Lean Terms and Definitions

By: Value Solutions  09-12-2011
Keywords: Waste

4 M’s – These are the four main areas that are most commonly pursued in breaking down a problem.  Machine, Methods, Materials, and Manpower.  (Note that Measurement, Mother Nature, Money and Management are also used).

5S -  A solution for workplace organization. In English, the rough 5 S translations are: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.  The 5S’ words come from the original 5 Japanese words, but what is also interesting is the similarity with Henry Ford’s CANDO program for workplace organization (Clear, Arrange, Neat, Discipline, Ongoing).

5 Why's - The practice of asking ‘Why?’ enough times in order to get to the root cause of ‘why’ the problem/failure occurred.  The number of times is of course less important than reaching the true root cause).   This is one of the simplest forms of Root Cause Analysis which is usually carried out by a team and is suitable if the problem can be solved by logic and first hand knowledge and when additional data analysis is not required.

5Z – A process to promote, evaluate, maintain and improve process control .  UKETORAZU (Don’t accept defects), TSUKURAZU (Don’t  make defects), BARATSUKASAZU (Don’t create variation),  KURIKAESAZU (Don’t repeat mistakes),  NAGASAZU (Don’t supply defects).

The 7 Quality Tools – Data and information based tools used to help define, analyze and determine the root cause of problems.  They include  pareto, correlation (scatter) and cause & effect diagrams (fishbone) as well as histograms, control charts, check-sheets and stratification (pie charts).

7 Wastes - All waste can be classified into one of these categories.  Defects, Overproduction, Transportation, Waiting, Inventory, Motion, Processing.  'DOTWIMP'  is one acronym to remember the 7 Wastes.  There are many others using variations of these words including TIMWOODS and COMMWIP. (The under-utilization of people is often considered an 8th waste.)  Overproduction is generally considered the worst because it hides or magnifies the rest.  This was the main driving force for the Toyota JIT system and is always a good place to start.

Andon - Is a means of stopping a production line, usually a chord or button, where any worker is authorized to stop the production line for quality or safety reasons.

Gemba - The specific cell or work area where the work in question is actually being done .  It is always worthwhile and usually necessary to take the time to visit the actual work area as this is essential to truly see and understand the problem before accurate problem solving and improvement can begin.

F ishbone - Also known as a Cause and Effect  or Ishikawa diagram, is one of the seven quality tools.  It organizes factors or causes that can possibly have an impact on a given output/effect, into major groups (eg. machine, materials, process, people, etc).  It can also be used to break causes down into sub-categories.

Hoshin Kanri - Toyota's planning and execution system.   Also known as Policy Deployment .  Hoshin Kanri is a strategic planning process that  is based on data measurement and analysis and determines breakthrough strategic objectives and aligns management tasks and activities.  It provides a visual map for all levels of the organization of a clear strategic direction so that everyone has the understanding and can contribute to a common goal.  Hoshin Kanri is a process evolved from a North American concept –Management by Objectives (MBO)

Kaizen -  An improvement from the previous condition – usually incremental in scale. (as opposed to kaikaku - a more radical breakthrough or system improvement)  The key elements of Kaizen are a willingness to change, quality, effort, employee involvement and communication)

Kaizen Event - An organized work session following a standardized set of steps focused on a specific work area or problem with the purpose of not only identifying various opportunities and solutions but also getting consensus and implementing as many of them as possible during the event.  Kaizen events are usually scheduled for between 3 and 5 days, depending on the scope of the problem.

Kanban - A card or other signal used to trigger either a needed material transfer or quantity of production .  This is a key tool for reducing waste of overproduction and working towards Just In Time delivery.

Muda - The Japanese word for waste.

Mura - The Japanese word for inconsistency or variation.

Pareto - A method of analyzing information when a large number of factors contribute to a result.  Information is put into descending order based on the size of group of each factor, with the purpose of easily identifying the largest groups, typically as contributors to a problem.  This is often associated with the 80-20 rule or principle.

PDCA - Plan, Do, Check and  Act.  A cycle developed to carry out change in an organized manner as well as follow up and make adjustments as required in order to optimize use of resources and maximize results.  This is another process with North American origins.

Pokayoke -  A device or step that prevents the further processing of an error or defect.  Also known as mistake / error proofing.

Pull System - A system used to control material movement and production by only replacing  what has been sold or used.  This is the opposite of traditional front end scheduling or a push system where a planner will determine what the initial operation will produce based on forecasts or economic order quantities (EOQ’s) and the downstream operations will process whatever they are given.

Quick Change Over - (Also known as Quick Die Change or Single Minute Exchange of Die -  SMED)  A tool aimed at reducing and stabilizing changeover times that can be applied to any changeover process, not just manufacturing dies.    Following a prescribed process will identify and either remove steps from the existing internal changeover process or minimize the time of remaining steps.  Reducing changeover time is a key element to reducing direct cost, inventory and improving flexibility and flow.

Standardized Work - The currently known best method for a particular task, which is documented in appropriate detail.  A common misconception is that ‘standardized’ is also assumed to be permanent.  This is not the case.  Continuous improvement is always encouraged, once the current best method is understood and practiced in order to establish a stable foundation for further improvement.

Takt Time - “Takt" is the German word for the baton that a conductor uses to control the beat to which musicians play.  In production, Takt Time is the ideal time to make product which is aligned with the actual pace of customer needs.   In order to optimize resources (cost of inventory and labour), the product or service cycle time should be set as close to the Takt Time as possible . 

Total Productive Maintenance – A set of activities with the goal of  minimizing equipment breakdown.  Widespread employee involvement, 5S, data analysis and problem solving are core components.

Tree Diagram - A graphic tool which breaks down in increasing detail, components of a process or result.  The result usually resembles a tree with different levels of branches.

Value Stream Mapping - A tool used to identify material and information flow as a product or service  travels through your major processes.  It differs from traditional process maps in that  it looks at the overall process from a higher level and includes a broader range of information. It is especially helpful for identifying  cycle time and other major opportunities.

Value-Added Activity - An activity that changes the characteristics of the product or service, that the customer is willing to pay and is done right the first time.

Visual Management - Visual management is a system where signs and displays (often using colour coding) are used to indicate information (usually real time) about layout, material storage and movement, production, quality and safety status.  A good set of visual controls will help make product flow, standards, schedules and problems instantly evident to workers and management.

Work Cell - A logical and productive group of equipment and people which processes a family of similar products.

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Keywords: Waste

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