Glossary of 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 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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 by the Japanese to help improve the outcomes of major projects. They include: affinity diagram:(...)
  • 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: scope: Starting and end point(...)
  • 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
    An Affinity Diagram is a method for gathering and organizing large amounts of data into groupings based on natural relationships or common themes. It is one of the 7 Management and Planning tools(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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
    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(...)
  • 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 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
    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
    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 time or energy. Efficient is a quantitative concept that evaluates the(...)
  • 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 quality, process efficiency and customer satisfaction. It focuses on preventing errors or(...)
  • Executive Steering Committee (ESC)
    The Executive Steering Committee (ESC) is a team of leaders who govern improvement activities of special projects and initiatives. This team sets direction, engage the organization and removes(...)
  • 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
    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
    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
    Within the context of the Lean Daily Management System, the Kaizen Action Sheet (KAS) System is a way to capture, submit and manage small improvement ideas track them through to closure. 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
    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 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 proactively pursues operational excellence by  engaging the organization with emphasis on structured problem solving and process(...)
  • 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 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 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 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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • 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 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
    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(...)
  • 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(...)
  • Simplification
    Simplification is the act of eliminating or reducing elements of a process or thing that are unnecessary for it to accomplish it’s intended function. The expression “Form follows function.” is a way(...)
  • 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 ® 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 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 we did not have an entry. So here you go... X is a letter in the English alphabet. It is often used in(...)
  • Yield
    See First Pass Quality or First Pass Yield
  • 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(...)