Glossary of Lean and Operational Excellence Terms

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  • 3P Production Preparation Process
    An advanced Lean technique, the 3P Production Preparation Process focuses on utilizing creative thinking related to product or process design. Typically conducted in workshop format with a(...)
  • 3 Principles of Kaizen
    The 3 principles of Kaizen are: gemba: the place where work is done gembutsu: the actual product genjitsu: the facts In order to have a successful Operational Excellence culture by(...)
  • 5S System for Cleaning and Organizing
    5S is a formal method for cleaning and organizing a workplace. It is a sequence of steps that move from chaos to order to eliminate waste and improve flow. The technique is especially effective for(...)
  • 5 Lean Principles
    The 5 Lean principles are: Define value as perceived by the customer Identify the value stream and eliminate waste Make your product or service Flow through the value stream Pull(...)
  • 5 Whys Analysis
    5 Whys Analysis is 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. 5 Whys Analysis Example: (...)
  • 6Ms of Production (man, machine, material, method, mother nature and measurement)
    The 6Ms of production - Manpower, Method, Machine, Material, Milieu and Measurement - is a mnemonic representing the characteristic dimensions[1] to consider when brainstorming during “cause and(...)
  • 6 Big Losses in Equipment Efficiency
    The 6 Big Losses are a way to categorize equipment-based productivity losses in manufacturing environments. They are: equipment failure (breakdown) loss: The largest of all losses, it includes(...)
  • 7 Types of Waste (Muda)
    The 7 wastes in production systems are: Transportation – Moving things; shipping, conveyors (materials, equipment, people) Inventory – Storing, sorting, clutter, obsolescence Motion –(...)
  • 7 Tools of Quality Control
    The 7 tools of quality control (list below) are used throughout structured problem-solving sequences such as those integral to DMAIC. These tools help practically distill and present complex(...)
  • 7 Management and Planning Tools
    The 7 management and planning tools were developed as new quality control tools in the 1970’s to help improve the outcomes of major projects. Each of the 7 management and planning tools help drive(...)
  • 7 Leadership Wastes
    Leadership wastes arise from a failure of leadership to harness the potential that resides in all workgroups. It influences all other controllable problems that face the organization. If leaders want(...)
  • 7 Characteristics of a Business Process
    A business process is a defined series of actions or steps required to achieve a particular outcome. It can be described based on the following 7 characteristics of a business process: Scope:(...)
  • 20 Keys
    20 Keys Definition The 20 Keys is an intuitive evaluation and rating system that measures operational performance and guides ongoing improvement activities. For any work function or work group,(...)
  • 100% Inspection
    In an operational process, 100% inspection is a check with verification of every single physical piece of work whose form is changed. In a functional process, it’s a check with verification on every(...)
  • A3 Process
    The A3 process is problem solving, project management and communication template for operational improvement. Its strength is a standard approach to documentation and communication. The template is(...)
  • ABC Inventory Classification
    ABC inventory classification is a way of describing inventory in terms of most important (A) to least important (C). The ranking criteria can be based on a number of factors determined during the(...)
  • Abnormality Management
    Abnormality Management is a way of configuring work so that so that any deviations from standards or the expected norms are obvious at a glance. Focus areas include: safety, operational task flow,(...)
  • Activity Network Diagram
    The Activity Network Diagram (AND) is one of the 7 Management and Planning tools and is used to depict the sequence of a project’s activities and any dependencies those activities may have with each(...)
  • Activity-Based Costing
    Activity-Based Costing (ABC) is a system where the cost of each product or service is based on the amount of activity (direct and indirect labor) and materials that goes into its production or(...)
  • 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
    London person who is all over our website, why don't you just contact me and we can talk about these methods and approaches to Lean. An Affinity Diagram is a method for(...)
  • Andon Signal
    An andon signal - usually visual or audible - is used primarily in manufacturing and production systems to notify of equipment, process or job status. Andon signals convey information such as: (...)
  • As Is
    As Is means the current state of some thing. For example, a process, organization, situation, etc. It designates the way things are right now. It is a term that is common in operational improvement(...)
  • Autonomation
    Autonomation, also referred to as jidoka, is a construct where machines and workers in tandem have license to halt progress when abnormality strikes. Autonomation seeks to avoid the manufacture of(...)
  • Backflush
    Backflush is the routine, perpetual accounting for costs such as inventory, labor, and outside processing which are assigned to the product upon completion. Put another way, costs are(...)
  • Baseline
    Baseline in Lean implementation or operational excellence is the starting condition against which performance improvement or degradation is measured. When you have a baseline, you can measure if(...)
  • Batch Production
    Batch production, or as its often referred to as batch-and-queue, is the practice of processing multiple units - also known as lots or batches - at the same time through a production(...)
  • Benchmark
    A benchmark is a standard of performance against which similar or comparable products, processes or methods are measured or judged. Benchmark does not mean the absolute best of something. It means(...)
  • Benchmarking
    Benchmarking is the act of comparing one thing (process, product, service, etc.) to another thing that is a known standard of high quality or performance. In Operational Excellence and Lean(...)
  • Best in Class
    Best in Class is considered the top performance standard in a particular sector, industry, business or operation, as compared to one’s peers. It is a benchmark frequently sought by organizations(...)
  • Best Practice
    A best practice is a way of performing activities or executing processes that is generally considered superior to all other methods in terms of quality, performance and cost. Sometimes referred to as(...)
  • Bottleneck
    A bottleneck can be any factor in a process or system that limits that system from performing at its full capacity. Bottleneck constraints often result in slowed or even complete work flow stoppages.
  • Brown Paper Fair
    A Brown Paper Fair is an event where wall-sized process maps are posted and the audience is asked to comment with post-it notes and other forms of evaluation. The audience is composed people who are(...)
  • Brown Paper Mapping
    Brown Paper Mapping is a technique for illustrating and documenting a process on a large sheet of paper. Often, a large roll of brown packaging paper is used. This is where the term "Brown Paper" Map(...)
  • Buffer Stock
    Buffer stock is inventory held in reserve throughout the value stream that serves to mitigate downward supply fluctuations (that might result from lead time delays, for example), or, upward demand(...)
  • Cause and Effect Diagram (Fishbone, Ishikawa Diagram)
    Cause and Effect diagrams – also known as Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram – are useful for understanding the causes for certain results. The following diagram illustrates the construct of the(...)
  • Cellular Manufacturing
    Cellular Manufacturing is a way to layout processes and equipment as a single close-together unit or “cell.” A U-shaped arrangement is often the starting point for design because it provides an(...)
  • Charter
    A charter helps define a standard approach to organizing special projects and teams. It is a formal document approved by leadership that describes and bounds the scope of a project or change team(...)
  • Continuous Flow
    Continuous Flow is a way of connecting operations so that all incremental quantities of production – from 1 unit (discrete) to n+1 units (batch) move through production in a steady stream. It strives(...)
  • Continuous Improvement
    Continuous Improvement is the never-ending commitment to improving overall business operations through employee involvement and applying proven techniques to reduce waste and increase process(...)
  • Cost of Quality
    Cost of Quality is the quantification of costs associated with defects incurred in production, e.g., internal and external failures, appraisal, and prevention costs.
  • Cross Training
    Cross Training is a skills development practice where workers learn multiple job skills outside of their primary responsibilities in order to increase operational flexibility. This practice is also(...)
  • Cross-functional Team
    A Cross-functional Team is a group of individuals from different areas and functions working together to perform certain tasks and achieve specific objectives. In operations, a(...)
  • Current State
    The immediate condition of a process, operation or system before planned correction or improvement. Current state is how things actually work right now. It is a term that is common in operational(...)
  • Daily Huddles (or Daily Workgroup Meetings)
    See Lean Daily Management System®
  • Defect
    A defect exists when a product, material, process, document or service fails to meet a specification and / or above all, a customer’s requirement. In that, something is lacking or isn’t right. In all(...)
  • Downstream Process
    Any work unit or process or operation that receives inputs, goods, services, components, etc. from another unit or operation is a downstream process. Downstream process simply refers to a process or(...)
  • Effectiveness
    Effectiveness is the ability for a process or activity to achieve the expected or intended result. Effective is a qualitative concept that evaluates degrees of good or bad, whereas efficient is a(...)
  • Efficiency
    Efficiency is the ability to accomplish a task, process or action with little waste. It is often expressed in terms of how much time or energy is expended to accomplish a task. It is a quantitative(...)
  • Employee Engagement
    Employee engagement means giving people the ability to directly participate in, influence and improve their work. Engagement leads to commitment. People are happier and have a greater sense of(...)
  • Error-proofing
    Error-proofing is the process of anticipating, detecting and preventing errors that adversely affect product, service and process quality, and efficiency. It focuses on preventing errors or defects(...)
  • Executive Steering Committee
    The Executive Steering Committee (ESC) is a team designated to govern the improvement activities of special projects and initiatives. This team sets direction, engages the organization and removes(...)
  • Facilitation
    Facilitation is the work involved in making the completion of tasks by others easier and more productive. Facilitation serves the needs of any group that is meeting with a common purpose, whether it(...)
  • Flow
    Flow is the progressive completion of tasks in the value chain to deliver products and services that meet customer requirements. Optimal flow means material / information moves through the entire(...)
  • Future State
    Future state is a description of the planned and improved, but not yet realized condition of a process, operation or system. Future state is how things will work in the future. It is a term that is(...)
  • Gantt Chart
    In simple terms, a Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart that helps visualize project status or multi-step / multi-function process. It is used as a project management tool with tasks on the vertical(...)
  • Hand-off Chart
    A Hand-off chart in the world of Lean and continuous improvement shows the transfer of material or information from one process step to another. Too many or poorly executed hand-offs are a major(...)
  • IDOV (Identify, Design, Optimize and Validate)
    IDOV (Identify, Design, Optimize and Validate) is a step-by-step approach to Six Sigma as applied to product and service design. The four basic steps of the methodology are: Identify the process(...)
  • Impact Effort Matrix
    An Impact Effort Matrix evaluates improvement opportunities by ranking them in two areas: Impact (benefits) and Effort (difficulty to implement). This is a good way to decide what to work on. The(...)
  • Inventory Management
    Inventory management is a critical aspect of any Lean system. The objective is to keep all inventory as low as possible and meet customer demand. Inventory is typically classified in three(...)
  • Jidoka
    Jidoka, also known as autonomation, refers to people and equipment working together to monitor processes and improve results. With jidoka, a construct workers and equipment have license to halt(...)
  • Just In Time
    Just In Time (JIT) is the concept and practice of moving products and services through the production and delivery processes so as to minimize inventories and related wastes. Just In Time is the(...)
  • 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(...)
  • Kaizen Action Sheet System
    Within the context of the Lean Daily Management System, the Kaizen Action Sheet (KAS) System captures, submits and manages small improvement ideas and then tracks them through to closure. One of the(...)
  • Kaizen Event
    The Kaizen Event (KE) is a standard approach to team-based problem solving. The KE helps teams focus on process problems that are beyond the day-to-day work. The Kaizen Event is a fundamental and(...)
  • Kanban
    Kanban is the Japanese word for signal. In a Lean production system, a kanban is a signal that pulls material into the production sequence as needed. With a kanban system, material is not pushed into(...)
  • Lead Time
    Lead Time (LT) is the total time from whenever any task or job is scheduled, until the time the task or job is completed. It includes lead up activities (planning, scheduling, material accumulation,(...)
  • Lean
    The definition of Lean as in, lean process, lean manufacturing or lean office, is the fervent elimination of waste* where waste is anything that does not add value. Ask yourself if an all-knowing(...)
  • Lean Daily Management System
    The Lean Daily Management System® (LDMS®) is a set of standard techniques that help intact workgroups to focus on and continuously improve their day-to-day work processes (Kaizen). LDMS engages(...)
  • Lean Enterprise
    Lean Enterprise is a comprehensive business model that actively engages leadership and associates to plan for and apply practical continuous improvement concepts. Grounded in the tenets of the Toyota(...)
  • Lean Leadership
    Lean Leadership describes a leadership style that actively engages the entire organization to pursues a Lean culture of operational excellence. The emphasis is on structured problem solving,(...)
  • Leveling
    Leveling, or production leveling is a technique that smooths the movement of products or services through their various processes so that everything flows with an even cadence. Balance between supply(...)
  • LIFO: Last In, First Out
    LIFO is the acronym for: First In, First Out. It is an asset management method that moves the costs of products from inventory to the cost of goods sold. Under LIFO the latest or more recent costs of(...)
  • Macro-Process
    A macro-process is a mid-level collection of processes. They are often the major activities of organizational functions within the enterprise and can be a collection of micro-processes that may also(...)
  • Mass Production
    Mass production delivers large quantities of standardized products. It uses assembly lines, automation and batch processing to maximize productivity and efficiency. The term was popularized in the(...)
  • Milk Run
    A milk run in terms of logistics and product movement, is a regular route that is traveled at a regular cadence to bring materials or products from point A to point B, C, D. A milk run uses of(...)
  • Muda
    Muda is a Japanese term for waste. The literal translation is more broad. It means: futility; uselessness; wastefulness. When formal Lean approaches started at Toyota in the 1950s, all forms of(...)
  • Natural Workgroup
    A Natural Workgroup is smaller entity within the organization where work gets done. These teams are focused on specific deliverables and objectives. The size of each work group is typically 5 to 9(...)
  • Non-Value Added
    Non-Value Added activities take time, resource or space but: Do not transform the item, material, product or service Are not done right or well, thus creating rework An all knowing(...)
  • Office Kaizen
    Office Kaizen is the application of Lean techniques to business process, administrative, functional and non-manufacturing areas. Office Kaizen is a set of proven methods and tactical tools for(...)
  • Operational Excellence
    What is Operational Excellence Operational Excellence is the term used to describe a set of process improvement techniques, methods and approaches aimed at improving business performance. It is a(...)
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness | O.E.E.
    Overall Equipment Effectiveness (O.E.E) measures the time that an asset (machine) is producing product versus the theoretical maximum amount of time the equipment could be producing. Developed by(...)
  • Pareto Chart
    A pareto chart is a graphic representation of data that shows two things: Ranked causes for individual outcomes and A line that shows the cumulative result from all causes It is vertical(...)
  • Primary Visual Display
    The primary visual display (PVD) board contains useful work group information and performance metrics that helps the team stay focused on the most important aspects of their work together. It is the(...)
  • Procedural Adherence
    Procedural adherence is defined as the sequence of events that include work tasks, processes and multiple participants to complete complex objectives. Procedural adherence results from Aligned values(...)
  • Process Capability
    Process capability is a rating that describes the ability of a process to perform as expected. Often referred to as Cpk, this tells how well a process can be performed and delivered defect free(...)
  • Quality
    Quality is the degree to which an enterprise meets or exceeds their customers' expectations, continually improving processes, products and service delivery. From a contemporary point-of-view, the(...)
  • Quick Changeover
    Changeover is the process of modifying a line or production sequence in order to produce a different product. It usually refers to a tool or "die" change, or some other form of equipment modification(...)
  • RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Inform) Matrix
    RACI is a graphical representation that connects work and deliverables with functions and roles. It tells who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted or Informed. RACI is an important technique(...)
  • Rapid Improvement Event (RIE)
    For the half dozen or so hospitals that hit this page every day, it's apparent your focused on how to accelerate results with this important tool - the Rapid Improvement Event (RIE). Why not contact(...)
  • Resolve
    Resolve has two definitions. 1.      resolve: firm determination to do something 2.      resolve: separate or cause to be separated into components The first definition is about achieving an(...)
  • Sensei
    Sensei is a Japanese term that translates literally as “one who came before”. It designates a teacher or someone who has achieved mastery of a subject or skill. It is a term of respect and(...)
  • Shift Start-Up Meeting
    A shift start-up meeting (SSU) is a disciplined, daily meeting with an intact work group. It provides a consistent approach to communication and is a means of sharing information and directing(...)
  • Short Interval Coaching
    Short Interval Coaching (SIC) is frequent standard coaching sessions at short intervals.  Short Interval Coaching (SIC) happens frequently – daily or weekly. It’s proactive. Emerging issues enter(...)
  • Simplification
    Simplification is the act of eliminating or reducing elements of a process or thing that are unnecessary for its intended function.  Form follows function. Complexity Increases Naturally But(...)
  • Single Piece Flow
    Single piece flow is the movement of a single element of production along a production line or process. Also referred to as one-piece flow, it is an optimized configuration of work that, when(...)
  • Six Sigma
    Six Sigma is a structured problem-solving, process improvement and quality management methodology composed of scores of integrated tools and techniques. Trained and validated practitioners use(...)
  • SLIM-IT Implementation Model
    SLIM-IT implementation model is a project management framework. It works because it literally surrounds process improvement tools and activities with human factors as part of its structure. Most(...)
  • Standard Work
    Standard Work is the act of completing a process sequence and method, the same way every time. It includes the design, documentation and doing of the work. Creating standard work involves learning(...)
  • Takt Time
    Takt Time in the context of Lean is the cadence that product must move through the production system. The term is German in origin and it means cadence, rhythm or tempo. The formula for is:(...)
  • Throughput
    Throughput is the rate of production of a defined process over a stated period of time. Throughput may be the most obvious objective of any lean system. But remember, it is not about speed(...)
  • Throughput Time
    Throughput Time is elapsed time required for a product to go through a defined process, from beginning to end, including both lead time and processing time. Throughput time for a process is(...)
  • Total Productive Maintenance
    Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a series of methods to ensure that every machine in a production process is always able to perform its required tasks through improved equipment availability and(...)
  • Toyota Production System (TPS)
    The Toyota Production System (TPS) is a method of manufacturing that seeks to eliminate waste in all forms. This manufacturing approach is based on two key philosophies: Jidoka or autonomation(...)
  • Tree Diagram
    A tree diagram – sometimes called a Fault Tree Diagram - is used in root cause analysis. It describes levels or categories of causes for problems or failures.  A tree diagram seeks to identify the(...)
  • Upstream Process
    Any work unit or process or operation that supplies inputs, goods, services, components, etc. to another unit or operation is an upstream process. Upstream process simply refers to a process or work(...)
  • Value
    Value is the measure of benefit that is derived from a product or service. In terms of Lean, any process contains two elements: value and waste. Waste is the opposite of value and it is something(...)
  • Value Added
    Value added refers to any activity, task or process that transforms a product or service in a way that brings positive benefit to the final result. The acid test for whether something is value added(...)
  • Value Added Analysis
    Value added analysis seeks to evaluate a process or value stream and identify those elements that benefit the final product or service being delivered. The analysis isolates the activities that, in(...)
  • Value Chain
    The value chain is the complex interaction of processes, value streams, suppliers and customers that make up an end-to-end flow of production and services delivery. When value chains are analyzed,(...)
  • Value Stream
    A value stream is all of the connected activities and processes that come together to deliver a product or service to a customer. It starts with the acquisition of raw materials and components and(...)
  • Value Stream Map
    A Value Stream Map (VSM) is a graphical format used to describe a process or series of processes that deliver products and services to customers. The VSM is that it shows a flow of information,(...)
  • Value Stream Owner
    The Value Stream Owner is the individual or team responsible for the performance of an entire value stream. Usually this means a consolidation of functions and functional reporting. This may sound(...)
  • Variation
    Variation is 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 or service and is(...)
  • Visual Control
    Visual control is any visible indicator of current performance versus expected performance in the workplace. Examples include correct tool placement, tracking production run data or signaling that a(...)
  • Visual Factory
    A visual factory is a production facility where information is displayed so that everyone can see the same things at the same time, all the time. This includes metrics and performance information(...)
  • Visual Systems
    Visual systems are an array of visible indicators – signs, color coding, information, metrics, etc. that make it easy for the observer to understand the environment around them. Information is easy(...)
  • Voice of Customer
    Voice of Customer is a term used in process, product and service improvement that seeks to describe the desires, objectives and aversions of the customer. These inputs are the driving force for(...)
  • Waste (or muda)
    Waste is anything that does not add value to a product or service. Value is anything that brings benefit, as defined by the customer, to a product or service. The Japanese word for waste in Lean(...)
  • Work in Process
    Work In Process (WIP) is a measure of the quantity of goods at various stages of completion between raw materials and finished goods throughout a production facility. WIP inventory buildup is a key(...)
  • Work Sequence
    Work sequence is the specific order in which work tasks are completed. This can be manual or automated processes. The term most often refers to the sequence of steps that are part of a standard work(...)
  • Workstation Optimization
    Workstation optimization defines a work area that is set up in a way that maximizes safety, minimizes waste and supports the optimal flow of material. Workplace optimization seeks to reduce operator(...)
  • World Class Manufacturing
    World-Class Manufacturing ensures a business enterprise can lead their markets and compete with anyone, anywhere producing a similar product. It means that an enterprise has implemented and is(...)
  • World Class Quality Management
    World Class Quality Management Definition World Class Quality Management (WCQM) is a contemporary quality philosophy, policy, system, standards and practices that complement the design, development(...)
  • X
    We felt like x should be in our glossary since it was the only letter for which we did not have an entry. So here you go… X is a letter in the English alphabet. It is often used in mathematical(...)
  • Yield
    The amount output from a production process. Typically, the term refers to good product or output. So, if something has a 90% yield, that means 90% was good usable output and 10% was scrap or(...)
  • Zero Defects
    Zero Defects (ZD) refers to a management technique and program that uses motivational techniques aimed at reducing defects through prevention. This defect elimination performance improvement(...)