Cell – This is a grouping of related processes. It is an area of production that can stand alone in adding value to the product. By grouping processes, the employees can learn together. By physically repositioning machines, walking and transportation of product are reduced. Cells are usually set up counter-clockwise reflecting the fact that 90% of the population is right handed. Cells are the foundation of the single piece manufacturing practice which reduces WIP and prevents large inventories of potentially defective goods.
5_S – An activity which forms the basis of all Lean Programs. It refers to five Japanese words: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke. These translate into: Sort, Set in Order, Scrub, Standardize, and Sustain. The idea is to formalize and institutionalize the practice of a place for everything and everything in its place.
JIT – Just-in-time – A term that means that the right material or parts for an assembly reach that assembly at the time that it is needed, only in the quantity that is needed.
Kaizen – It is a Japanese term for continuous improvement involving everyone – manager and worker alike. Often used in the phrase “Kaizen Event”, referring to time set aside when a group of workers and managers get together on the factory floor to brainstorm improved ways of working. It involves changing work practices and eliminating waste (call Muda in Japanese).
Kanban – A Japanese word for signal. It is the foundation of what is known as a “pull system” of inventory management. Product is not made until the next or following operation requires it. Its benefits are reduced inventories, fewer quality problems, smoother production, less paperwork, and the factory remains organized. A “Kanban” may be an inventory ticket, a container, a cart or buggy, or whatever works in the area.
Lean Manufacturing – A term coined by Jim Womack in 1980 while completing a study of Japanese automotive manufacturing practices.
Poka-Yoke – A Japanese word for mistake proofing. It is about workers finding and correcting mistakes before they pass product on to the next work station. It is not about reworking product at the end of the line.
Set-up Reduction – This is oftentimes called SMED, or single minute exchange of dies. It obviously began in the stamping industry, but has moved to every industry faced with changeovers. Single minute refers to single digit, as in less than 10 minutes (1, 2, 3…..9). The belief and practice is that if setup activities can be accomplished prior to machine shutdown (internal work), then the actual downtime will be much less.
Standard Work – Is a layout of the work sequence. Its goal is to have everyone perform the same tasks in the same manner. This smoothes cycle times, and improves quality by eliminating shortcut methods that have not been approved by everyone.
Takt Time – The Swedish word for “cycle” as in cycle time. It is the time allowed for each job step of a process for a given product. Mathematically it is the amount of actual work time available in a given period (all lunch and break time is subtracted) divided by the number of parts or pieces that are needed during that time period. This mathematical number is used to reallocate resources so that leveling of production can be achieved.
Visual Controls – These are tools that allow everyone to know if production is according to plan merely by walking through an area and observing the tools. There are six areas in which visual controls can bring benefit: Process and delivery control; quality control; work control; object control; tool and fixture control: and improvement target control. The key to success is to have the workers be the key participants in their use.
Value Stream Management – This is a systematic approach that allows companies and their people to plan how and when they will implement Lean Tools to make it easier to meet customer demand.