2015 Kaizen Glossary | kaizenworld.com

Kaizen Glossary

Below is a selection of kaizen terms and their explanation-

3 Elements of Demand

The three drivers of customer satisfaction are:

·      Quality

·      Cost

·      Delivery


3 ‘G’ Principles

·      Gemba - shop floor

·      Gembutsu - the actual product

·      Genjitsu - the facts

        The key to successful kaizen is to go to the shop floor, work with the actual product and get the facts (reality)



Muda - waste, Mura - irregular actions, and Muri - strain make up the 3 M's. Existing perception of factory work is that it is dangerous, dirty and stressful, full of waste and unpredictable events


3 Principles of Lean

·      Takt time

·      One piece flow production

·      Downstream pull system (from the customer)



American equivalent of 5S — see below


5M of Production

·      Man

·      Machine

·      Material

·      Method

·      Measure

The understanding of these factors and the establishment of standards are key steps in strengthening the production processes



5S is the principle of waste elimination through workplace organisation. It is derived from the Japanese words:


·      Seiri - sort

·      Seiton - straighten

·      Seiso - sweep

·      Seiketsu - standardise

·      Shitsuke - sustain


7 Tools of QC

Data gathering and analysis tools used for kaizen activities originally by QC Circles. They are flow charts, histograms, Pareto diagrams, scatter diagrams, cause and effect diagrams (fishbone charts), control charts, and check sheets


7 Wastes of Production

There are types of waste that describe all wasteful activity in a production environment. No more, no less. Anything that does not add value is considered waste. Elimination of the 7 wastes leads to improved profits. The 7 wastes are


·      Overproduction

·      Transportation

·      Motion

·      Waiting

·      Processing

·      Inventory

·      Defects


7 Flows

Flow of: People, Raw Material, Sub Parts, Final Products, Equipment, Information and Engineering.  All of these must be evaluated in setting up a flow layout


14 Points

The 14 points could be called founding factors of transformation of manufacturing to flow production systems — the original lean compass by Dr. W. Edwards Deming

1.    Create Constancy of Purpose toward improvement of product and service

2.   Adopt the model across the board

3.   Cease dependence on mass inspection

4.   End the practice of awarding business on price tag

5.   Constantly and forever improve the system of production and service to improve quality and productivity and thus constantly decrease costs

6.   Institute value adding methods of training

7.   Institute value enhancing methods of leadership both in supervision and in management — leaders whose purpose is to help people and machines and fixtures do a better job

8.   Drive out Fear

9.   Break down barriers between departments

10.   Eliminate slogans, exhortations and meaningless "fads of the month"

11.    Eliminate quotas

12.   Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of pride of workmanship

13.    Make education and continuous training and retraining part of company's institution

14.   Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. Kaizen is everyone's job


80/20 rule

Italian mathematician, Pareto, showed that 80% of frequency is caused by 20% of the issues.


Abnormality Management

Also called Ijo-kanri. It is the process of identifying and immediately responding to activities that are outside of the standard method of operation


Activity Sheet

Lists the team, objectives, current situation, problems, and charts for a kaizen topic. A summary sheet (an activity sheet) should be filled out well before the start of the kaizen. It should carefully define the scope and breadth of the kaizen, illustrating why the topic is important and how it fits into the scheme of goals of the company.  It should be communicated at the kick-off among all company leaders who may have processed affected by the kaizen


Affinity Diagram

Tool used in initial stages of brainstorming to get the most thinking out a diverse group of people


Agile Manufacturing

Agile manufacturing strategies — tools, techniques, and initiatives that enable a plant or company to thrive under conditions of unpredictable change. Agile manufacturing not only enables a plant to achieve rapid response to customer needs, but also includes the ability to quickly reconfigure operations — and strategic alliances — to respond rapidly to unforeseen shifts in the marketplace. In some instances, it also incorporates "mass customisation" concepts to satisfy unique customer requirements. And, in the broadest sense, it includes the ability to react quickly to technical or environmental surprises



An andon is a tool of visual management, originating from the Japanese for 'lamp' and is a set of lights placed on machines or processes to indicate their operational status. The lights are commonly colour-coded green for normal operations, yellow for a changeover or planned maintenance, and red for abnormal down time. The red light is often combined with an audible signal such as music or an alarm


Annual Inventory Turns – Stock Turn

Annual inventory turns -- A measure of asset management that is calculated by dividing the annual cost of goods sold (for the most recent full year) by the average on-hand total inventory value at plant cost. Total inventory includes raw materials, work in process and finished goods. Plant cost includes material, labour, and plant overhead


Auto Time

The time when a machine is running on automatic cycle and a person is not needed to operate the machine. It is commonly applied to NC machine cycles, oven cycles, wash cycles , etc.


Automatic Time

Same as Auto Time



Also called Jidoka. autonomation is automation with 'the human touch', capable of detecting and preventing defects, and stopping a machine or process when an abnormality occurs. It is a pillar of the Toyota Production System



Rapid Process Improvement following a standard format



Bottleneck -- Any point in manufacturing operations at which movement is slowed because demand placed on a resource is equal to or more than capacity



A confirmed process to creatively and efficiently generate a high volume of ideas through an approach that is free of criticism and judgment


Cellular Manufacturing

Cellular manufacturing -- A manufacturing approach in which equipment and workstations are arranged to facilitate small-lot, continuous-flow production -- often in a U-shaped cell. In a manufacturing "cell," all operations necessary to produce a component or subassembly are performed in close proximity, thus allowing for quick feedback between operators when quality problems and other issues arise. Workers in a manufacturing cell typically are cross-trained and, hence, able to perform multiple tasks as needed


Check Sheet

A deceptively simple device to accurately record easy-to-understand data, forcing agreement on the definition of each condition — various people observing record the same information. A complete check sheet includes complete source description (time, date, conditions, etc.) and content in columns by categories of what is being counted. The count itself is marked at each instance. A four-sided box with a line through the middle is a more accurate tally than the traditional hash marks — easy to overstrike a hash mark


Chaku-chaku line

A production line where the only human activity is to 'chaku' or 'load' the machines. The machines eject the finished parts automatically using hanedashi


Counter-clockwise flow

A basic principle of lean production cell layout is that the flow of material and the motion of people should be from right to left, or counter clockwise. The origin of this idea came from the design of lathes and machine tools with the chuck facing right, making it easier for right-handed people to load from the right


Cycle Time

Manufacturing cycle time is often confused with production lead-time. Cycle time is the time it takes to do one repetition of any particular task.

Cycle time can be categorised into

1.    manual cycle time

2.   machine cycle time

3.   auto cycle time that is also referred to as touch time or hands-on time


Downstream Pull System

See Pull System


Elements of work

The elements of work are

·      value-added work

·      non value-added work

·      waste

Thoroughly understanding the elements of work is a key first step to becoming lean


External Set-Up

All set-up tasks that can be done while the machine is still running, such as collecting tools, the next piece of material, or fixture. Transferring set-up activities from internal to external in order to reduce machine down time is a central activity of set-up reduction and SMED


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