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Lean in manufacturing
Lean in services
A - D

a way of communicating using visual, audible or text 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)
a 7-step process to systematically involve production operators in equipment maintenance.

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

Cause & Effect Diagram
see: Fishbone Diagram.

Continuous Improvement (CI)
a common name for a formalized program involving waste elimination by problem solving teams.

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 a delivery of a quality product or service to the customer.

Cycle time
a repetitive time required to perform an operation or complete a process, or a frequency with which products are produced by a machine.

Deming, W. Edwards
an American quality guru 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. Known for popularizing a PDCA cycle.

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 to measure quality.

E - K

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

First In First Out, a sequence of production or storage ensuring that the input sequence will be equal to the output sequence. FIFO should also be designed to limit WIP.

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 denotes system empowering employees to undertaking decisions regarding their own work environment.

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 batches into smaller lots and arrange a smooth production flow at a Pacemaker.

a 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 a manual assembly environment.

(jap. a card) a Japanese term 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.

L - O

Lead Time 
time needed to complete a process, from start to the end.


Lean Enterprise 
see Lean Management.


Lean Management 
managing using Lean principles. A term used interchangeably with Lean Manufacturing to describe an organization that uses Lean tools not only in production.


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 
see Lean Management.


Lean Six Sigma 
a term that has become popular since 2000 to describe jointly using  Lean and Six Sigma approaches for process improvement.


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.


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.


MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure)
a metric used in TPM calculated by dividing total operations time by the number of failures.


MTTR (Mean Time to Repair)
a metric used in TPM calculated by dividing total downtime by the number of breakdowns.


a Japanese term used to describe waste. Toyota's Taichii Ohno designated seven categories of wastes: overproduction, inventory, waiting, errors and rework, overprocessing, 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.


NVA (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 three components: machine availability (A), performance (P) and quality of production (Q). OEE = A x P x Q.


Ohno, Taiichi  
a Toyota employee commonly regarded as a father of Lean Manufacturing.

P - S

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


Plan-Do-Check-Act, process improvement model popularized by Deming, frequently associated with Kaizen.


time required by the Pacemaker to produce one order.


a Japanese term for a mistake or error proofing concept. It prevents an error from occurring or, if a defect was made, stops it from being passed on the next process. Developed by Shigeo Shingo.


Parts Per Million.


Pull System 
production scheduling based on replenishing the amount consumed by a process downstream, the opposite of Push System.


Push System 
a mass production system, typically characterized by exploding a forecast via MRP and "pushing" materials onto the next process.


Quality Circles 
meetings of shop floor teams with a goal to reduce defects, a term popular in the 70’s.


a term coined by Michael Hammer, the author of “Reengineering the Corporation”, to describe radical reorganization of processes in service and administrative environments.


a teacher in Japanese, commonly used to describe an experienced Lean practitioner.


Shingo, Shigeo 
consultant to Toyota, an inventor of SMED and Poka-Yoke methodologies, among others.


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


Six Sigma 
a problem solving methodology to reduce process variation. Six Sigma is associated with infrastructure: Black Belts, Green Belts, required for improvement projects. See also DMAIC.


SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) 
Single Minute Exchange of Die, a team problem solving methodology that reduces changeover time to less than 10 minutes, developed by Shigeo Shingo.


Statistical Process Control, monitoring and analyzing production output using statistical tools.

T - Z

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

TOC (Theory of Constraints)
Process management principle aimed at improving material flow by managing a bottleneck, invented by Eliyahu Goldratt.

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)
a systematic approach to equipment maintenance based on prevention and engaging production operators.

TPS (Toyota Production System)
a name used by Toyota to describe their manufacturing system, known as Lean Manufacturing to the rest of the world.

TQM (Total Quality Management)
a term used to describe a continuous improvement effort popular the 70's and 80's. TQM evolved partially into Six Sigma and other problem solving techniques.

Upper Specification Limit, a term used to describe customer requirements when looking at a distribution graph or a run chart.

VA (Value Added)
denoting processes and tasks that add value to the product from the customer perspective. In manufacturing VA are all processes that physically change a product into a state closer to finished goods.

VA/VE (Value Analysis/Value Engineering)
analysis of product design from the function standpoint, aiming to cut production cost while maintaining desired performance.

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.

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

What-When-Where-Who-Why-How-How Many: a technique to describe a problem using real data.

World Class Manufacturing, a term used interchangeably with Lean or TPM.

Work in Process, all inventory in between processes.

process yield, % of total production right the first time.

Zero Defects
a philosophy of completely eliminating errors from processes by using inspection at a source, statistical controls and Poka-Yoke.

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