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Acceptance Region
The region of values for which the null hypothesis is accepted

How well a process is centered on its intended target, based upon repeated measurements

Activity Flowcharts
Specific flowcharts explaining what happens in a process; they often capture decision points, rework loops, complexity, etc.

Activity based costing
An accounting system that assigns costs to a product based on the amount of resources used to design, order or make it.

Affinity Diagram
A tool that organizes language data into related groups

Alpha Risk
The probability of accepting the alternate hypothesis when, in reality, the null hypothesis is true. (Producers risk – concluding there is a difference when in fact there isn’t one)

Alternate Hypothesis, Ha
A tentative explanation which indicates that an event does not follow a chance distribution; a contrast to the null hypothesis

Andon board
A production area visual control device, such as a lighted overhead display. It communicates the status of the production system and alerts team mem­bers to emerging problems (from andon, a Japanese word meaning light).

ANOVA (Analysis of Variance)
Compares the variance of two or more data samples

Assignable Cause
A source of variation which is non-random; change in the source or vital few will produce a significant change in the dependent variable or final Y. This variation is often due to outside influences and is referred to also as “Black Noise” variation

A measurement that records the presence or absence of a characteristic. Often attribute data is recorded by percentage, parts per million, or number.

Attribute Data
Data is described by levels, integer values, or categories; subdivision is not meaningful.

The sum of all data in a sample population divided by the number of data points in the sample (See Mean)

A form of automation in which machinery automatically inspects each item after producing it, ceases produc­tion and notifies humans if a defect is detect­ed. Toyota expanded the meaning of jidohka to include the responsibility of all workers to function similarly-to check every item pro­duced and, if a defect is detected, make no more until the cause of the defect has been identified and corrected (see "jidohka")

Background Variables
Variables which are deemed not significant and have no experimental interest; they are not held or are not able to be held constant
Bar Chart
Graph to compare some measure of data categories. Each bar can represent a count of a category, a function of a category (such as the mean, sum, or standard deviation), or summary values from a table.
Baka yoke
A manufacturing technique of preventing mistakes by designing the manufacturing process, equipment and tools so an operation literally cannot be per­formed incorrectly. In addition to prevent­ing incorrect operation, the technique usually provides a warning signal of some sort for incorrect performance. The term poka yoke is sometimes referred to as a sys­tem in which only a warning is provided (see "poka yoke")
Balanced plant
A plant in which the capacity of all resources is balanced exactly with market demand.
Balancing the line
A plant in which the capacity of all resources is balanced exactly with market demand.
Balanced plant
The process of evenly distributing both the quantity and variety of work across available worktime, avoiding overburden and underuse of resources. This eliminates bottlenecks and downtime, which translates into shorter flow time.
Batch and queue
Producing more than one piece and then moving the pieces to the next operation before the pieces are needed.

see Black Belt

Beta Risk
The probability of accepting the null hypothesis when, in reality, the alternate hypothesis is true. (consumer’s risk – saying there is no difference when in fact there is)

Bias in a sample is the presence or influence of any factor that causes the population or process being sampled to appear different from what it actually represents.

Binomial Distribution
Binomial distribution can be used to model number of certain events when each time occurrence of the event has the same probability, e.g., tossing a coin ten times and counting the number of heads.

Black Belt (BB)
Full time Process Improvement Team Leader

Blocking Variable
A homogenous set of conditions within which different conditions of the primary variable are compared

Any resource whose capacity is equal to or less than the demand placed on it,also known as a Time Trap (see Constraints).

Box Plot
A box plot, also known as a box and whisker diagram, is a basic graphing tool that displays centering, spread, and distribution of a continuous data set. Graph showing the portion of the distribution between 1st and 3rd percentiles in a box, including the median of the distribution as well as the extreme values. Often used to compare populations.

Breakthrough event
A dramatic change in process during which a team gets past an old barrier or milestone to achieve a significant increase in efficiency, quality or some other measure.
Business Value Added (BVA)
A step or change made to the product or service which is necessary for future or subsequent steps but is not noticed by the final customer. It can be a government regulation or legislation or a step which is considered value added enabling from the Voice of the Business.


The set of operations which establish, under specified conditions, the relationship between values indicated by a measuring instrument or measuring system, and the corresponding standard or known values derived from the standard.
A process is said to be capable when nearly all individual parts produced by the process are contained within the specification limits. Capability indices (such as Cp, or Cpk) may be computed to give a rating of how capable a process is. For the most common index, Cpk, a score of 1.33 and above is considered highly capable.

Capability Analysis
Compares the performance of the actual data sample to a set of specifications set by customers and/or the business. It depicts how the process is actually performing relative to the specification limits.

Capacity constraint resources
A series of non bottlenecks (based on the sequence in which jobs are performed) that can act as a constraint.
An arrangement, of people, machines, materials and equipment in which the processing steps are placed right next to each other in sequential order and through which parts are processed in a continuous flow. The most common cell layout is a U shape.
Cellular manufacturing
Arranging machines in the correct process sequence, with operators remaining within the cell and materials presented to them from outside.
Change agent
An individual from within or outside an organization who facilitates change within the organization; may or may not be the initiator of the change effort.
A process in which a production device is assigned to perform a different operation or a machine is set up to make a different part-for example, a new plastic resin and new mold in an injection molding machine.
Changeover time
The time required to modify a system or workstation, usually including both teardown time for the existing condition and setup time for the new condition.  

The principle that every change implies an operation of a cause Cause - That which produces an effect or brings about change

Cause and Effect Diagram
Graphically displays potential causes of a problem; causes on the diagram must be verified with data to confirm that the causes are real.

Cause and Effect Matrix
Assists in defining the important issues that the FMEA should address, by helping prioritize important customer requirements and prioritize inputs that could potentially impact these requirements.

C Charts
Charts which display the number of defects per sample

critical customer requirement

continuous improvement

A process characteristic describing how well the mean of the sample corresponds to the target value

Center Line
The line on a statistical process control chart which represents the process’ central intent based on upper and lower specifications or control limits

Central Limit Theorem
A statistical theorem stating that the average of many values tends to have a normal distribution

A member of senior management who is responsible for the business aspects of a project

Change Over
The time it takes to change one process to a new process, specifically from the last good item or thing to be processed in the process to the next good item or thing to be produced in the new process set up.

A definable or measurable feature of a process, product, or variable

An agreement between management and the project team about what is expected of the team. Its elements include the purpose, importance and impact, scope, measures, deliverables, and resources of the project.

A basic form that helps standardize data collection by providing specific spaces where people should record data

Used to test if the probabilities of items or subjects being classified for one variable depend upon the classification of the other variable

Commitment Planning
Done to identify and secure the support and remove the resistance of people and systems vital to the accomplishment of the work

Commitment Scale
A table that helps you understand how much work needs to be done to achieve desired levels of commitment

Common Cause Variation
The inherent variation of the process, free of external influences, usually measured over short time periods; also known as “White Noise”

Confidence Level
The probability that a random variable lies within a defined interval. This interval depicts a range of possible values whereby the mean is not lower than the lowest value in this range and not higher than the highest value.

Consumer Risk
Also known as Beta risk, it is when a good or service is said to be “good” by the process controls or null hypothesis and in reality the good or service is really “bad”, meaning that we have forwarded a defect to the customer

A constrain is any process which has a bottleneck or time trap which limits the flow of goods or materials and prevent the deliver of goods or services within the specified delivery time.

Continuous Data
Data that can be obtained by use of a measuring system.

Continuous Flow
Each item in the process moves from one step to the next in an indexed manner, only an item which is consumed is replaced thereby minimizing wip to the number of steps in the process. Also known as Single Piece Flow.

Continuous Improvement (CI)
A methodology which promotes tools and techniques which address and resolve business issues in a sustained and logical methodology, Define: Measure: Analyse: Improve: Control (See DMAIC)

Common Cause
Factors that make measurements vary at random.
A process is in statistical control when all variation is due to common causes (no special causes).
Control Chart
A statistical tool for monitoring the variability of a measurement in a process. It is used to detect when a process is exhibiting natural (random) patterns and when it is not. Plotting measurements on a control chart as they are collected helps flag when something has changed significantly enough to warrant an investigation and corrective action. Used to track and display performance over time (just like time plots), but also displays statistical control limits which establish process capability
Control Limits
A line that is plotted on a control chart that is used as a basis for judging the significance of variation. Normally, control limits are set at the target value + & - 3 sigma process variation. Define the bounds of common cause variation in the process; calculated from the data and describe what the process is capable of achieving.
Controlled Document
A document that is managed according to standard Document Control Processes. When a document is controlled, no uncontrolled documentation should be used for production, design, or measurement.
Control Parameters
The parameters used to provide feedback and trending information for control or product or processes (usually determined by the supplier).
Control Parameter Summary (CPS)
Set points and control procedures for manufacturing processes, necessary to insure that parts and assemblies will meet the IRS.
Control Plan
A table that outlines how product parameters are controlled on the manufacturing line or process. Often the control plan is specific to a process area (such as an assembly line). A control plan will contain IRS or other product parameters, Critical Control Parameters, Gauge Capability, Control Methods, availability of Troubleshooting Guides, and Process Capability. The control plan is used during the implementation of control to quickly identify which control elements are lacking or not capable. Following implementation of control, the control plan is used during process improvement as well as training new employees.

A measure that expresses the extent to which two variables are related, does not suggest causation

Any process which fails to produce a part right the first time and requires re-work, inspection, or another action that does not directly contribute value

Cost Of Poor Quality (COPQ)
All costs associated to any defect or substandard part or service including and not limited to, correction (re-work), transportation and labor. (See Hidden Factory).

cost of doing nothing
cost of poor quality COW—cost of waste
Anything that limits a system from achieving higher performance or throughput; also, the bottleneck that most severely limits the organization's ability to achieve higher performance relative to its purpose/goal.
Continuous flow
A concept whereby items are processed and moved directly from one processing step to the next, one piece at a time. Also referred to as one-piece flow and single-piece flow.


Cpk, Process Capability Index
An index which considers both the process spread and the proximity of the process spread to specification limits. It is calculated after verifying that the process is in a state of statistical control.
CPS Control Parameter Specifications
A document that contains the specific process settings for a piece of equipment or a process area.

Critical to Quality (CTQ)
A customer need from the VOC process, translated into a measurable way to self-assess whether the process meets the customer’s needs/wants

Critical Parameters
The parameters that have the greatest impact on customer satisfaction, yield, productivity, or other business objective. Critical Parameters are identified through the use of a prioritization process such as FMEA, Paretos, or other analysis methods.

critical to customer

critical to quality

Any person(s) who uses or benefits from the output of a process Cycle Time - The total amount of time it takes for defined steps in a process to be completed

A sequence of operations repeated regularly or the time necessary for one sequence of operations to occur.
Cycle time
The time required to complete one cycle of an operation. If cycle time for every operation in a complete process can be reduced to equal takt time, products can be made in single-piece flow (see "takt time")



Data - Factual information used as a basis for reasoning, discussing, or calculating; it is summarized as quantitative information.
Defect - The lack of something necessary or desirable for completion or perfection. An imperfection that causes inadequacy or failure; a shortcoming, any event that does not meet the process requirement to be considered Right the First Time (See RFT) and a defect must be measurable.
Defect Opportunity - A measurable chance for a defect to occur (counts the number of times a requirement can be missed, NOT the ways in which it can be). A defect opportunity occurs each time the product, service, or information is handled. It is the point at which a customer quality requirement is either met or missed.
Defective - A unit with one or more defects
Degrees of Freedom - The number of independent measurements available for estimating the population parameters
Dependent Variable - The output of a process whereby Y = f(x) where x = an input variable
Deployment Flowcharts - Show the detailed steps in a process and the people or groups involved in each step
Descriptive Statistics - Mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and variation calculated from a sample population Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) – The practice of designing products or processes to satisfy external customer and internal business requirements at a Six Sigma level of performance. It uses Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify for its phases.
Design of Experiment (DOE) - A structured and planned test on a process where the inputs are controlled or directly manipulated according to a test plan. The results are analyzed using a specific methodology.
DOT Plot – Dot plot is a frequency plot which shows the individual data point of a set of data. It is used to assess and compare distributions by plotting the values along a number line. Dotplots are especially useful for comparing distributions. The x-axis for a dotplot is divided into many small intervals, or bins. Data values falling within each bin are represented by dots.
Discrete Data - Obtained by counting events that meet certain criteria: 
Attribute data – data that arise from counting many items and deciding whether each one has an occurrence or non-occurrence of some characteristic under study (e.g., yes/no)·
Count data – applicable when you can count an occurrence but can’t count a non-occurrence
DMAIC - The steps in a structured Continuous Improvement methodology (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control)
DPMO - (Defects per Million Opportunities) – DPO * 1,000,000
DPO - (Defects per Opportunities) – The number of defects per opportunity where opportunity is anything you measure, test, or inspect (defects / (units * opportunities per unit))
DPU - (Defects per Unit) – The number of defects per unit produced (defects / units)
Dependent events
Events that occur only after a previous event.
A quantifiable change from one to the next.
design for six sigma DMAIC—define, measure, analyze, improve, control
Lost production time during which a piece of equipment is not operating correctly due to breakdown, maintenance, power failures or similar events.

Documentation Change Management
The methods and standards for filing, protecting, revising, approving, issuing, and controlling documentation.

Document Curator
The owner of a document who is responsible for the accuracy of its technical contents.

Document Master List
A list of all controlled documents in an organization. It is used to determine the latest revision for each controlled document.

defects per million

defects per million opportunities

defects per unit


Effect - That which was produced by a cause
Error Proofing - Techniques help to mitigate the impact of human error and equipment failures and there are 3 types: Good - Stops a product from traveling down stream after the detection of a defect. It is a detection device rather than a prevention device. Better - Prevents a defect from happening before it happens at the point the defect could happen. It is both a prevention and detection device, but without its use a defect could occur. Best - Ensures that the design and process can not introduce a defect. It is impossible to make a defect, because the design prevents the defect from ever happening.
Exit Rate - The rate at which the ‘thing’ comes off of the process, such as the delivery completion of a good or service. Exit rate does not necessarily meet the demand rate (The rate at which the customer requires the good or service). Mathematically: Available time / the number of things to be produced = the rate of departure or Number of things / available time = the number of things per time unit (See takt time)
Eight wastes
Taiichi Ohno originally enumerated seven wastes (muda) and later added underutilized people as the eighth waste commonly found in physical production. The eight are:
   1. Overproduction ahead of demand.
   2. Waiting for the next process, worker, material or equipment.
   3. Unnecessary transport of materials (for example, between functional areas of facilities, or to or from a stockroom or warehouse).
   4. Overprocessing of parts due to poor tool and product design.
   5. Inventories more than the absolute minimum.
   6. Unnecessary movement by employees during the course of their work (such as to look for parts, tools, prints or help).
   7. Production of defective parts.
   8. Not fully utilizing employees' brainpower, skills, experience and talents.
Equipment availability
Machine operational availability is the percentage of time during which a process (or equipment) is available to run. This can sometimes be called uptime. To calculate operational availability, divide the machine's operating time during the process by the net available time.
Error detection
A hybrid form of error proofing. It means a bad part can be made but will be caught immediately; and corrective action will be taken to prevent another bad part from being produced A device is used to detect when a bad part is made and then stop the process. This is used when error proofing is too expensive or not easily implemented.
enterprise resource planning
Error proofing
A process used to prevent errors from occurring or to immediately point out a defect as it occurs. If defects are not passed down an assembly line, throughput and quality improve (see "polaz yoke").
External setup
Die setup procedures that can be performed safely while the machine is in motion. Also known as outer exchange of die (see "internal setup").



expected value analysis; also economic value added


F Test - A test to compare variances of two or more samples and to compare the equality of two or more means
Factors - Independent variables
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) - A structured approach that identifies and documents possible failure modes, effects of failures, causes, and associated corrective actions. FMEA’s use a weighted approach in order to quantify Occurrence, Detection, and Severity elements.
Focused Problem Statement - Answers the questions: Who is involved? What is the nature of the problem? When does the problem occur? Where does the problem occur? And which department/machine/customer is involved?
Frequency Distribution - The pattern or shape formed by the group of measurements in a distribution
Frequency Plot (Histogram or Dot Plot) - Shows the shape or distribution of the data by showing how often different values occur.
Feeder lines
A series of special assembly lines that allow assemblers to perform preassembly tasks off the main production line. Performing certain processes off the main production line means fewer parts in the main assembly area, the availability of service ready components and assemblies in the main production area, improved quality and less lead time to build a product.
First in, first out (FIFO)
Material produced by one process is used in the same order by the next process. A FIFO queue is filled by the supplying process and emptied by the customer process; when a FIFO lane gets full, production is stopped until the next (internal) customer has used some of that inventory. 
First pass yield (FPY)
Also referred to as the quality rate, the percentage of units that complete a process and meet quality guidelines without being scrapped, rerun, retested, returned or diverted into an offline repair area. FPY is calculated by dividing the units entering the process minus the defective units by the total number of units entering the process.
Five-phase lean approach
A systematic method for implementing lean manufacturing that helps improve the production process and sustains gains made in the production cycle in an area or plant. The five phases are:
  1. Stability. Provides an environment with controlled process variables, decreased waste and increased business impact.
  2. Continuous flow. Is characterized by reduced work in process inventory, time loss and defects, increased process flexibility and repeatable processes between workstations.
  3. Synchronous production. Is characterized by disciplined process repeatability and synchronization between operations and customer requirements.
  4. Pull system. Creates an environment in which material replenishment links operations with customer demand.
  5. Level production. Reduces response time or changes in demand and upstream schedule variability.
First in first out (Inventory management)
Five S's
Five Japanese terms beginning with S (with English translations also beginning with S) used to create a workplace suited for visual control and lean production. • Seiri (sort, structure or sift) means to separate needed tools, parts and instructions from unneeded materials and remove the latter. • Seiton (set in order or systematize) means to neatly arrange and identify parts and tools for ease of use. • Seiso (sanitize or shine) means to conduct a cleanup campaign. • Seiketsu (standardize) means to con- duct seiri, seiton and seiso at frequent, indeed daily, intervals to maintain a workplace in perfect condition. • Shitsuke (sustain or self-discipline) means to form the habit of always following the first four S's. Collectively, they define an orderly, well-inspected, clean and efficient working environment.
The progressive achievement of tasks along the value stream so a product proceeds from design to launch, order to delivery and raw to finished materials in the hands of the customer with no stoppages, scrap or backflows.
Flow kaizen
Radical improvement, usually applied only once within a value stream. 

FMEA, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis
An analytical technique which identifies the potential failure modes of a design or process, and analyzes potential causes and effects in order to prioritize improvement opportunities. FMEA is often used to identify Significant or Critical Parameters.

first pass yield
failure reporting, analysis, and corrective action system
fault tree analysis
Functional layout
The practice of grouping machines (such as grinding machines) or activities (such as order entry) by type of operation performed.



Gantt Chart
A diagram that shows the timing, duration, and interrelationship of steps in a process

Gage R & R (Gage Reproducibility and Repeatability)
A method of determining the accuracy of the measurement system specifically determining the variability among and between the gage, part and person.

Green Belt (GB)
Process Improvement Team Leader (part time role).

Gauge Accuracy
The difference between the observed average of measurements and the true average of the same parts when using precision instruments.

Gauge Capability Study
The evaluation of measurement instruments to determine their capability to perform the measurements of critical parameters as required for statistical process control.

Gauge R&R
Gauge Reproducibility and Repeatability. This is normally stated at the gauge variability as a percentage of the tolerance (USL-LSL).

Gauge Repeatability
The variation in measurements obtained with one gauge when used several times by one operator while measuring the same characteristics on the same parts.

Gauge Reproducibility
The variation in the averages of the measurements made by different operators using the same gauge while measuring the same characteristics of the same part.

Gauge Stability
The consistency of performance of a gauge over time, monitored using statistical process control.

green belt, a part-time improvement specialist


Ha - Alternative hypothesis (hypothesis of difference) being proven in a statistical hypothesis test

A method of leveling production, usually at the final assembly line, that makes just-in-time production possible. It involves averaging both the volume and sequence of different model types on a mixed model production line. Using this method avoids excessive batching of different types of product and volume fluctuations in the same product (see "production smoothing").

Hidden Factory
The areas in a productive environment which hide aspects of waste.

Frequency diagram composed of rectangular bars whose relative height indicates the number of counts (or relative frequency) at a particular level

Null hypothesis (Hypothesis sameness) The starting assumption in a statistical hypothesis test

Homogeneity of Variance
The variance of groups being contrasted are equal (as defined by statistical test of significant difference)

Hoshin kanri
The selection of goals, projects to achieve the goals, designation of people and resources for project completion and establishment of project metrics (see "policy deployment").

Hoshin planning
Breakthrough planning; a Japanese strategic planning process in which a company develops up to four vision statements that indicate where the company should be in the next five years. Company goals and work plans are developed based on the vision statements. Periodic audits are then conducted to monitor progress (see "value stream").

high throughput testing

Hypothesis Testing
Determines if the change could be due to chance alone, or if there is strong evidence that the change is real and repeatable.



Incident Report (IR)
Sometimes referred to as a Lot Incident Report (LIR). A report or log that is used to report pens, die, or lots that are out of control, out of spec, or were subject to non standard processing.

Independent Variables
Variables (x’s) that influences the response of the dependent variable (Y)

Inferential Statistics
Statistical analysis which uses descriptive statistics in order to quantify the risk of statements concerning populations; it is used in hypothesis tests and confidence intervals

The tendency of two or more variables to produce an effect in combination which neither variable would produce if acting alone

An element of the seven types of waste where there can be too much or too little inventory.

input, process, output

Inspection Criteria
A criteria for accepting or rejecting an undesirable product characteristic. Inspection criteria should be managed as a controlled document for all areas producing the product.

IRS Parameters
Internal Reference Specification. Specifies part parameters that must be measured and controlled to build a product. Critical IRS Parameters are those specifications that have a greater potential to cause customer dissatisfaction or yield loss.

Information flow
The task of disseminating information for taking a specific product from order entry through detailed scheduling to delivery (see "value stream").

Informative inspection
A form of inspection used to determine nonconforming product (see "judgment inspection").

Internal setup
Die setup procedures that must be performed while a machine is stopped; also known as inner exchange of die (see "external setup").

The money invested in purchasing things an organization intends to sell.


Jidohka: Stopping a line automatically when a defective part is detected. Any necessary improvements can then be made by directing attention to the stopped equipment and the worker who stopped the operation. The jidohka system puts faith in the worker as a thinker and allows all workers the right to stop the line on which they are working (see "autonomation").

Judgment inspection: A form of inspection used to determine nonconforming product (see "informative inspection").

Supplying items for the productive process only when they are needed, just in tome to finish the task or activity. 2. An optimal material requirement planning system for a manufacturing process in which there is little or no manufacturing material inventory on hand at the manufacturing site and little or no incoming inspection. The JIT philosophy's ultimate objective is to eliminate waste, which may appear in many forms: rejected parts, excessive inventory levels, interoperational cues, and excessive material handling, setup and changeover times. }IT is an approach to manufacturing that stresses the benefits inherent in a system whereby material is brought to the work site only when it is needed. To achieve this goal, each operation must be synchronized with those subsequent to it. The concept refers to the manufacturing and conveyance of only what is needed, when it is needed and in the amount needed. In addition, a minimum amount of inventory is kept on hand (in supermarkets, for example). This enhances efficiency and enables quick responses to change (see "supermarket").



Japanese term for small incremental changes for the better in any productive environment. 2. A Japanese term meaning gradual unending improvement by doing little things better and setting and achieving increasingly higher standards. Masaaki Imai made the term well-known in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. noun. (pr. Ky’ zen) (ja.) 1. Good Change 2. Change for the better 3. Relentless quest for a better way. 4. The daily pursuit of perfection.

A communication tool in the just-in-time production and inventory control system that authorizes production or movement. Kanban, from a Japanese word for visible card or record, was developed by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota. It is a small card or signboard (or any other authorizing device) attached to boxes of specific parts in the production line signifying the delivery of a given quantity. Originally, a card signaled the need to deliver or produce more parts, but today a variety of replenishment signals is used. Currently, kanban is a unique information carrying device that ensures every operation produces only the amount of product that will actually be used in the next step of the production process. It serves as instruction for production and conveyance (withdrawal). The quantity authorized per individual kanban is minimal, ideally one. The number of circulating or available kanban for an item is determined by the demand rate for the item and the time required to produce or acquire more. This number generally is established and remains unchanged unless demand or other circumstances are altered dramatically. In this way, inventory is kept under control while production is forced to keep pace with shipment volume. Kanban regulates pull in the Toyota production system. A routine exception to this rule is that managers and workers are continually exhorted to improve their processes and thereby reduce the number of kanban required. (Note: Sometimes spelled or referred to as "kamban.") 2. A signaling system authorizing the production or delivery of additional inputs. Kanban’s can be electronic or paper.

Kappa Statistic
A metric which summarizes the performance of attribute (go/no go) gauges. The kappa statistic would also be used for human inspection/detection where a person is the "gauge" to pass or fail a part characteristic. It is the equivalent of the gauge R&R percentage used for quantitative measurement gauges.

knowledge based management

A process in which assemblers are supplied with kits-a box of parts, fittings and tools-for each task they perform. This eliminates time consuming trips from one parts bin, tool crib or supply center to another to get the necessary material.



Lower control limit

Lead time
The total time a customer must wait to receive a product after placing an order. 2.
The amount of time it takes from some starting point such as order to the things availability where it is needed or the time it takes from some starting point of a process to some end point.

Producing the maximum sellable products or services at the lowest operational cost while optimizing inventory levels.

Lean enterprise
A manufacturing company organized to eliminate all unproductive effort and all unnecessary investment, both on the shop floor and in office functions.

Lean manufacturing/production
An initiative focused on eliminating all waste in manufacturing processes. Principles of lean manufacturing include zero waiting time, zero inventory, scheduling (internal customer pull instead of push system), batch to flow (cut batch sizes), line balancing and cutting actual process times. The production systems are characterized by optimum automation, just-in-time supplier delivery disciplines, quick changeover times, high levels of quality and continuous improvement.

Lean migration
The journey from traditional manufacturing methods to one in which all forms of waste are systematically eliminated.

Level loading
A technique for balancing production throughput over time.

Leverage variable
An (x) input variable which has a strong influence on the (Y) response or output variable (The vital few)

Line balancing
A process in which work elements are evenly distributed and staffing is balanced to meet takt time (see "takt time").

Little’s Law
A law which states that Process Cycle Time (PCT) is equal to work in process (WIP) divided by exit rate. It is used to accurately predict the exit of a good or service from the productive process.

A method of conducting single-piece flow in which the operator proceeds from machine to machine, taking the part from one machine and loading it into the next. The lines allow different parts of a production process to be completed by one operator, eliminating the need to move around large batches of work in progress inventory.

Lower Control Limits (LCL)
The lower boundary of the control area representing a calculation establishing a process range, usually three standard deviations from the center line

Lower Specification Limit (LSL)
The lower boundary of the control area, which the good was designed in order to meet a tolerance, usually defined by the customer

lean six sigma


Main Effects
The input variable or variables that directly impact the output

Manufacturing resource planning (MRP II)
Material resource planning, plus capacity planning and a finance interface to translate operational planning into financial terms and into a simulation tool to assess alternative production plans.

Mapping symbols or icons
An easy and effective way to communicate the flow of materials and information through a plant. The symbol type doesn't matter, as long as the use is consistent from map to map. Mapping the flow helps identify constraints and potential improvement opportunities.

Margins Experiments
Statistically designed experiments used to find the natural process or product operating limits beyond which performance degrades or product failures increase. Response Surface Methods (RSM) are typically used to find the operating margins. The resulting n-dimensional operating space is often called the process window.

Master Black Belt (MBB)
Teachers and reviewers responsible for scoping Six Sigma projects and mentoring Black Belts

Material handling
Methods, equipment and systems for conveying materials to various machines and processing areas and for transferring finished parts to assembly, packaging and shipping areas.

Material requirements planning (MRP)
A computerized system typically used to determine the quantity and timing requirements for production and delivery of items to both customers and suppliers. Using MRP to schedule production at various processes will result in push production because any predetermined schedule is an estimate only of what the next process will actually need.

see master black belt

multidisciplinary design optimization

Measurement Standard
A material measure, measuring instrument, reference material or system intended to define, realize, conserve or reproduce a unit or one or more known values of a quantity to serve as a reference.

Measuring and Test Equipment
All of the measuring instruments, measurement standards, reference materials, and auxiliary apparatus that are necessary to perform a measurement. This term includes measuring equipment used in the course of testing and inspection, as well as that used in calibration.

The average of the data of interest

Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)
A means for checking the measurement system (gauge plus operator) to gain a better understanding of the sources of variation.

A number that divides a set of data exactly in half

The value that occurs most frequently in the data

Any design, scheduling or production technology with scale requirements requiring designs, orders and products be brought to the machine to wait in line for processing. The opposite of a right sized machine (see "right size").

One of the elements of waste which addresses the ergonomic interaction between the person and the productive environment.

Moving Range
The absolute value difference between a data point and the prior data point in the time order of the data series; is used to help determine the normal variation within the data.

measurement system analysis

mean time between failure 

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

A graphical display of the behavior of a quality characteristic in the running process



Nagara system
Nagara is smooth production flow, ideally one piece at a time, characterized by synchronization (balancing) of production processes and maximum use of available time; includes overlapping of operations where practical. A nagara production system is one in which seemingly unrelated tasks can be produced simultaneously by the same operator.

National (Measurement) Standard
A standard recognized by an official national decision to serve, in a country, as the basis for fixing the value of all other standards of the quantity concerned.

Nonvalue added
Activities or actions taken that add no real value to a product or service, making such activities or actions a form of waste (see "value added").


operational excellence

One-piece flow
The opposite of batch production. Instead of building many products and then holding them in line for the next step in the process, products go through each step in the process one at a time, without interruption. It improves quality and lowers costs.

One-touch exchange of dies
The reduction of die setup to a single step (see "single minute exchange of dies," "internal setup" and "external setup").

Operating expenses
The money required for a system to convert inventory into throughput.

Operating Margins
The limits within which the process or product must be maintained to avoid degradation of performance or decreases in yield. Operating margins are also referred to as process windows.

Out of Control Condition (OOC)
The condition describing a process containing special causes of variation. OOC are often identified by data on a control chart exceeding the control limits; or the presence of non-random patterns of data.

Work or steps taken to transform raw materials to finished product. Overall equipment effectiveness (DEE): The product of a machine's operational availability, performance efficiency and first-pass yield.


The production preparation process is a tool used for designing lean manufacturing environments. It is a highly disciplined, standardized model that results in the development of an improved production process in which low waste levels are achieved at low capital cost.

Painted floor
Provides visual clues to determine stock levels. Similar to kanban.

Parallel operation
A technique to create an economy of scale by having two operators work together to perform tasks on either side of a machine. Using this technique reduces the time it takes a single operator to move from one side to the other, making the overall! process more efficient. An example of parallel operation is having two people work on a changeover, supplementing each other's work effort.

A measurement that is used to control a process or a product characteristic.

Pareto A method of graphing data to identify the level of contribution of many parameters on a certain characteristic.

The combination of people, equipment, materials, methods and environment that produce output. A process can involve any aspect of the business.

Process Capability
A measure of a process's ability to consistently produce products that meet their specification requirements.

PDCA (plan-do-check-act) at a macro level (for example, as in hoshin kanri)
  • Plan. Senior management should use the visioning process in the context of its business plan. The business plan is translated into action plans that are meaningful to all levels of the organization.
  • Do. Implementation of action plans; answers what, how and who for the total number of tiers in an organization, taking into account the fewer the number of tiers, the better. This is the time to bring members of management together and provide them with a basic understanding of the action plans.
  • Check. On a periodic basis, review the measurements of the outputs, and note what you've learned that can help in the future.
  • Act. Make the necessary adjustments to plans and priorities to ensure the success of the strategy breakthroughs.

Physical transformation task
Taking a specific product from raw materials to a finished product delivered to the customer (see "value stream" and "information flow").

The pace and flow of a product.

Point of use
A technique that ensures people have exactly what they need to do their jobs-the right work instructions, parts, tools and equipment-where and when they need them.

Poka yoke
Japanese term that means mistake proofing. A poka yoke device is one that prevents incorrect parts from being made or assembled or easily identifies a flaw or error.

Policy deployment
The selection of goals and projects to achieve the goals, designation of people and resources for project completion and establishment of project metrics (see "hoshin kanri").

Process kaizen
Improvements made at an individual process or in a specific area. Sometimes called point kaizen.

Production (analysis) board
A board at the job site on which hourly production targets are recorded, along with the actual production achieved. Details concerning problems and abnormal conditions are also recorded. Management checks the board hourly, takes steps to prevent recurrence of abnormalities and confirms the positive effects of the job site improvements that have been made. This is a good example of visual management.

Production smoothing
Keeping total manufacturing volume as constant as possible (see "heijunka").

A measurement of output for a given amount of input. Increases in productivity are considered critical to raising living standards.

Pull system
An alternative to scheduling individual processes, in which the customer process withdraws the items it needs from a supermarket, and the supplying process produces to replenish what was withdrawn. Used to avoid push (see "supermarket" and "kanban").



quality management system

Queue time
The time a product spends in a line awaiting the next design, order processing or fabrication step.

Quick changeover
The ability to change tooling and fixtures rapidly (usually within minutes), so multiple products can be run on the same machine.


Resource activation
Using a resource regardless of whether throughput is increased (see "resource utilization")

Resource utilization
Using a resource in a way that increases throughput (see "resource activation").

Right size
Matching tooling and equipment to the job and space requirements of lean production. Right sizing is a process that challenges the complexity of equipment by examining how equipment fits into an overall vision for workflow through the factory. When possible, right sizing favors smaller, dedicated machines rather than large, multipurpose batch processing machines.

return on investment

rule of thumb

risk priority number

rolled throughput yield

A person on the production floor who paces the entire value stream through the pickup and delivery of materials through kanban usage (see "kanban").


English translation of seiso, one of the Japanese five S's used for workplace organization. Sanitizing (also referred to as shining or sweeping) is the act of cleaning the work area. Dirt is often the root cause of premature equipment wear, safety problems and defects.

The name of a Japanese management practice taken from the Japanese words sei, which means manufacturing, and ban, which means number. A seiban number is assigned to all parts, materials and purchase orders associated with a particular customer job, project or anything else. This enables a manufacturer to track everything related to a particular product, project or customer and facilitates setting aside inventory for specific projects or priorities. That makes it an effective practice for project and build to order manufacturing.

Seven wastes
Taiichi Ohno's original enumeration of the wastes commonly found in physical production (see" eight wastes").

Shadow board
A visual management tool painted to indicate what tool belongs where and what tools are missing.

English translation of Japanese seiri, one of the 5S's used for workplace organization. Sifting involves screening through unnecessary materials and simplifying the work environment. Sifting is separating the essential from the nonessential.

A 3-D technique used to balance a line. It involves using cardboard, wood and plastic foam to create full-sized equipment mock-ups that can be easily moved around to obtain an optimum layout.

Single-minute exchange of dies
A series of techniques pioneered by Shigeo 5hingo for changeovers of production machinery in less than 10 minutes. Obviously, the long-term objective is always zero setup, in which changeovers are instantaneous and do not interfere in any way with continuous flow. Setup in a single minute is not required, but used as a reference (see" one-touch exchange of dies," "internal setup" and "external setup").

Single-piece flow
A process in which products proceed, one complete product at a time, through various operations in design, order taking and production without interruptions, backflows or scrap.

supplier, input, process, output, customer

Six Sigma
A methodology that provides organizations tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation lead to defect reduction and improvement in profits, employee morale and quality of products or services. Six Sigma quality is a term generally used to indicate a process is well controlled (±6 σ from the centerline).

single minute exchange of dies

standard operating procedure

English translation of the Japanese word seiri, one of the 55's used for workplace organization. Sorting (also referred to as structuring or sifting) involves organizing essential materials. It allows the operator to find materials when needed because they are in the correct location.

Standard in-process stock
One of the three elements that make up standard work. It is the minimum quantity of parts always on hand for processing during and between subprocesses. It allows workers to do their job continuously in a set sequence, repeating the same operation over and over in the same order (see "standard work").

Standard work
A precise description of each work activity specifying cycle time, takt time, the work sequence of specific tasks and the minimum inventory of parts on hand needed to conduct the activity. All jobs are organized around human motion to create an efficient sequence without waste. Work organized in such a way is called standardized) work (see "takt time," "working sequence" and "standard in process stock," which are the three elements that make up standard work).

Standard work instructions
A lean manufacturing tool that enables operators to observe the production process with an understanding of how assembly tasks are to be performed. It ensures the quality level is understood and serves as an excellent training aid, enabling replacement or temporary individuals to easily adapt and perform the assembly operation.

When policies and common procedures are used to manage processes throughout the system. Also, English translation of the Japanese word seiketsu, one of the Japanese 55's used for workplace organization (see "five 5's").

Stop the line authority
Power given to workers to stop the process when abnormalities occur, allowing them to prevent the defect or variation from being passed along.

A condition in which gains made in one activity are offset by losses in another activity, or activities that are caused by the same actions that created gains in the first activity.

The storage locations of parts before they go on to the next operation. Supermarkets are managed by predetermined maximum and minimum inventory levels. Each item in the plant is at a designated location.

The English translation of shitsuke, one of the 55's used for workplace organization. Sustaining (also referred to as self-disciplining) is the continuation of sorting, setting in order and sanitizing. It is the most important and the most difficult because it addresses the need to perform the 55's on an ongoing and systematic basis.

System kaizen
Improvement aimed at an entire value stream.


tolerance allocation

Takt time
The rate of customer demand, takt time is calculated by dividing production time by the quantity of product the customer requires in that time. Takt, the heartbeat of a lean manufacturing system, is an acronym for a Russian phrase.

To Be Determined

The ideal operating value of a process.

Theory of constraints (TOC)
Also called constraints management, TOC is a lean management philosophy that stresses removal of constraints to increase throughput while decreasing inventory and operating expenses. TOC's set of tools examine the entire system for continuous improvement. The current reality tree, conflict resolution diagram, future reality tree, prerequisite tree and transition tree are the five tools used in TOC's ongoing improvement process.

The rate the system generates money through sales, or the conversion rate of inventory into shipped product.

theory of constraints

Total productive maintenance (TPM)
A series of methods to ensure every machine in a production process is always able to perform its required tasks. The result is production is never interrupted due to machine breakdowns.

Toyota production system (TPS)
The production system developed by Toyota Motor Corp. to provide best quality, lowest cost and shortest lead time through the elimination of waste. TPS is based on two pillars: just-in-time (JIT) and jidohka. TPS is maintained and improved through iterations of standardized work and kaizen (see "jidohka" "just-in-time" and "kaizen")

total quality management

The property of a result of measurement whereby it can be related to appropriate standards, generally national or international standards, through an unbroken chain of comparisons.

theory of inventive problem solving (not direct translation)

Trouble Shooting Guide (TSG)
A guide to reacting appropriately to out of control events. This document contains information about the likely factors that affect the control parameter and how those effects might be exhibited. This information is often structured into a decision tree format. Variable Parameter measurement which can have any number of continuous possible values. (e.g.. Temperature can vary continuously over a wide range.) Verification Measures changes in measurement system output with the purpose to determine whether the system is still in calibration. Verification leads to troubleshooting the measurement system.

T- Test, 1-Sample
Computes a confidence interval and performs a hypothesis test of the actual data mean compared to a test mean when the population standard deviation is unknown

T-Test, 2-Sample
Used to compare the means of two populations and generates a confidence interval of the difference between two population means when the population standard deviations are unknown


upper control limit

upper specification limit


Value added
Activities that transform input into a customer usable output. The customer can be internal or external to the organization.

Value analysis
Analyzing the value stream to identify value added and non-value added activities.

Value engineering
The process of analyzing the components and process that create a product, with an emphasis on minimizing costs while maintaining standards required by the customer.

Value stream
All activities, both value added and nonvalue added, required to bring a product from raw material state into the hands of the customer, a customer requirement from order to delivery and a design from concept to launch.

Value stream loops
Segments of a value stream with boundaries broken into loops as a way to divide future state implementation into manageable pieces.

Value stream manager
The person responsible for creating a future state map and leading door-to-door implementation of the future state for a particular product family; makes change happen across departmental and functional boundaries.

Value stream mapping
A pencil and paper tool used in two stages: 1. Follow a product's production path from beginning to end, and draw a visual representation of every process in the material and information flows. 2. Then draw a future state map of how value should flow. The most important map is the future state map.

Visual controls
Any devices that help operators quickly and accurately gauge production status at a glance. Progress indicators and problem indicators help assemblers see when production is ahead, behind or on schedule. They allow everyone to instantly see the group's performance and increase the sense of ownership in the area (see "andon board," "kanban," "production board," "painted floor" and "shadow board").

voice of customer

voice of process


Any activity that consumes resources and produces no added value to the product or service a customer receives; called muda in Japanese.

Work in process
Items between machines or equipment waiting to be processed.

Working sequence
One of the three elements of standard work refers to the sequence of operations in a single process that leads a floor worker to produce quality goods in the most efficient way.








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Last modified: 3/3/2009