Term Definition

A systematic process of workplace organization

Balanced Plant

A plant where capacity of all resources are balanced exactly with market demand.


Any resource whose capacity is equal to, or less than the demand placed on it.

Capacity Constraint Resources

Where a series of non-bottlenecks, based on the sequence in which they perform their jobs can act as a constraint. [Abbreviation: CCR]


A method of conducting single-piece flow, where the operator proceeds from machine to machine, taking the part from one machine and loading it into the next. [Same as Load-Load]

Change Agent

The catalytic force moving firms and value streams out of the world of inward-looking batch-and-queue.


Anything that limits a system from achieving higher performance, or throughput.


The impact of one variable upon others in the same group.

Dependent Events

Events that occur only after a previous event.

External Setup (OED)

Die setup procedures that can be performed while machine is in motion. OED – “outer exchange of die” [See Internal Setup]

Flow Kaizen

Radical Improvement, usually applied only once within a value stream. [Same as Kaikaku]


In business, gemba refers to the place where value is created; in manufacturing, the gemba is the factory floor.


Keeping total manufacturing volume as constant as possible. [Same as Production Smoothing]

Hoshin Kanri

The selection of goals, projects to achieve the goals, designation of people and resources for project completion, and establishment of project metrics. [Same as Policy Deployment]

Information Management Task

The task of taking a specific product from order-taking through detailed scheduling to delivery. [See Value Stream]


Innovation is bringing new ideas to life. In business, ideas and inventions become innovations when they yield a tangible result that is meaningfully unique and provides a benefit to a customer for which they are willing to pay more money.

Innovation Engineering

Innovation Engineering – A systematic approach and tools to leading profitable growth through innovation. (visit


Comparing product, or component against specifications to determine if such product or component meets requirements. [See Judgment Inspection or Informative Inspection]

Internal Setup (IED)

Die setup procedures that must be performed while machine is stopped. IED – “inner exchange of die” [See External Setup]


The money the system has invested in purchasing things it intends to sell.


Stopping a line automatically when a defective part is detected. [Same as Autonomation]


A Japanese word meaning “way of doing” and a pattern that you practice to develop a skill, the ability to do something well. Kata represents two fundamental patterns that initially Toyota, and now growing numbers of other enterprises worldwide, have very successfully applied to their operations.


Continuous improvement through incremental improvements. [Same as Process Kaizen]


Lean refers to a collection of principles, methods and tools that focus on the systematic identification and elimination of waste (non-value adding activities) in all forms. Lean uses the unrelenting search for efficiency (waste reduction) as a means to define and improve organizational performance. Lean principles can be applied throughout enterprises – on a production floor, in administrative settings and beyond.


Manufacturing Extension Partnership within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)


Any human activity which absorbs resources, but creates no real value. [See Non-Value Added, Waste]


National Institute of Standards & Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Non-Value Added

Activities or actions taken that add no real value to the product or service, making such activities or action a form of waste. [See Value Added]

Operating Expenses

Cost of Operations


Work or steps taken to transform material from raw materials to finished product. [See Process, Sub-Processes]


The pace and flow of a product.

Policy Deployment

The selection of goals, projects to achieve the goals, designation of people and resources for project completion, and establishment of project metrics. [Same as Hoshin Kanri]


The flow of material in time and space. The accumulation of sub-processes, or operations that transform material from raw material to finished products.


Meeting expectations and requirements, stated and un-stated, of the customer.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

Using a cross-functional team to reach consensus that final engineering specification of a product are in accord with the voice of the customer.

Quick Changeover

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

Resource Utilization

Using a resource in a way that increases throughput. [See Resource Activation]


Matching tooling and equipment to the job and space requirements of lean production.


Small Business Administration


Small Business Development Center


An outside master or teacher that assists in implementing lean practices.

Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED)

The reduction in die set-up time. Set-up in a single minute is not required, but used as a reference. [See One-Touch Exchange of Die, Internal Setup, or External Setup]

Standard Work

Specifying tasks to ensure the job is done the best way, the right way, the first time, every time, in the amount of time available.

Statistical Fluctuations

Kinds of information that cannot be precisely predicted.

Sub- Optimization

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

Takt Time

Daily production number required to meet orders in hand divided into the number of working hours in the day. TAKT Time = available work time/number of units required.

Theory of Constraints (TOC)

A lean management philosophy that stresses removal of constraints to increase throughput while decreasing inventory and operating expenses.


The rate the system generates money through sales.

Training Within Industry (TWI)

The TWI programs were developed during World War II as a result of the direct needs of American industry and is the “standard work” foundation of the Toyota Production System and Lean Manufacturing. It incorporates three modules of “J” programs of training designed to teach basic skills necessary for continuous improvement: 1) Job Instruction Training (JIT) with the objective to teach someone how to instruct another person and transfer knowledge in a given job; 2) Job Methods Training (JMT) with the objective to enable individuals to improve the job they are doing; and 3) Job Relations Training (JRT) with the objective to develop and maintain strong, positive relationships among all employees.

Value Added

Activities or actions taken that add real value to the product or service. [See Non-Value Added]

Value Stream

The set of specific actions required to bring a specific product through three critical management tasks of any business: Problem-solving, Information management and physical transformation.

Visual Controls

Displaying the status of an activity so every employee can see it and take appropriate action.


Anything that uses resources, but does not add real value to the product or service.


Produced product related to scheduled product.