2015 Kaizen Glossary 2 | kaizenworld.com

Kaizen Glossary continued


Also known as First-in First-out.

It is a system of keeping track of the order in which information or products need to be processed. The goal of FIFO is to prevent earlier order from being delayed unfairly in favour of new orders


Flow Production

One of the 3 Elements of JIT, flow production is defined as moving the product or information from one value-added step to the next continuously. See also One-Piece Flow



Gemba is Japanese for 'actual place' or 'the place where it happens'. In manufacturing, gemba is the shop floor. The gemba is where value is created



It is Japanese for 'actual thing' or 'actual product'. The tools, materials, machines, parts, and fixtures that both add value and cause problems are your gembutsu



It is Japanese for 'the facts' or 'the truth'. The actual facts or the reality of what is happening on the shop floor and in the business



An auto-eject device that unloads the part from the machine once the cycle is complete. This allows the operators to go from one machine to the next, picking up and loading. It is a key component of chaku-chaku lines



It is Japanese for 'abnormality management'. The goal of standardisation and visual management is ijo-kanri, allowing the supervisor or manager to monitor abnormalities in order to take quick action to correct them. Continuous waste elimination and problem solving through kaizen are only possible when the abnormalities are clearly visible


Internal Set-Up

Internal set-up tasks can only be done when the machine is stopped, such as changing the fixture or changing the tools. After as much of the internal tasks have been externalised, the remaining internal changeover time is reduced through use of quick-change mechanisms


Just-In-Time Production

A  production system to make what the customer needs when the customer needs it in the quantity needed, using minimal resources of man, material, and machinery. The three elements to making Just-in-Time possible are Takt time, Flow production, and the Pull system



Kaikau si the opposite of kaizen.

Change for the worse.

Bad change.


Kaizen is Japanese for 'change for the better' or 'improvement'. A methodology of continuous cost reduction, quality improvement, and delivery time reduction through shop floor involvement and rapid action now practiced in businesses worldwide



Japanese for 'sign'. The kanban system is a tool of the pull system to signal that the customer has 'pulled' or bought the product from the producer. Cards, carts, boxes, electronic signals are examples of kanban. Squares painted on the floor to indicate storage areas are often mistakenly referred to as kanbans



The result of a typical material or information flow system without FIFO, resulting in earlier orders being perpetually delayed by new orders arriving on top of them. Also Last In First Out



Typically, the time from customer order to shipment of the product ordered. The lead-time includes actual cycle time, order-processing time, and time lost by the 7 wastes of production. Lead-time can be measured as

·      production lead-time

·      inventory lead-time, or

·      customer lead-time


Lean Manufacturing

The authors James Womack and Dan Jones coined ‘Lean production’. Lean is a competitive strategy focusing on delivering greater value to the customer by eliminating wasteful steps through continuous improvement activities, based on the Toyota Production System



Smoothing out the production schedule by averaging out both the volume and mix of products. Production levelling allows a consistent workflow, which makes it possible to set standards and identify abnormalities. Level loading is the foundation of the Toyota Production System


Machine Work

Work that is done by a machine. Machine work can overlap with manual work, if the machine is manually operated


Manual Work

Work that is done by people, without the aid of machinery. The human tasks of operating or loading machines are also called manual work



Japanese for 'waste'. Elimination of the muda inherent in production and office processes leads to improved profitability. See also 7 Wastes


Multi-machine Handling

When a machine operator is running more than one machine of a certain type, this is called multi-machine handling


Multi-process Handling

When a machine operator is doing tasks multiple processes, this is called multi-process handling


Non Value-Added Work

Activities that may be necessary but do not add value in a way that the customer is willing to pay for. Examples are packaging, paperwork, and inspection. Non value-added tasks can create value if their function is to identify and eliminate waste


One-Piece Flow

One-piece flow production is when parts are made one at a time and passed on to the next process. Among the benefits of one-piece flow are

1.    the quick detection of defects to prevent a large batch of defects

2.   short lead-times of production

3.   reduced material and inventory costs

4.   design of equipment and workstations to minimal size


Open Room Effect

This common practice in Japanese offices involves taking down the walls of an office and laying all of the desks out into one big 'open room'. This saves space and improves communication between those performing related tasks and creates a sense of teamwork



PDCA stands for 'Plan-Do-Check-Act'. This is a basic principle followed for effective problem solving during kaizen



Pokayoke or poka-yoke is Japanese for 'goof-proof'. Mistake proofing and fool proof devices made by designing parts, processes, or procedures so that mistakes physically or procedurally cannot happen


Pull System

One of the 3 Elements of JIT. In the pull system, the downstream process takes the product they need and 'pulls' it from the producer. This 'customer pull' is a signal to the producer that the product is sold. The pull system links accurate information with the process to minimises waiting and overproduction


Push System

In contrast to the pull system, product is pushed into a process, regardless of whether it is needed. The pushed product goes into inventory, and lacking a pull signal from the customer indicating that it has been bought, more of the same product could be 'overproduced' and put in inventory


QCD (Quality, Cost and delivery)

Quality, Cost, and Delivery are the 3 Elements of Demand. Kaizen activity focuses on improving QCD metrics


Sequential Changeover

Also sequential set-up. When changeover times are within Takt time, changeovers can be performed one after another in a flow line. Sequential changeover assures that the lost time for each process in the line is minimised to one 'Takt' beat. A set-up team or expert follows the operator, so that by the time the operator has made one round of the flow line (at Takt time), it has been completely changed over to the next product



SMED is an acronym for Single Minute Exchange of Dies. A system of set-up reduction and quick changeover pioneered and developed by Shigeo Shingo


Standard Work

Standard Work is the most efficient combination of man, machine, and material. The three elements of standard work are

1.   Takt Time

2.   work sequence

3.   standard work-in-process

Performing standard work allows for a clear and visible 'standard' operation. Deviation from standard work indicates a problem, which is then an opportunity for improvement


Standard Work In Process

Also Standard WIP. The minimum work-in-process required to maintain standard work. Standard WIP parts are 

1.    parts completed and in the machine after auto cycle

2.   parts placed in equipment with cycle times exceeding Takt Time

3.   parts currently being worked on or handled by the operators performing standard work


Stop-the-line authority

When workers are able stop the line to indicate a problem, this is stop-the-line authority. The production line or machine remains stopped until the supervisor, manager, engineer, maintenance personnel, or support staff have identified the problem and taken corrective action


Suggestion System

In a suggestion system workers are encouraged to identify wastes, safety, and environmental concerns and submit improvement ideas formally. Rewards are given for suggestions resulting in cost savings. These rewards are typically shared among the production line or the kaizen team



A supermarket is typically located at the end of a production line (or the entrance of a u-shaped cell). In a supermarket, a fixed amount of raw material, work in process, or finished material is kept. The supermarket is a tool of the pull system that helps signal demand for the product


Takt Time

German word for 'beat' or 'rhythm'. Takt time is the pace at which the customer is buying a particular product or service. Takt time is calculated by taking the available time to work and dividing it by demand for that period of time. Takt time is not how long it takes to perform a task. Takt time cannot be reduced or increased except by changes in sales or available time to work. All cycle times must be within Takt time for customer demand to be met. Takt time is one of the 3 Elements of JIT



Japanese for 'hands-off'. The goal of tebanare is to inexpensively automate manual machines to allow people to do work that is more valuable that only a person can do


Total Productive Maintenance - TPM

TPM aims at maximising equipment effectiveness and uptime throughout the entire life of the equipment. Often the operator is involved in simple, regular tasks such as cleaning, checking, and oiling the machine


Two-Bin System

An example of both visual management and the pull system, whereby two bins or containers are used trigger reorder of parts or materials. The each bin contains enough parts to last during the delivery lead-time. When one bin is empty, it is time to reorder the two-bin quantity


Value-Added Work

Work that the customer is willing to pay for. Any activity that transforms the shape or function of the material or information in a way that the customer wants


Vertical Handling

When machines or operations are integrated into a production line in such a way that the material progresses through the process towards completion, this is called vertical handling. Also, vertical integration


Visual controls

Various tools of visual management such as colour coding, charts, andons, schedule boards, labels and flow lines


Visual Management

When the normal state and abnormal state can be clearly and visually defined, visual management is possible. In visual management, simple visual tools are used to identify the target state, and any deviance is met with corrective action


Water spider

The water spider is a skilled and well-trained person who makes the rounds supplying parts, assisting with changeover, providing tools and materials, and any additional help needed. The water spider has a routine and knows all processes thoroughly enough to step in if needed. At Toyota, performing water spider role is a prerequisite for management positions. Named after the whirligig beetle that swims about agilely in the water


Work Sequence

The defined steps and activities that need to be performed in order for the work to be completed


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 What is kaizen?    -    What is lean?    -    What is 5S?    -    What is kanban?                                   Kaizenworld® 2016