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Lean Vision
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Lean in manufacturing
Lean in services

asking WHY five times to find out a root cause of problem

5W2H , What-When-Where-Who-Why-How-How many

a method to put a problem in descriptive terms using real data

6 Big Losses

a TPM term used to describe six categories of machine losses: breakdowns, setup and adjustment, idling and minor stoppages, quality, speed reduction and startup losses


visual way of communicating using light signals

Autonomation (Jidoka)

machine with a human touch, an intelligent system allowing for shutting down a machine when a bad quality part has been produced

Autonomous Maintenance (Jishu Hozen)

systematic involvement of operators in equipment maintenance

Black Belt

a Six Sigma term denoting an expert in application of problem solving tools, usually involving some statistics

Cause & Effect Diagram

see: Fishbone Diagram

Continuous Improvement (CI)

a common name for formal programs involving teams solving problems and eliminating waste


a measure of process performance, defined as a ratio of specification width to process width


a measure of process performance similar to Cp but also taking into account asymmetry of process width in relation to specification width

CTQ (Critical To Quality)

a Six Sigma term used to describe parameters that are critical to ensure delivering quality product or service to the customer

Cycle time

a repetitive time required to perform an operation or complete a process

Deming, W. Edwards

an American who is universally regarded as one of a fathers of modern quality movement, worked in the defense industry in WWII and taught quality to Japanese in the 50's


a systematic team problem solving process used in Six Sigma, acronym for: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control


Defects Per Million Opportunities, term used in Six Sigma


Excellence in Manufacturing, one of the European terms describing a continuous improvement program

FIFO First In First Out

a sequence of production or storage ensuring that the input sequence will be equal to the output sequence

Fishbone Diagram

(also Cause & Effect Diagram, CEDAC chart, Ishikawa diagram) a graphic manner of displaying potential causes of a problem resembling a fishbone. The name originates from a Japanese consultant Kaoru Ishikawa. Often all of the causes are grouped in 4 or 6 categories beginning with a letter M: Men, Machine, Materials, Methods, Measurement, Mother Nature (Environment)

FMEA (Failure Mode & Effect Analysis)

a systematic method to define potential failure modes and their effect on the customer, estimate probability of their occurrence and reliability of existing detection system

Focused Improvement

(Kobetsu Kaizen) formal, systematic and focused team activities aiming to eliminate root cause of a single complex problem, frequently the process is divided into steps


a Japanese term for the place where the action takes place, usually the shop floor

Gemba Management

a management system empowering employees to undertaking decisions regarding their own work space

Green Belt

a Six Sigma term for a "junior" expert, usually someone who has completed a week of training and has participated in one Six Sigma project


production leveling, usually a system that will split larger bathes into smaller lots and arrange a smooth production flow


a proprietary continuous improvement program developed by Lean Vision

Ishikawa, Kaoru

a Japanese consultant to Toyota in the 50's, mostly associated with the Ishikawa Diagram


see Autonomation

Jishu Hozen

see: Autonomous Maintenance

Just In Time

a term frequently interchanged with Lean Manufacturing and Pull System. JIT denotes a production that produces just the right amount, in the right time and the right place


a Japanese term for continuous improvement - a philosophy preferring constant incremental improvements over periodic large organizational changes

Kaizen Blitz

typically a multiday workshop designed to completely revamp a workplace and set it according to Lean principles: cell layout, little WIP, short changeover, one piece flow, etc. Approach works best in manual assembly environment


a Japanese term (meaning a sheet of paper) denoting a signal from downstream to an upstream process. In most environments there are Production Kanbans causing to manufacturing something and Withdrawal Kanbans causing to deliver something. See also Pull System

Kobetsu Kaizen

see: Focused Improvement

Lead Time

time needed to complete a process, from start to the end

Lean Enterprise

a term used to describe an organization that is improving constantly via a continuous improvement program encompassing Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma in all of the areas, including production and administration

Lean Management

see Lean Enterprise

Lean Manufacturing

eliminating waste or non value added from all of the processes. A name coined by the book "The Machine that Changed the World" to describe a production system used by Toyota

Lean Office

improving administrative areas based on the Lean model: 5S, waste elimination, once piece flow, etc.

Lean Six Sigma

jointly using  Lean and Six Sigma approaches for process improvement


Lower Specification Limit


a process mapping technique for an administrative or service environment


a water spider, a material handler responsible for delivering components and materials to workstations on the shop floor


Mean Time to Repair, total downtime divided by the number of breakdowns


a Japanese term used to describe production waste. Toyota's Taichii Ohno described 7 categories of wastes: overproduction, Inventory, waiting, errors and rework, process, human movement, Transportation


a Japanese term denoting overburden of a process or a machine


a Japanese term denoting uneven loading of a process or a machine


non value added, processes and tasks that do not add value to the product or a process from a customer's perspective

OEE Overall Equipment Effectiveness

a key measure in TPM comprising of 3 components: machine availability, performance and quality of product

Ohno, Taiichi

a Toyota employees, commonly regarded as a father of Lean Manufacturing, Pull System, Kanban, Just-In-Time, etc


a machine or a process setting the tempo for the entire factory

PDCA Plan - Do - Check - Act

process improvement model popularized by Deming


a lean term describing quantity of order delivered to the shop floor


a Japanese term for mistake or error proofing. Eliminating the possibility of making or passing a defect onto the next process or the customer. Developed by Shigeo Shingo


Parts Per Million

Pull System

another term describing Just-In-Time

Push System

the opposite of Pull System. A mass production system characterized by advanced scheduling and "pushing" materials onto the next process


a term coined by the author Michael Hammer to describe continuous improvement efforts in administration


also Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke - see 5S


teacher in Japanese, commonly used to describe an experienced >10 years (or >20 years if you're Toyota) Lean practitioner


Shop Floor Control

Shingo, Shigeo

consultant to Toyota, a father of SMED and Poka-Yoke, among others


a high level process diagram, an acronym for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, Customer

Six Sigma

a problem solving methodology that works best when applied to reduction in process variation. Six Sigma is frequently associated with necessary infrastructure Black Belts, Green Belts required to conduct improvement projects. See also DMAIC

SMED Single Minute Exchange of Die

a team problem solving process aiming at reduction of changeover time. The methodology was developed by Shigeo Shingo


Statistical Process Control

T Toyota Production System

another name for Lean Manufacturing


time within which one production cycle needs to be completed, takt time is a function of customer demand

TPM Total Productive Maintenance

a systematic approach to equipment maintenance involving all departments and especially production

TQM Total Quality Management

a term used to describe a continuous improvement effort popular the 70's and 80's


Upper Specification Limit

VA Value Added

denoting processes and tasks that add value to the product from the customer perspective

VA/VE Value Analysis / Value Engineering

project analysis aiming to eliminate waste before start of production

Visual Performance Management

managing processes based on readily available real time and visual information

VSM Value Stream Mapping

a technique to map production processes used by Toyota and popularized by the book Learning to See


World Class Manufacturing


Work in Process

Zero Defects

see Poka-Yoke

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