read more › A set of measurement indicators used to track work unit performance on a day-to-day basis. Examples include productivity (versus plan), defects, skill versatility, safety and absenteeism. Work unit metrics can also include key measures unique to the team, product line or service. See Metric.
Workplace Organization (WPO)
The discipline of configuring workspaces to optimize material flow by minimizing the consumption of distance, time and space.
Workstation Optimization
Design the work area for operator movement as opposed to storing material and supplies. Achieve the optimum work area that minimizes operator motions and facilitates safe, efficient work.
World-Class Quality Management 
A quality management system that is the benchmark for other industries and competitors. See Quality Management. Click here to read blog posts focused around World-Class Standards.

Y

Yield
See First Pass Quality