Find Your Way through the Lean Jargon with the TXM Lean Glossary

There is a lot of lean jargon and so many terms and “funny” words when you get started with your Lean journey. To help you cut through all the Lean Jargon, TXM Lean Consultants have put together the meanings of the core Lean terms and how they can used to improve your manufacturing processes. Knowing the definitions of Lean terms is important to learning how to apply them when building a lean manufacturing system. These terms are not just to be talked about; they need experience from in implementing them.  Indeed, lean principles are the foundation for a great production system and will always work best when combined with respect, humility, flow and fix. It is by no means an extensive lean glossary and will be added to on a regular basis.

 

Term

What is it?

TXM_P5S_PIC_2

5S Workplace organisation tool that standardizes a work area by:

  • Sorting – Leave only what is needed for the process
  • Setting – Arrange in the way you need it.
  • Shine – Keep it clean and simple
  • Standardise – Write the standards and share them
  • Sustain – Audit, inspect and improve the current standard – repeat

.View A Case Study – 5S in Food Manufacturing

Read why 5S is Essential for Sustaining your Lean Business Systems

Plant Layout A3 A3 Plan An A3 plan is simply a business plan or project plan expressed on a single A3 sheet of paper. A3 plans are used for summarising and explaining strategy (see also Hoshin Kanri), presenting projects and solving problems. By limiting the format to a single A3 sheet of paper and applying rules around layout A3 plans ensure that the essential information is communicated in a clear and concise fashion.Read how to develop an A3 PlanRead about what makes a good A3 Plan
andon2 Andon A visual feedback process that indicates a person has a problem in production or in part supply and needs assistance to fix the problem.Lean more about Andon Lights from our Blog
toyota-2010-prius-factory-assembly-line-photo1 Continuous flow One element of a JIT system, continuous flow is where the production work in progress moves smoothly between work stages with little (or no) inventory buffers between each step.Read our blog about production flow
649-05649447 Gemba (Original Place) Usually taken to mean the place where value is actually created for the customer – the factory floor or workplace. To truly understand a situation one needs to go to “Gemba” or, the ‘real place’ ‘the place where the truth can be found’ – where work is done. Going to the “Gemba” is a key habit of Lean Leaders.Definition contributed by Tamera Lank at Tobul Accumulator
thinker Hansei (Self Reflection) To acknowledge your own mistake and to pledge improvement. Deep personal reflection. Using mistakes as a chance to learn rather than a chance to criticise is a key principle in lean thinking.Definition contributed by Tamera Lank at Tobul Accumulator
HiltonOrdersTray  Heijunka (Level Scheduling)  A form of scheduling that is designed to manufacturing smaller bathed by sequencing or mix of product variants into the same product / process.Read our blog about Level ProductionPurchase Heijunka boxes from our on line store
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Hoshin Kanri (Policy Deployment) Hoshin Kanri is the term used to describe the system used by Toyota to deploy its strategy through every level of its organisation and also receive upwards feedback on the strategy. Hoshin Kanri uses A3 Plans to communicate strategy at each level. Read more about Hoshin Kanri
jidoka Jidoka (Autonomation) Giving machines the ability to stop working when an abnormal situation is automatically detected, allowing operators to multitask. Read about Lean techniques to improve quality(definition contributed by Sharon Hale, Skagit Regional Health)
6404488  Just in Time All production parts, consumables and sub assemblies are pulled into the production according the customer demand, as opposed to the traditional pushing production based on a central schedule or ERP  / MRP system, regardless of current requirements or situation.Read more about Just In Time and how it might apply in your business
Arrow Kaikaku (Radical Improvement) Japanese for meaning the “radical improvement of an activity” to eliminate non-value-adding waste. Usually implying “big step” changes rather than small step “kaizen” improvements.(definition provided by Richard Nichols at the Bradbury Group)
DSC06807 Kaizen (Change for the Better) Applied to business organizations, it implies continuing improvement involving everyone. It usually refers to continuous small step improvement over a sustained period of time.Kaizen usually happens at the “Gemba” or workplace  Read more about Kaizen in our BlogDefinition contributed by Tamera Lank at Tobul Accumulator
2013_06_June_Kamishibai1 Kamishibai (Red Green Task Board) A system whereby coloured “tee cards” are used to represent routine tasks in a workplace. In the typical application, the tags are printed red on one side and green on the other. They are then flipped from red to green as tasks are completed.Learn more about Kamishibai (also known as red-green task boards) form our Lean Minute videoPurchase Kamishibai boards and tee cards
maxresdefault Kanban (Pull system) A process to signal the need for work, either for Production to make something or stores, or supplier, to supply something. For kanban the signal is a physical indicator – it may be a card, an empty box or a returned trolley.Learn more about Kanban from our BlogPurchase Hardware for your Kanban System from our On-line Store.
waste needs to be eliminated for a Lean system  Muda (Waste)  Waste – Anything in the process that does not add value from the customer’s perspective. Learn more about the seven wastes
inventory Mura (unevenness) A Japanese term meaning unevenness, irregularity, lack of balance. Mura is of the key causes of waste in processes – unevenness or imbalance. Use of Heijunka is aimed at eliminating Mura through leveling the rate of production.

Sometimes the challenge of improving a factory seems overwhelming (as is the case in this Chinese Factory). However committed leadership and a step by step approach starting with the key value stream can deliver dramatic improvement in a relatively short time.

Muri (Overburden) Japanese term meaning overburden or overloading. Muri is another key source of waste. This means when processes or people are overloaded beyond their capacity. Muri can lead to problems with poor safety, poor quality and inconsistent output as excessive output can not be sustained leading to unevenness or Mura
poke yoke Poke Yoke (Error Proofing) Methods that prevent or detect defects in products(definition contributed by Sharon Hale, Skagit Regional Health)
AMR Hewitts CSM 20120304 Value Stream Map Value stream mapping is a powerful lean manufacturing technique used to document, analyze and improve the flow of information or materials required to produce a product or service for a customer. Specifically a “current state” value stream maps identifies the value and and waste in a process flow enabling development of a “future state map” to eliminate that waste. Read more about value stream maps.Definition contributed by Tamera Lank at Tobul Accumulator