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Lean glossary

5S

Concept for basic workplace organization.
1. SORT/SEIRI (Japanese) – determine what is needed and what is not.
2. SET IN ORDER/SEITON – a place for everything and evetything in place.
3. SHINE/SEISO – clean everything.
4. STANDARDIZE/SEIKETSU – create the rules to monitor the first 3 S’s.
5. SUSTAIN/SHITSUKE – make a habit, create culture through training and communication.

5 WHY

Practice of asking five times, why the failure has occurred in order to get to the root cause (causes) of the problem.

ANDON

A tool of visual management originating from Japanese word for “Lamp”. A light signal or display that has a specially attributed meaning. Lights are placed on machines or production lines to indicate operation status (OK, idle, tool or quality problem, material shortage, etc.).

AVAILABILITY

The percentage of time that a piece of equipment (or employee) is available to be utilized (to work) in the value stream.

BATCH AND QUEUE (BACH AND PUSH)

Processing more than one item and then moving those items forward to the next operation before they are actually needed there. Thus items need to wait in a queue.

BATCH SIZE REDUCTION

Lean concept that strives to reduce batch size to optimal level (ideally one-piece flow) to meet the customer demand at the next step of the process. When the one-piece flow is not possible, the goal should be to reduce the batch size as far as possible within the existing constraints.

BEST PRACTICE

A method of accomplishing work that is considered to be superior to all other known methods.

CAPABILITY

The ability of the process, product, person or organization to perform its specified purpose (based on tested or historical performance) and to achieve measurable results that satisfy established requirements or specifications.

CAUSE

The factor (X) that has an impact on variable (Y); a source variation in the process, product quality or a system.

CELLULAR PROCESSING

Linking operations into the most effective combination to maximize the value-added content while minimizing the waste.

CHANGEOVER

Transition period/process when the piece of equipment, an operator or a software has to switch from processing one item to another.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

An ongoing effort to improve company’s products, services and processes, also, known as kaizen. The core principles of Continuous Improvement are:

  •  Assessment of current state of the processes;
  • Identification of waste or improvement possibilities;
  • Incremental, continual steps of improvement;
  • Standardization of improved state of the processes.

COST OF QUALITY

Amount of money of business losses because its products or services were not done right the first time.

CRITICAL TO QUALITY (CTQ)

Key measurable characteristics of the product, service or process that needs to be met in order to satisfy the customer. CTQ help to align improvement efforts with the customer requirements.

CYCLE TIME

Elapsed time required to process one unit of good quality work through a process step. Often described as elapsed time from one to the next good piece in single step of the process.

DEFECT

A failure to meet the customer (internal or external) requirements or specifications.

DEFECTS PER MILLION OPPORTUNITIES (DPMO)

The average number of defects per unit observed during the average production run divided by the number of theoretical opportunities to make a defect normalized to one million.

DEMING CYCLE (PDCA)

A problem solving technique or continuous improvement model consisting of logical sequence of four repetitive steps: Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust.

DMAIC

Similar to PDCA a five step method mostly utilized in Six Sigma methodology.

FIFO

“First in, First out”. The sequence of processing when items processed in one step are used up in the same order in the next step. FIFO is one of the methods to regulate a queue between two sequential processes. When the FIFO queue gets full the supplying process must stop producing until the customer process has used up some of the inventory.

FLOW

Ideally the products should flow continuously all the way from the raw material to the customer. It is the main objective of the Lean effort.

FLOWCHART

A graphical representation of the process, presenting the inputs, outputs and processing steps. It can represent the process at a detailed or high level of observation, depending on a purpose of analysis. Current state flowchart represents the process as it is and operates at present. Future state flowchart represents targeted state of the process.

HEIJUNKA

Leveling the volume and variety of items produced over a period of time. Used to avoid the process fluctuations and bring stability to the process operation.

JUST-IN-TIME (JIT)

The logistical system that optimizes availability of material and information to only what, when and how much is necessary.

KAIZEN

Japanese term that means continuous improvement in incremental steps.

KANBAN

Japanese term that means “signal”. Kanban is a fundamental tool (mostly kanban card) for Just-in-Time system. Kanban card contains printed information such as part name, number, quantity, address of picking up and delivery. Kanban is used as order to produce or deliver the parts or products in pull system.

LEAD TIME

The time required for one item to move all the way through the process (or value stream) from start to finish. Important parameter for process management and optimization.

MILK RUN

Delivery route that allows to make pickups and drop-offs at multiple locations on a single travel loop, as opposed to making separate deliveries to each location.

MUDA

Japanese for waste. Any activity that consumes resources but creates no value to the customer.

NON-VALUE ADDED

Any activity within the process that customer does not consider as valuable and is not willing to pay for.

OUTPUT

The final result of the process. Can be product, service or information.

OVERPRODUCTION

Producing or making more, sooner, faster than required by the next step in the process or by the customer.

PACEMAKER

A process step that sets the pace and speed for entire process to respond to customer orders. Pacemaker often is at the downstream end of the value stream. Pacemaker is considered to be the main step in the process and is used for synchronization of entire process to match the customer demand.

POKA-YOKE

Mistake-proofing in Japanese. A device used to prevent mistakes occurring in the process or helps to identify defective pars easily.

PROCESS

A series of steps or actions that leads to desired results or the outcome.

PROCESS MAP

A hierarchical method of visual representation of the process and it’s operation.

PROCESSING TIME

The time a product is actually being worked on.

PROJECT SCOPE

Specific project beginning and end points; sets the boundaries of the project. For project to successful it is important to specify what’s in and what’s out of the project scope.

PULL SYSTEM

An alternative to scheduling individual process steps or push, where the downstream step withdraws the items from the upstream step. A limited inventory or supermarket may be established among the process steps and downstream process replenishes only what was withdrawn from the supermarket by the downstream process.

PUSH SYSTEM

A system of managing the process based on forecasting and scheduling.

REWORK

Work done to correct defects.

ROOT CAUSE

The primary reason for the presence of a defect or problem. Elimination of root cause leads to elimination of the problem.

SIGMA

The Greek letter “σ” used to refer to the standard deviation of a population.

SIX SIGMA

The management philosophy and methodology that is based on statistical measurement of variations in the processes and bringing those variations within the limits set by the customer (internal or external). Six Sigma originated from the Total Quality Management (TQM) and first was introduced by Motorola.

The level of 3.4 defects per one million opportunities – a universally accepted as the world class level for quality.

SPAGHETTI DIAGRAM

Visual representation of the product or operator route in the production area. Since, in many cases the product and operator routes are very complicated the term “spaghetti” is used to emphasize it.

STANDARDIZED WORK

The best possible way of performing the work that is set as the standard for everybody. The work standard helps to ensure that the activity is performed the same way, within the same timeframe and with the same results always and by everybody.

SUPERMARKET

Controlled inventory used to supply the next process and to ensure its’ stability.

SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT

Managing the movement of goods and optimizing the workflow among the chain of the companies that are acting as a supplier and a customer to each other. Supply chain management aims to reduce overall chains’ operating costs, lead times, inventory and increase quality, speed of delivery and customer satisfaction.

TAKT TIME

Time established for production of a piece of product in order to meet the customer demand rate. Takt time is calculated by dividing available production time by the quantity the customer requires in the same amount of time.

TEAM LEADER

The person that leads or directs the group of the people to complete the task or the project. In production the team leaders often hold responsibilities of performing the routine tasks by the group of operators and managing improvement activities.

TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT (TQM)

A Management concept developed by American management consultants E.Deming, J.Juran and A.V Feigenbaum. Japanese companies enthusiastically embraced their ideas after the WWII. TQM is a management approach to long-term success through customer satisfaction. In TQM, all members of an organization participate in improving processes, products, services and the culture in which they work

VALUE-ADDED

  • Activities that are meeting the following criteria:
  • The customer is willing to pay for these activities;
  • The job is done right the first time;
  • The action must change the product or service in some manner.

VALUE STREAM

All the steps (both value added and non-value added) that bring the product or the service from the initial processing point to the customer.

VALUE STREAM MANAGER

Person responsible for managing the value stream. In Lean, Value stream manager is responsible for creating the future (improved) process state map and leading its’ implementation.

VALUE STREAM MAPPING (VSM)

A symbolic language that is used to picture the current process situation (Current state map AS IS) and the targeted process situation (Future state map SHOULD BE). Value stream mapping includes the following steps:

  • Preparation of a Current state map AS IS;
  • Preparation of the Future state map SHOULD BE;
  • Development of action plan taking the process from AS IS to SHOULD BE state.

VARIATION

The fluctuation of the process outcome that occurs over time. The less the fluctuation (variation) the more stable is the process. Variation is used to describe the process quality level.

VISUAL MANAGEMENT

Visual signals or visual representation of information that provide immediate understanding of the situation, objectives, problems, etc.

VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER (VOC)

Describes the stated or unstated needs or requirements of the customer. The VOC is captured in variety of ways: customer interviews, surveys, customer specificarions, warranty data, focus groups, etc.

WASTE

Any activity that consumes resources but create no value to the customer.

WIP

Work in process; Any inventory between raw material and finished product in manufacturing process. Any work between the first and the last step in the service process.

WORKFLOW

Steps in the process.