A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Working conditions or jobs that are dirty, dangerous, or difficult. 3 ELEMENTS OF DEMAND: The three drivers of customer satisfaction are Quality, Cost, and Delivery.

Production Preparation Process. Rapidly designing production processes and equipment to ensure capability, built-in quality, productivity and Takt-Flow-Pull. The Production Preparation Process minimizes resources needed such as capital, tooling, space, inventory and time.

3 Elements of JIT
The three elements of JIT (Just In Time) are 1) takt time, 2) flow production and 3) the downstream pull system.

5M of Production
Man, Machine, Material, Method and Measure. Understand these factors and the establishments of standards are key steps in strengthening the production processes.

Five terms utilized to create a workplace suited for visual control and lean production. Sort means to separate needed tools, parts, and instruction from unneeded materials and to remove the latter. Simplify means to neatly arrange and identify parts and tools for ease of use. Shine means to conduct a cleanup campaign. Standardize means to conduct Sort, Simplify, and Scrub at frequent intervals to maintain a workplace in perfect condition. Sustain means to form the habit of always following the 5S’s.

5 ‘whys’
A technique for discovering the root cause(s) of a problem and showing the relationship of causes by repeatedly asking the question ‘Why?’

7 Tools of QC
Data gathering and analysis tools used for kaizen activities originally by QC (Quality Control) Circles. They are 1) check sheets, 2) cause and effect diagrams, 3) Pareto diagrams, 4) histograms, 5) graphs, 6) scatter diagrams, and 7) broken line graphs.

7 Wastes
7 types of waste describe all activity in a production environment. These are production of defective parts, overproduction ahead of demand, unnecessary transport of materials, waiting for the next processing stop, inventories more than the absolute minimum, unnecessary movement by employees during the course of their work and over processing of parts due to poor tool and product design.



Abnormality Management
Being able to see and quickly take action to correct abnormalities (any straying from Standard Work). This is the goal of standardization and visual management. Continuous waste elimination and problem solving through kaizen are only possible when the abnormalities are visible.

Accounts Payable (AP)
Business term – department or account that pays bills.

Accounts Receivable (AR): Business term – department or account that collects payments

Activity Based Costing
A management accounting system that assigns cost to products based on the resources used to perform a process (design, order entry, production, etc. These resources include floor space, raw materials, energy, machine time, labor, etc.

Affinity Diagram: A management tool that assists with general planning. It makes disparate language information understandable by placing it on cards and grouping the cards together in a creative manner. “Header” cards are used to summarize each group.

Alpha (α)
The maximum risk or probability of making a Type I Error. This probability is always greater than zero and is usually established at 5%. The researcher makes the decisions to the greatest level of risk that is acceptable for a rejection of Ho.

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
Hypothesis test used to analyze the difference in means between two or more samples.

Andon Board
A visual control device in a production area, typically a lighted overhead display or board. Andons are used to give the status of the production system and alert team members to emerging problems or abnormal situations.

A systematic process of collecting and analyzing data to determine the current, historical or projected status of an organization.

Assignable Cause
The name for the source of variation in a process that is not due to chance and therefore can be identified and eliminated.

Automation with a human touch. Refers to semi-automatic processes where the operator and machine work together. Autonomation allows man-machine separation. Also referred to Jidoka.



The process of automatically decrementing perpetual inventory records, based on the bill of materials of a given product. Normally triggered by shipment and invoicing to a customer, backflushing is used to eliminate wasteful inventory transactions.

Balanced Plant
A plant where capacities of all resources are balanced exactly with market demang

Balanced Production
All operations or cells produce at the same cycle time. In a balanced system, the cell cycle time is less than takt time.

Baseline Measurement
A beginning point based on an evaluation of the output over a period of time to determine how the process performs prior to any improvement effort.

Batch Production
A “push” system of production where resources are provided to the consumer based on forecasts or schedules.

Producing more than one piece of an item and then moving those items forward to the next operation before that are all actually needed there. Thus, items need to wait in a queue.

The process of measuring products, services, and practices against those of leading companies.

A best-known example of performance in a particular operation. One needs to define both the class and the operation to avoid using the term loosely.

Best Practice
A superior method or innovative practice that contributes to improved performance.

Beta (β)
The risk or probability of making a Type II Error, or overlooking an effective treatment or solution to the problem.

Black Belt (BB)
A process improvement project team leader who is trained and certified in the Six Sigma breakthrough methodology and tools and who is responsible for project execution.

A blitz is a fast and focused process for improving some component of business  a product line, a machine, or a process. It utilizes a cross-functional team of employees for a quick problem-solving exercise, where they focus on designing solutions to meet some well-defined goals.

A process in any part of the enterprise (office, production, sales, etc.) that limits the throughput of the whole process.

Bowling chart
A form used to track performance (Plan vs. Actual) on Policy Deployment Objectives. Usually reviewed with top management on a monthly basis, but reviewed by the PD team more frequently.

“A graphic summary of a distribution where the overall dispersion and the central tendency or mean of the data are highlighted.” (Arturo Onnias)

An idea-generating technique that uses group interaction to generate many ideas in a short time period. Ideas are solicited in a non-judgmental, unrestricted manner from all members of a group.

Breakthrough objectives
In Policy Deployment, those objectives characterized by multi-functional teamwork, significant change in the organization, significant competitive advantage and major stretch for the organization.

An existing and operating production facility that is set up for mass-production manufacturing and management methods.

Business Value Added (BVA)
Term used in Value Analysis of a process. Designates a process step that the business requires to stay in business.



The total range of inherent variation in a stable process. It is determined using data from control charts.

Capability index
A calculated value used to compare process variation to a specification. Examples are Cp, Cpk. Can also be used to compare processes to each other.

Capacity Constraint Resources
Where a series of non-bottlenecks, based on the sequence in which they perform their jobs can act as a constraint.

Catch-Ball: A series of discussion between managers and their employees during which data, ideas and analysis are thrown like a ball. This opens productive dialogue throughout the entire company.

An established reason for the existence of a defect or a problem.

Cause and Effect (C&E) Matrix
A problem-solving and prioritization tool used to establish relationships between effects and multiple causes.

The layout of machines of different types performing different operations in a tight sequence, typically in a U-shape, to permit single piece flow and flexible deployment of human effort.

Cellular Manufacturing/Cells
Linking of manual and machine operations into the most efficient combination to maximize value-added content while minimizing waste of motion and valuable resources.

Central Tendency
The tendency of data gathered from a process to cluster toward a middle value, somewhere between the high and low values of measurement.

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.

An upper level business leader who facilitates the leadership, implementation, and deployment of the process quality initiative and breakthrough philosophies.

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

The installation of a new type of tool in a metal working machine, a different paint in a painting system, a new plastic resin and new mold in an injection molding machine, new software in a computer, and so on.

A written commitment by management stating the scope of authority for an improvement group. Resources, including time and money, are specifically addressed.

Check sheet
A form for recording data on which the number of occurrences of an event can be recorded as ticks or checks.

Code of Conduct
Expectations of behavior mutually agreed upon by a team. (Also called “norms” or “rules of engagement.”)

Common Cause
A source of process variation that is inherent to the process and is common to all the data.

Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)
Business Term – The year over year growth rate applied to an investment or other part of a company’s activities over a multiple-year period. The formula for calculating CAGR is (Current Value/Base Value)^(1/# of years) – 1.

Confidence Interval (CI)
An interval that can be said, with X% certainty, to contain the true process mean or standard deviation. “We are 95% confident that the true process mean is in this interval.”

The state of meeting and/or exceeding customer requirements and expectations.

A state where everyone in the group supports an action or decision, even if some of them don’t fully agree with it.

Consensus Decision
A decision made after all aspects of an issue, both positive and negative, have been reviewed or discussed to the extent that everyone openly understands, supports and participates in the decision.

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

Continuous Flow Production
Means that items are produced and moved from one processing step to the next one piece at a time. Each process makes only the one piece that the next process needs, and the transfer batch size is one. Also called “single-piece flow” or “one-piece flow.”

Continuous Improvement Process (CIP)
The never-ending process of eliminating waste within the organization in order to shrink manufacturing cycle times, improve quality, and to respond to changing customer demands.

Keeping a process within boundaries; minimizing the variation of a process.

Control Chart
A problem solving statistical tool that indicates whether the system is in or out of control, as determined by computed control limits.

Control Element
A specific process variable, which must be controlled. Measurements of a control element indicate whether or not a stable condition has been achieved.

Control Limits
“Defines natural boundaries of a process within specified confidence levels” [upper control limit (UCL), and lower control limit (LCL) defined on a control chart]. (J. R. Russell)

Cost-benefit Analysis
A way to compare the costs and benefits of plans. Can be used for comparing the financial outcomes of different actions and determining if a particular action makes sense financially.

Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ)
Cost associated with poor quality products or services. Examples: Product inspection, Sorting, Scrap, Rework and Field Complaints.

Immediate actions taken to bring performance that is tracking below expectations back into the proper trend.  Requires root cause analysis.

Counterclockwise flow
A basic principle of Lean manufacturing cell layout is that the flow of material and the motion of people should be from right to left, or counterclockwise. The origin of this idea came from the design of lathes and machine tools with the chucks on the left side, making it easier for right-handed people to load from right to left.

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

Critical Characteristic
A characteristic dependent on the functioning of budget constraints, competitive edge and/or customer satisfaction of the product.

Critical Dependencies
The interrelationships existing within or among processes that are primary drivers of defects or errors in a product or service.

Critical Process Input Variable (CPIV)
The vital few process input variables that have the greatest effect on the output variable(s) of interest. They are called “X’s”, normally 2 – 6 true critical variables.

Critical to Quality (CTQ)
A requirement that a customer values is considered Critical to Quality. What the customer pays for.

Cross Functional
A term used to describe individuals from different organizational units or functions that are part of a team to solve problems, plan, and develop solutions affecting the organization as a system.

Current State Map
Helps visualize the current production process and identify sources of waste.

Curtain effect
A method that permits the uninterrupted flow of production regardless of external process location or cycle time. Normally used when product must leave the cell for processing through equipment that cannot be put into the cell. (i.e. heat treat, curing oven, plating, wave solder)  Curtain quantities are established using the following formula: Per unit Cycle Time of Curtain Process/Takt Time = Curtain Quantity.

Customer Percent Defective (CPD)
The percentage of products or services that are successfully completed on the first attempt without requiring remedial action or rework.

Customer Value Added (CVA)
Term used in Value Analysis of a process. Designates a process step that the customer is willing to pay for.

Cycle Time (CT)
The average time from a unit entering the process until it is completed as a finished good.



Daily Management
Attention each day to those issues concerned with the normal operation of a business.

Days supply of inventory
Total number of days (if the production level equals zero) that it would takes to deplete finished goods inventory for the specified product line.

Any instance or occurrence where the product or service fails to meet customer requirements

Defect Opportunity
A type of potential defect on a unit of throughput (output) that is important to the customer (i.e. Specific fields on a form that creates and opportunity for error that would be important to the customer).

Any unit with one or more defects. Also see Defect.

Defects Per Million Opportunities (DPMO)
The number of defects in every million opportunities. By taking into account opportunities for defects, and not just defects, we can compare processes of differing complexity.

Defects Per Unit (DPU)
The number of defects in a unit or product. This measure does not take into account the number of opportunities for defects, just the number of defects.

Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control (DMAIC)
5 steps within the roadmap of a Six Sigma project

Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Validate or Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify, Implement. (DMADV or DMADVI)
A new process design tool. Commonly used acronym for Design for Six Sigma methods.

Demand Segmentation
Demand Segmentation tools allow you to understand the importance of volume and variability, and their impact on the department, systems and cost

Dependent Events
Events that occur only after a previous event.

Design of Experiments (DOE)
An efficient method of experimentation, which identifies, with minimum testing, factors (key process input variables) and their optimum settings that affect the mean and variation.

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)
Business term – Accounts receivable divided by sales for a given quarter, times 91. This number helps determine whether a technology company is attempting to disguise weakness in its sales.

DOTWIMP (7 wastes)
Defects, Overproduction, Transportation, Waiting, Inventory, Motion, Processing



Act of placing accountability, authority and responsibility for processes and products at the lowest possible level. Whether or not a person is truly empowered depends on their acceptance of responsibility and accountability, their capabilities, and the seriousness of the consequences.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Business Term – information systems designed to bind more closely a variety of company functions including human resources, inventories and financials while simultaneously linking the company to customers and vendors.

Entitlement (ENT)
The best a process measure could be.

Error Proofing
Designing a potential failure or cause of failure out of a product or process.

Every part every
Measured in terms of time (hours, days, weeks, months, etc.) “Every Product Every X” indicates the level of flexibility to produce whatever the customer needs. For instance, Every Product Every day would indicate that changeovers for all products required can be performed each day and the products can be supplied to the customer.

External Failure
Nonconformance identified by external customers.



F (f)
Function relating process inputs to process outputs: Y = f(x1, x2, x3, ……)

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
Method used in measure to understand risks of failure in a process.

First Pass Yield (FPY)
The percentage of products or services that are successfully completed on the first attempt without requiring remedial action or rework.

A main objective of the lean production effort, and one of the important concepts that passed directly from Henry Ford to Toyota. Ford recognized that, ideally, production should flow continuously all the way from raw material to the customer and envisioned realizing that ideal through a production system that acted as one long conveyor.

Flow Chart
A problem solving tool that illustrates a process.  It can show the “as is” process or “should be” process for comparison and should make waste evident.

Flow Production
A philosophy that rejects batch, lot or mass processing as wasteful. Product should move (flow) from operation to operation in the smallest increment, one piece being the ultimate. Product should be pulled from the preceding operation, as it is needed. Often referred to as “One Piece Flow”, only quality parts are allowed to move to the next operation.

Functional Layout
The practice of grouping machines or activities by type of operation performed.

Future State Map
A blueprint for lean implementation. Your organization¹s vision, which forms the basis of your implementation plan by helping to design how the process should operate.



Gage bias (Accuracy)
The difference between the true or reference value and the observed average of multiple measurements of the identical characteristic on the same part.

Gage % Repeatability and Reproducibility (% R & R)
Addresses what percent of the Total Variation is taken up by measurement error.

Gage repeatability
The variation in measurements obtained with one measurement instrument when used several times by one appraiser while measuring the identical characteristic on the same part.

Gage reproducibility
The variation in the average of the measurements made by different appraisers using the same measuring instrument when measuring the identical characteristic on the same part.

Gap Analysis
The comparison of a current condition to the desired state.

Japanese for ‘actual thing’ or ‘actual product’. The tools, materials, machines, parts, and fixtures that are the focus of kaizen activity.

Japanese for ‘the facts’ or ‘the reality’. The actual facts or the reality of what is happening on the shop floor and in the business.

“A broad statement describing a desired future condition or achievement without being specific about how much and when.” (Government Performance and Results Act of 1993)

Green Belt (GB)
A part-time process improvement project team leader who is trained and certified in the Six Sigma breakthrough methodology and tools and who is responsible for project execution. Typically works on smaller scoped projects than BB’s.

A new production facility where lean principles are designed into manufacturing and management systems from the beginning.



Null Hypothesis: A statement of no change or difference. This statement is assumed true until sufficient evidence is presented to reject it. “If p is low, Ho has to go”

Alternate Hypothesis: A statement of change or difference. This statement is considered true if Ho is rejected.

Device or means of automatic unload of the work piece from one operation or process, providing the proper state for the next work piece to be loaded.  Automatic unloading and orientation for the next process is essential for a “Chaku-Chaku” line.

Hawthorne effect
Every change results (initially, at least) in increased productivity. Often occurs early in a project, where process participants realize the process is under study.

A method of leveling production at the final assembly line that makes just-in-time production possible. This involves averaging both the volume and sequence of different model types on a mixed-model production line

A graphic way of summarizing data by plotting possible values on one axis and the observed frequencies for those values on the other axis. It helps one visualize the central tendency and dispersion of the data.

Hoshin Planning (HP)
Also known as Management by Policy or Strategy Deployment. A means by which goals are established and measures are created to ensure progress toward those goals. HP keeps activities at all levels of the company aligned with its overarching strategic plans. HP typically begins with the “visioning process” which addresses the key questions: Where do you want to be in the future? How do want to get there? When do you want to achieve your goal? And who will be involved in achieving the goals? HP then systematically explodes the whats, whos and hows throughout the entire organization.

House of Quality
A product-planning matrix developed during quality function deployment that shows the relationship of customer requirements to the means of achieving these requirements. The matrix indicates the impact each of the means has on one another.



See Abnormality Management.

A structured approach that addresses all aspects (who, what, when, where, why, and how) of incorporating improvements into the process or system.

The organized creation of beneficial change; the attainment of unprecedented levels of performance. Levels of improvement range from incremental to major; e.g., “breakthrough” improvement.

Input Output (I/O)
Type of process map that includes process steps and their inputs and outputs.

Process of measuring, examining or testing a product service against some requirement to identify nonconformance before it reaches a customer.

International Standards Organization (ISO)
ISO9000 is an international standard for documentation of standardized processes.

A major cost for most businesses, inventory is all raw materials, purchased parts, work-in-process components, and finished goods that are not yet sold to a customer. In some cases inventory  may include consumable goods used in production.

Inventory Turns
Business term – The number of times the company cycles through or turns its inventory per year.



Automation with a human touch or transferring human intelligence to a machine.  This allows the machine to detect abnormalities or defects and stop the process when they are detected.  Also known as Autonomation.

Jiro Kawakita (KJ)
Name of a noted Japanese anthropologist. Created method for summarizing and characterizing large quantities of anthropological data gathered during his expeditions.

Fresh eyes; an important concept in Observation-Based Safety.

Just-in-Time (JIT)
Principles that are fundamental to Time-Based Competition  waste elimination, process simplification, set-up and batch-size reduction, parallel processing, and ayout redesign  are critical skills in every facet of the lean organization. JIT is a system for producing and delivering the right items at the right time, in the right amounts. The key elements of Just-in-Time are Flow, Pull, Standard Work, and Takt Time.



In the business world, the word Kaizen has been utilized by the Japanese to characterize a business strategy involves everyone in an organization working together to make improvements ‘without large capital investments’

A communications tool in the ‘just-in-time’ production and control system. A Kanban, or signboard, is attached to specific parts in a production line signifying the delivery of a given quantity. When all parts have been used, the same sign is returned to its origin where it becomes an order for more.

Key Process Input Variable (KPIV)
The vital few process input variables that have the greatest effect on the output variable(s) of interest. They are called “X’s”, (normally 2 – 6)

Key Process Output Variable (KPOV)
The output variable(s) of interest. They are called the “Y’s”, (usually 1). May be process performance measures or product characteristics.



Lead Time
The total time a customer must wait to receive a product after placing an order. When a scheduling and production system is running at or below capacity, lead time and throughput time are the same. When demand exceeds the capacity of a system, there is additional waiting time before the start of scheduling and production, and lead time exceeds throughput time.

Lean is the elimination of anything not absolutely required (non-value added) to deliver a quality product or service, on time, to our customers, focuses on improving process flow, is a means of driving process standardization and drives work at the pull of the customer.

Little’s Law
CT = CT * TH

Lower Control Limit (LCL)
Demonstrates lower limit of process expected variability. Points outside of control limit should be investigated to determine assignable cause. Formula is (process sample mean – 3 x sample standard deviation). 99% of the process variation falls within the lower and upper control limits.

Lower Specification Limit  (LSL)
Lowest acceptable value or measurement customer is willing to accept lower limit of customer requirement.



Master Black Belt (MBB)
A person who is “expert” in Six Sigma breakthrough techniques and project implementation. MBBs play a key role in training and coaching Black Belts.

Measurement System
The complete process used to obtain measurements. It consists of the collection of operations, procedures, gages and other equipment, software, and personnel used to assign a number or value to the characteristic being measured.

Measurement System Analysis (MSA)
Method to understand the capability of the measurement system.

A measurement, taken over a period of time that communicates vital information about a process or activity. A metric should drive appropriate leadership or management action. Physically, a metric package consists of an operational definition, measurement over time and presentation.

Minitab (MTB)
A statistical software program used to assist in data analysis.

Mistake Proofing
Any change to an operation that helps the operator reduce or eliminate mistakes.

Anything that interrupts the flow of products and services through the value stream and out to the customer is designated Muda or waste.

Multi-Skilled Worker
Associates at any level of the organization that are diverse in skills and training.  They provide the organization with flexibility and grow in value over time. Essential for achieving maximum efficiencies of J.I.T.

Type of multiple variable process study: Assists in identifying the primary X’s that impact your Y’s. A graphic way of depicting variation within a single entity, machine or process, or between entities (produced at the same time or over time). Allows the study of process inputs and outputs in a passive mode (natural day-to-day process).

A structured voting process used to reduce a large number of items, usually ideas, to a more manageable number for further processing or analysis.

Japanese for unevenness.

Japanese for unreasonableness.



Accomplishing more than one task in one motion or function. Japanese for ‘while doing something’.

Nominal Group Technique (NGT)
A tool for generating a list of ideas or opportunities (allows individuals to express their opinion). Voting and ranking determine priorities.

Non-Value Added (NVA)
Term used in Value Analysis of a process. Designates a process step that is not required by the business or the customer.

Normal distribution
A continuous, symmetrical, bell shaped frequency distribution for variable data.



One Piece Flow
Is based on the concept of having operators focus on transferring each item individually to the next process step. One-piece flow dramatically reduces handling and transportation and provides immediate feedback to any overlooked defect.

Operating Expenses
The money required the system to convert inventory into throughput.

Out of control
Describes a process that has variations that fluctuate outside the computed control limits. This condition normally indicates the process is not operating as desired or that external factors have been introduced. A process “out of control” is not stable and therefore is not predictable.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
Methodology for assessing process capacity and utilization of equipment. Takes into account availability, efficiency and quality

Producing more, sooner or faster than is required by the next process.



p-value (p)
Test statistic used in Hypothesis testing. “If p is low, Ho has to go.”

A set of rules and regulations that defines boundaries and tells what to do to be successful within these boundaries.

Pareto Chart
A vertical bar graph showing the bars in descending order of significance, ordered from left to right. Helps to focus on the vital few problems rather than the trivial many. An extension of the Pareto Principle suggests that the significant items in a given group normally constitute a relatively small portion of the items in the total group. Conversely, a majority of the items will be relatively minor in significance, (i.e. the 80/20 rule).

Parts Per Million (PPM)
Same as DPMO.

Always optimizing value-added activities and eliminating waste.

Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA)
PLAN: Senior management should use the visioning process in the context of it Business Plan. HP translates the Business Plans to action plans, meaningful to all levels of the organization. DO: Answer the whats, hows, and whos for the total number of tiers for your organization; remember, the fewer the number of tiers, the better. In addition, this is the time to bring management together and provide them with a basic understanding of HP mechanics. CHECK: On a periodic basis, review the measurements and note what you´ve learned that could help in the future. ACT: Make the necessary adjustments to plans and priorities in order to ensure the success of the strategy breakthroughs.

Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA)
A structured, cyclical methodology for developing and implementing actions of any type: Plan for the action by collecting and analyzing data and developing alternatives; Do, implement the selected alternative (preferably on a small scale); Study, evaluate results and compare expected values; Act, standardize action and/or start over. (Shewhart Cycle, Deming Wheel)

Poke Yoke
Literally translated: Idiot proof. A mistake proofing device or technique to eliminate the possibility of a mistake being created. Prevention method, rather than reaction.

Population mean (m)
Symbol used to describe the average for an entire population

Population standard deviation(s)
Symbol used for standard deviation of entire population. Measure of the spread of the process (width of the distribution).

Precision to customer tolerance ratio (P/T)
Addresses what percent of the tolerance is taken up by measurement error. Includes both repeatability and reproducibility.

A quality assurance strategy that attempts to identify and correct unacceptable service or product characteristics during the design, development or production phases.

The chance of an event happening or a condition occurring in a random trial.

The combination of people, equipment, materials, methods, and environment that produce output – a given product or service. It is the particular way of doing something.

Process Capability Index (Cp)
A calculated value used to compare process variation to a specification. Can also be used to

Process Capability Index – not centered (Cpk)
A calculated value used to compare process variation to a specification. Can also be used to compare processes to each other.

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

Process map
A visual representation of the sequential flow of a process.  Used as a tool in problem solving, this technique makes opportunities for improvement apparent.

Process mapping
A step-by-step pictorial sequence of a process showing process inputs, process outputs, cycle time rework operations and inspection points.

Process Input variable (X)
In a Six Sigma project, we determine the inputs (X’s) that impact our process outputs (Y’s).

Process Output Variable (POV)
The outputs of interest, sometimes referred to as the customer requirements. They are called the “Y’s”, (usually 1). May be process performance measures or product characteristics.

Process Output variable (Y)
In a Six Sigma project, we determine the inputs (X’s) that impact our process outputs (Y’s).

Process Spread
The extent to which the distribution of individual values of the process characteristic (input or output variable) vary; often shown as the process average plus and minus some number of standard deviations. Other related measures of spread include the range, and variance.

Processing Time
The time a product is actually being worked on in a machine or work area.

A system of cascading production and delivery instructions from downstream to upstream activities in which the upstream supplier waits until the downstream customer signals a need. A pull system means producing only what has been consumed by downstream activities or customers.

Push System
In contrast to the pull system, product is pushed into a process, regardless of whether it is needed. The pushed product goes into inventory, and lacking a pull signal from the customer indicating that it has been bought, more of the same product could be overproduced and put in inventory.



Quality Assurance (QA)
Used to describe either a company’s quality methods or quality department. Assurance is typically more proactive.

Quality Audit
A systematic, independent examination and review to determine whether quality activities and related results comply with planned arrangements and whether the arrangements are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve the objectives.

Quality Control (QC)
Used to describe either a company’s quality methods or quality department. Control is typically more reactive.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
Quality Function Deployment: A system that translates customer requirements (voice of the customer) into technical requirements for each stage of development and/or production.

Quality Management
The systems, organizations and tools, which make it possible to plan, manufacture, and deliver a quality product or service. This does not imply inspection or even traditional quality control. Rather, it builds quality into the entire process of bringing goods and services to the customer.

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 minutes), so multiple products can be run on the same machine.



Range (R)
The difference between the maximum and minimum data points in a sample.

Rate of Bottleneck (rb)
Process bottleneck rate or rate of the workstation having the highest long-term utilization in that process.

The engine that drives Time-Based Competition. To gain speed, firms must apply the principles of reengineering to rethink and redesign every process and move it closer to the customer.

Repeatability and Reproducibility (R & R)

Repeatability: The variation in measurements obtained with one measurement instrument when used several times by one appraiser while measuring the identical characteristic on the same part. Reproducibility: The variation in the average of the measurements made by different appraisers using the same measuring instrument when measuring the identical characteristic on the same part.

Resource Utilization
Using a resource in a way that increases throughput.

Response Surface Methods (RSM)
Method for using DOE to optimize process parameter settings. Allows for fine process adjustment for ultimate optimization.

Risk Priority Number (RPN)
Metric used in FMEA to quantify risk. Calculated by multiplying the Severity of the Effect, the probability of Occurrence of the Failure and the ability to Detect the Failure. RPN = S x O x D

Rolled Throughput Yield (RTY)
The multiplication of all the individual first pass yields of each step of the entire process.



Safety, Purpose, Agenda, Code of Conduct, Expectations and Roles (SPACER)
Meeting effectiveness technique. Every meeting should begin with review of safety procedures, meeting purpose, agenda, meeting code of conduct, meeting expectations and meeting roles.

Sample Standard Deviation (s)
A measure of the average variation of a sample (width of the distribution).

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

Sequential Changeover
Also sequential set-up. When changeover times are within Takt time, changeovers can be performed one after another in a flow line. Sequential changeover assures that the lost time for each process in the line is minimized to one Takt beat. A set-up team or expert follows the operator, so that by the time the operator has made one round of the flow line (at Takt time), it has been completely changed over to the next product.

Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED)
A series of techniques designed for changeovers of production machinery in less than ten 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.

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

Specification (Spec)
The customer requirement for judging acceptability of a particular characteristic.

A prescribed documented method or process that is sustainable, repeatable and predictable.

These involve comparison with accepted norms, such as are set by regulatory bodies.

Standard Deviation (SD)
A measure of the spread of the process (width of the distribution).

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
Standardized procedure that is documented and used by all process participants.

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.

Standard Work in Process
The minimum amount of material or a given product, which must be in process at any, time to insure proper flow of the operation.

The system of documenting and updating procedures to make sure everyone knows clearly and simply what is expected of them. Essential for application of PDCA cycle.

Statistical control
The condition describing a process from which all special/assignable causes of variation have been eliminated and only common/random causes remain. Applies to both the mean (location) and standard deviation (spread).

Statistical Process Control (SPC)
Method that uses control charting to manage a process as it occurs.

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)
Business term – a specific part number, or inventory number. A company that sells 1000 items has 1000 SKU’s.

Technique to graphically display the methodology used and progress made by a process action team; a board, specifically designated to display information

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

Suppliers Inputs Process Outputs Customers Map (SIPOC)
Single page process map that shows the scope of the process your project is examining.

Supplier Partnership
An approach to business that involves close cooperation between the supplier and the customer.  It provides benefits and responsibilities that each party must recognize and work together to realize.

System Kaizen
Improvement aimed at an entire value stream.



Takt Time: The available production time divided by the rate of customer demand. For example, if customers demand 240 widgets per day and the factory operations 480 minutes per day, takt time is two minutes; if customers want two new products designed per month, takt time is two weeks. Takt time sets the pace of production to match the rate of customer demand and becomes the heartbeat of any lean system.

The process of adjusting a stable process to try to compensate for a result that is undesirable or for a result that is extra good, the output that follows will be worse than if the person who tampered had left the process alone.

Theory of Constraints (TOC)
A management philosophy that focuses the organizations scarce resources on improving the performance of the true constraint, and therefore the bottom line of the organization. T, TH

Throughput (To )
The average output of a production process per unit of time. Average time it takes a single unit to traverse an empty production process

Throughput Time
The time required for a product to proceed from concept to launch, order to delivery, or raw materials into the hands of the customer. This includes both processing and queue time.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): A series of methods, originally pioneered to ensure that every machine in a production process is always able to perform its required tasks so that production is never interrupted.

Toyota Production System (TPS)
A manufacturing philosophy that shortens the time between customer order and shipment by eliminating waste.



Upper Control Limit (UCL)
Demonstrates upper limit of expected process variability. Points outside of control limit should be investigated to determine assignable cause. Formula is (process sample mean + 3 *s). 99% of the process variation falls within the lower and upper control limits.

Upper Specification Limit (USL)
Highest acceptable value or measurement customer is willing to accept, upper limit of customer requirement.

Utilization (U)
Utilization of any workstation, capital, process or line is usually defined as percent of time running divided by available time to run.



A capability provided to a customer at the right time at an appropriate price, as defined in each case by the customer.

Value Added (VA)
Term used in Value Analysis of a process. Designates a process step that is deemed valuable either by the business or the customer.

Value-Added Analysis
With this activity, a process improvement team strips the process down to it essential elements. The team isolates the activities that in the eyes of the customer actually add value to the product or service. The remaining non-value adding activities “waste” are targeted for extinction.

Value Chain
Activities outside of your organization that add value to your final product, such as the value adding activities of your suppliers.

Value Stream
The specific activities required to design, order and provide a specific product, from concept to launch, order to delivery, and raw materials into the hands of the customer.

Value Stream Map (VSM)
Value Stream Map: Type of process map that shows product and information flow. Also shows process data.

Value Stream Mapping
Highlights the sources of waste and eliminates them by implementing a future state value stream that can become reality within a short time.

Difference between individual measurements. Differences are attributed to common and/or special causes.

Vertical Teams
Vertical teams are groups of people who come together to meet problems or challenges. These teams are made up of the most appropriate people for the issue, regardless of their levels or jobs within the organization.

A long-term plan of direction that is based on a careful assessment of the most important directions for the organization.

Visual Control
The placement in plain view of all tools, parts, production activities, and indicators of production system performance so everyone involved can understand the status of the system at a glance.

Voice of the Customer (VOC): Desires and requirements of the customer at all levels, translated into real terms for consideration in the development of new products, services and daily business conduct.



Anything that uses resources, but does not add real value to the product or service. (See 7 Wastes.)

Work in Progress (WIP): Product or inventory in various stages of completion throughout the plant, from raw material to completed product.

WIP level for which the process achieves maximum throughput.

Work Sequence
The specific order in which an operator performs the manual steps of the process.

World Class Quality Management
An operating methodology totally committed to quality and customer satisfaction. It focuses on continuous improvement in all processes and advocates decisions based on fact. World Class Quality management includes all associates in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.



Symbol used to describe the average of a population sample.



Information sharing; sharing of common activities, countermeasures and ideas.

Produced product related to scheduled product.