Lean Glossary

summary Summary What is a Cycle Time? Cycle time is the measurement of the time elapsed from the beginning of a process or a step to its end. Reduction of cycle time focuses on bringing products and services to market faster in order to provide value to customers. To learn how to use Cycle Time and how to apply Lean

SMART Goals is based on the acronym that stands Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound. Following this acronym is a great way to construct clearly-defined goals that matter to an organization. Expanding on each element: Specific: “Reduce lead time in minutes” as opposed to “Improve productivity” Measurable: “Reduce lead time to 2 minutes” as opposed to “Double productivity” Attainable: “Cut

True North is a term that originated recently with Toyota and refers to the ideal or “goal state”—where a company is headed. The idea is for the company to follow the path to its “True North”—achieving its vision and mission—like a hiker would follow a compass needle. By embracing Continuous Improvement an organization can find its way to its True

Toyota’s 8 Steps for Practical Problem Solving are rooted in Walter Shewhart‘s (and Dr. Deming‘s) PDCA Cycle (Plan Do Check Act). Toyota expanded on “Plan” with Steps 1-5 whereas “Do-Check-Act” correspond with Steps 6, 7 and 8. Both systems are based on the Scientific Method and help support a culture of continuous process improvement. 1. Eight Step Problem Solving Process

The target, within Continuous Improvement, refers to the desired value of the process characteristic being measured—“2-Day Lead Time” or “2% Defect rate”. Once the baseline or “as is” process measure has been established, the goal is to reduce the gap between the basline and the target—“Reduce Lead Time from 5 days to 2 days” or “Reduce the Defect Rate from

Best Practice Sharing refers to spreading news of improvement ideas throughout an organization. Another term is to share “Transfer Opportunities” although the idea is to include the sharing of failures as well. It’s not enough to improve a process. It’s important to let others know what you’ve learned so that they can benefit. For a better understanding of Best Practice

Production Leveling refers to the smoothing of manufacturing production in the face of fluctuating demand. The method was developed as part of the Toyota Production System as a way to react to demand changes without overburdening production. Instead of over-producing products in batches, the method responds directly to consumer demand. For a better understanding of Production Leveling and an overview

Process management is an approach to better understand, measure and govern processes across an organization. Process Management is the antidote to the natural development of organizations to form siloed departments and separate business units. This approach enables a unified view of the end-to-end business which paves the way for targeted improvement efforts. For a better understanding of Process Management and an

Yokoten is a Japanese term that translates to sharing improvement ideas throughout an organization. Other terms include “Transfer Opportunities” and “Best Practice Sharing” although Yokoten includes sharing the failures as well. The idea is that it’s not enough to improve a process. It’s important to let others know what you’ve learned so that they can benefit. For a better understanding

Kamishibai Board is Japanese for “Storyboard.” Kamishibai Boards were developed within the Toyota Production System (TPS) as a visual audit a system to ensure the process was being properly followed. Cards are placed on the board and randomly selected based on a management timetable. By seeing the “story” of the process, this Visual Management provides a way to observe and

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