Glossary of Terms

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  • 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(...)
  • 3 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: gemba: the shop floor gembutsu: the actual(...)
  • 5 Lean Principles
    The 5 core 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 (...)
  • 5S System for Cleaning and Organizing
    5S Definition: 5S is a formal method for cleaning and organizing a workplace. It is a sequence of steps that move from the from chaos to order to eliminate waste and improve flow. The technique is(...)
  • 5 Whys Analysis
    5 Whys Analysis Definition: 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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 Types of Waste (Muda)
    Definition: The 7 classic wastes in production systems as defined by Taiichi Ohno, the father of waste elimination in manufacturing operations. Waste is defined as anything that uses resources, but(...)
  • 7 Tools of QC
    Presents complex or abstract statistical information in a simple, visual format. The seven quality tools help monitor and control production processes, analyze and solve problems, generate ideas, and(...)
  • 7 Leadership Wastes
    Arise from a failure of leadership to harness the potential that resides in all workgroups. The seven wastes of leadership are: focus waste: Arises when everyone is not aligned and energized on(...)
  • 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: scope: Starting point(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 20 Keys
    The 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • Activity Network Diagram
    See 7MP 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(...)
  • 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 7MP 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(...)
  • As Is
    A representation or description of a current state (e.g., an organization, a process, etc.).
  • 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(...)
  • Baseline
    The beginning point, based on an evaluation of the output over a period of time, used to determine the process parameters prior to any improvement effort; the basis against which change is measured.
  • Batch Production
    Batch production is the practice of making parts in large lots and accumulating them in batches before they are released to the next stage of production. In contrast to Single Piece Flow, batches are(...)
  • Benchmark
    A benchmark is a standard of performance against which similar or comparable products, processes or methods are measured or judged.
  • Benchmarking
    The process of measuring products, services, and practices against those of leading companies.
  • Best in Class
    The top performance standard in a particular sector, industry, business or operation. Serves as the definitive benchmark for excellence in the category.
  • 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 high performance and low cost when compared. Serves as(...)
  • Bottleneck
    A bottleneck is 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(...)
  • Brown Paper Fair
    An event where brown paper maps are presented and the audience is encouraged to engage actively by commenting on the process maps with post-it notes or other forms of evaluation.
  • Brown Paper Mapping
    Brown paper mapping is a technique for illustrating (or ‘mapping’) a business process based on input provided by team members. An important first step toward understanding the ‘as is’ and ‘to be’(...)
  • Buffer Stock
    Inventory used to mitigate or "level" fluctuations in customer demand.
  • 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(...)
  • Cellular Manufacturing
    Operating units (or 'cells') in which equipment and workstations are arranged to facilitate small lot, continuous flow production. Typically involves grouping complementary operations to facilitate(...)
  • Changeovers
    Changeovers are the time between the last good piece of one run to the first good piece of the next run. Changeover time is down time, so quick changeovers effectively reduce waste.
  • Charter
    A charter is an agreement to complete certain objectives aimed at improving operational performance. It includes objectives, critical success factors, activities, deliverables, responsibility(...)
  • Continuous Flow
    Continuous Flow is the optimal state of production in which goods are made according to the rate of customer demand, i.e., producing exactly what is needed, when it is needed, and in the quantities(...)
  • Continuous Improvement
    Continuous Improvement is the never-ending commitment to improving overall business operations by involving employees and applying proven techniques to reduce waste and increase process efficiency.
  • Continuous Improvement 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(...)
  • 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 that enables workers to master multiple job skills and increase operational flexibility. Also known as skills versatility.
  • Cross-functional Team
    A Cross-functional Team is a team of people from different areas and functions working together to solve a specific problem or perform a specific task.
  • Current State
    The immediate condition (current state) of a process, operation or system before planned correction or improvement. Current state is: how things work in the present.
  • 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.
  • Defect
    A defect is any product or service that varies from specifications and therefore fails to meet customer requirements.
  • Downstream
    Processes or activities that follow the task or activity in question. For example, Budget Creation is downstream from Forecasting and Testing is downstream from Production.
  • 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,(...)
  • Efficiency
    A general term used to describe how resources are used to produce a given output. An efficient process is one that uses relatively fewer resources (e.g., funds, time, energy, etc.) to achieve planned(...)
  • Employee Engagement
    What is Employee Engagement Employee engagement means giving people the ability to directly participate in, influence and improve their work. Employee engagement requires a process that incorporates(...)
  • Employee Involvement
    The philosophy, commitment and actions that ensure employees are involved in the decisions that affect their work. "Involvement" might be synonymous with "engagement" as long as employees really have(...)
  • Error-proofing
    Error-proofing is the process of anticipating, detecting and preventing errors that adversely affect product quality, process efficiency and customer satisfaction. It focuses on preventing errors or(...)
  • Executive Steering Committee (ESC)
    The Executive Steering Committee (ESC) engages leadership to compel sustainable implementation results that improve enterprise performance. It’s composed of committed top leaders who are accountable(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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
    The future state is the planned, improved, but not yet realized state of a process, operation or system, as distinguished from the current state.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 of the methodology are: Identify the(...)
  • Inventory Management
    Inventory management consists of all the activities that improve the flow of material within an operation by minimizing inventories. It relies heavily on logistics management and Just In Time systems(...)
  • jidoka
    See Autonomation
  • Just In Time
    Just In Time (JIT) is a technique for producing and delivering customer requirements when they are needed to minimize the accumulation of inventories.
  • 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 (KAS) System
    A Kaizen Action Sheet (KAS) is a single sheet of paper that provides a way for an individual to suggest process improvements within their work area. The document is simple. It asks for a description(...)
  • Kaizen Event
    A Kaizen Event is a facilitated standard workshop that uses a team to improve process related problems. Originating in Japan in the 1970s, the Kaizen Event is designed to help teams solve process(...)
  • Kanban
    A kanban is an overt signal such as cards, printed labels or electric signals within production processes that trigger the release of materials from 'upstream' to 'downstream' workstations. Kanbans(...)
  • Lead Time
    The time it takes from receipt of an order until the finished product is ready for use.
  • Lean
    Lean Definition Short Answer: Lean is the fervent elimination of waste. Long Answer: Lean is a leadership approach AND a management philosophy AND a set of tactical methods that, as a(...)
  • Lean Daily Management System
    What is the Lean Daily Management System The Lean Daily Management System (LDMS) is a set of standard procedures that provides the structure workgroups to continuously improve their day-to-day work.(...)
  • Lean Leadership
    Lean Leadership a way of work that emphasizes performance improvement, change and managing resistance to uncertainty. Lean leaders excel in two areas: setting direction aimed at incremental(...)
  • Leveling
    Leveling is a technique for producing a controlled amount of supply to meet planned requirements despite fluctuations in demand.
  • LIFO
    LIFO is the acronym for last 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
    The name given to a group of micro processes, such as processing a purchase order or annual planning.
  • Mass Production
    Mass production is an economic principle that assumes production efficiency is achieved when goods are standardized, made in large volumes and manufactured at the highest speeds possible. Mass(...)
  • Milk Run
    A milk run is the use of single delivery vehicles for multiple pickups or deliveries rather than multiple vehicles for single purpose pickups or deliveries.
  • Muda
    Muda is the Japanese term for 'waste,' now commonly used to define the kinds of inefficiencies that exist in typical business operations. While many organizations consider there to be eight kinds of(...)
  • nagara
    Japanese term for "while doing something, accomplishing more than one task in one motion or function."
  • Natural Work Group
    A Natural Work Group, or Intact Work Group, is a team of workers who share a common workplace and have responsibility for a common process or product.
  • Non value-add
    A non value-added activity is any activity that takes time, resources or space but does not add value or is not required to the product / service form customer’s / consumer’s point of view.
  • Office Kaizen
    Office Kaizen (Lean Office) adapts proven Lean methods for practical relevance within functional, administrative and service delivery settings. It consolidates and applies best practices from kaizen,(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • Primary Visual Display
    A primary visual display (PVD) is a large visual display that presents the current status of intact workgroup on key metrics, goals, objectives and action plans. It is a core component of Kaufman(...)
  • Procedural Adherence
    Procedural Adherence: Aligned values and explicit behaviors that demonstrate the highest regard for following established standards to minimize risk. Procedures are the sequence of events that(...)
  • 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.
  • RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Inform) Matrix
    A planning tool used to identify and clarify roles, responsibilities and individual levels of participation across all functions (activities, tasks and decisions) to ensure effective operation.
  • Rapid Improvement Event (RIE)
    The Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) is a standard approach to team-based problem solving. The RIE helps teams focus on process problems that are beyond the day-to-day work. The Rapid Improvement Event(...)
  • sensei (or Lean sensei)
    An outside master or teacher that assists in implementing Lean practices.
  • Short Interval Coaching (SIC)
    Short Interval Coaching (SIC) as its name implies, is frequent standard coaching sessions at “short intervals.” The practice originates from an understanding that supervisors and managers often get(...)
  • 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 ® is a project implementation and 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 documented, single best repeatable practice to perform a process as designed by the people who do the work. Implicit with this definition is the notion that the people (when(...)
  • 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 480 minutes per day,(...)
  • 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 for a process is synonymous(...)
  • 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 /(...)
  • 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(...)
  • Tree Diagram
    A 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(...)
  • Upstream Process
    Any work unit or operation in a business process that supplies goods or services to another (downstream) unit.
  • 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
    Any activity outside an organization that adds value to your final product, such as the value-adding activities of your suppliers.
  • 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.
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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 include: Desirable and rewarding (...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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 forward. Some techniques include: (...)
  • 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,(...)
  • 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.
  • 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(...)
  • 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 absenteeism. Work unit(...)
  • 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.
  • Yield
    See First Pass Quality or First Pass Yield