5S: This is an abbreviation for five Japanese words that describe a detailed cleaning system. Seiri is “Sifting out the surplus,” Seiton is “Sorting,” Seiso is “Sweeping” or “Shining,” Seiketsu is “Systematic or standardized cleaning,” and Shitsuke is “Sustain daily.” The principle is to weed out unnecessary items, find homes for the tools the job requires, and sustain this neat, clean work environment. A popular definition of Seiton is “a home for everything and everything in its home.”
Andon: This system indicates the status of a production line. It may be as simple as a green-yellow-red light system or as complicated as a board that specifies work instructions or kanban status as well as job progression.
Change Agent: The simple definition of a change agent is a person or process that creates, or helps create, change. In modern manufacturing, this person or process is changing the process away from the traditional batch-and-queue system to the more efficient kanban system. Often this person is a “management consultant.”
Heijunka: This method of production measurement is part of “just in time” manufacturing. It is especially useful when running different products at once, such as on a mixed product production line. It involves averaging the output of all products to obtain a workable measurement of progress.
Hoshin Kanri: This management tool helps determine a realistic selection of goals. It also helps establish a set of projects that will help achieve those goals. It aids managers in assigning people and resources to do the projects and to set up the proper metrics to determine the outcome of the goals.
Jidoka: This system minimizes the scrap produced by system or machine defect or failure, or by operator error. It allows any worker to halt production when that worker or a machine discovers a defect or a series of defects. This works in conjunction with the Andon system to bring attention to the problem.
Just-in-Time: This is a business practice that increases efficiently while cutting back on waster and product overrun. The principle is to make only the essential amount of product exactly at the time it is required. It also refers to keeping a minimum inventory for the shortest amount of time necessary.
Kaikaku: This is one of the steps within a value stream. Ideally, it is performed only once because it is a radical step of improvement.
Kaizen: Often called “continuous improvement,” it is the process of continuously changing the process to improve it. When it is properly executed, Kaizen addresses areas of waste, safety, quality, and efficiency.
Kanban: This element of “Just-in-Time” ensures that each worker produces the right amount of product at the right speed to help the production line flow efficiently.
Lean: Essentially, lean manufacturing means that a business produces more product with lower operational costs, thereby increasing profit. This also includes holding the minimum amount of inventory for the shortest time possible. The combination of high volume, low production costs, and low inventory helps businesses succeed.
Muda: Any element in the production process that does not add value to the finished product is muda, or waste. Experts refer to these elements as “non-value added” processes.
Non-value Added: These are actions that do not add real value to the finished product or service.
Pokayoke: Often referred to as “fail-safe devices,” these devices are part of the Jidoka system. They can detect defects as they occur or stop production when they detect abnormalities. Sometimes the device is able to detect abnormalities in a machine (such as an overheated oven) or in a product.
Production Board: Some managers refer to this board as an “analysis board” because it helps a person effectively monitor the metrics of a production line. Usually, the workers post the line’s target or goal and the actual production on an hourly basis. Many managers or leads dictate that more information, such as defect rates or downtime, be recorded, too.
Real value: This is what the customer considers to be worth paying for. Changing the manufacturing process to eliminate all non-value added processes and create pure real value processes is the goal of modern business management.
Sensi: This is a consultant or coach who teaches the lean principles. The goal of a sensi is to improve the manufacturing process through kaikaku and continuous improvement. Usually a sensi is an outside expert.
Takt Time: This time measurement system helps workers and management focus on attaining the production schedule efficiently. Calculate Takt time by dividing the total daily operating time by the total daily production requirement.
Theory of Constraints (TOC): This lean concept emphasizes removing constraints in order to increase the throughput while decreasing the standing inventory and cutting operating costs.
Throughput: Throughput or capacity is rate the business produces profit-making product. Usually it is measured as the amount of product that can be manufactured in a given period of time.
Value Added: This is the opposite of non-value added or muda. It is the actions and processes that add real, profit-making value to the product.
Value Analysis: This is the practice of analyzing the value stream to ascertain the value-added and non-value-added processes.
Value Stream: This is three different managerial tasks (problem solving, information management, and manufacturing tasks) that are necessary in the manufacturing process. It is the progression of processes that move a product from the raw state to the finished product (and on to the customer).
Lean 101 – Principles of Lean Manufacturing copyright 2002 MEP MSI