30 Lean Manufacturing Terms

30 Lean Manufacturing Terms

30 Lean Manufacturing Terms



Welcome to the dynamic world of Lean Manufacturing where efficiency, agility, and continuous improvement reign. If you’re searching for a resource that demystifies the jargon and brings clarity to the Lean lexicon, you’ve landed in the right place. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just cutting your teeth in the industry, understanding these 30 terms is essential in your Lean journey.

Let’s dive into the lingo and explore how each term plays a vital role in streamlining processes and optimizing value. From the shop floor to the boardroom, this is your backstage pass to the language of Lean.



Your Lean Language Guide



  1. Value-Added Activity: Any action or process that increases the worth of a product or service from the customer’s perspective.


  2. Muda: A Japanese term for waste. In Lean, Muda refers to any activity that consumes resources but does not add value from the customer’s perspective.


  3. Kaizen: The practice of continuous improvement. It involves making small, incremental changes to processes to improve efficiency and quality.


  4. 5S Methodology: A systematic method to organize the workplace under five sequential categories – Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain.


  5. Poka-yoke: This refers to a mechanism in a process that helps to avoid or prevent mistakes due to haphazard activities.


  6. Kanban: A scheduling system for lean and just-in-time production. It visualizes both the process and the actual production.


  7. Six Big Losses: Six primary causes of process inefficiencies in manufacturing, defined by the lean concept of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).


  8. Theory of Constraints (TOC): This is a management paradigm that views any manageable system as being limited in achieving more of its goals by a very small number of constraints.


  9. Andon: A visual control device that shows the operational status of the workplace at a glance.


  10. Cellular Manufacturing: The arrangement of machines and personnel in a sequence that supports continuous flow of the product.


  11. Heijunka: A technique that is used in production scheduling to improve the efficiency of a lean manufacturing process.


  12. Gemba: The place where value is created, typically this is the place where work or operations occur.


  13. Jidoka: A principle of the Toyota Production System that involves stopping the production process as soon as a defect is detected.


  14. Pull System: A system that links production activity with customer demand.


  15. Just-in-Time (JIT) Manufacturing: An inventory strategy that aligns raw-material orders from suppliers directly with production schedules.


  16. Takt Time: The pace of production needed to meet customer demand while avoiding overburdening the workers.


  17. Standard Work: The process of documenting the current best practices for a process. This is the “bible” for a process and includes Cycle Time, Takt Time, Standard Work in Process, etc.


  18. SMED: Single-Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED) is a system for dramatically reducing the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers.


  19. WIP (Work in Progress): Inventory that has begun its transformation from raw material to the final product but is not yet complete.


  20. JIT II (JIT Squared): Extends the philosophy of just-in-time production with an emphasis on lean production of goods and services.


  21. Value Stream Mapping: A tool to visualize all the steps and processes involved in delivering a product from raw materials to the customer.


  22. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM): A holistic approach to maintenance that focuses on proactive and preventative measures.


  23. Muri: Waste due to overburden.


  24. Mura: Waste due to unevenness in the process.


  25. Milkrun: Material replenishment that uses a single truck to cater to stops or points on an assembly line.


  26. Nominal Group Technique (NGT): A decision-making technique used in business meetings or conferences, where the decision-makers work individually to generate ideas.


  27. PPAP: The Production Part Approval Process is used in the automotive supply chain to establish confidence in suppliers and their manufacturing processes.


  28. QFD (Quality Function Deployment): A method developed in Japan to help transform customer needs into engineering requirements.


  29. Value Stream: Value stream refers to all the activities (both value-added and non-value added) required to bring a product from raw material into the hands of the customer.


  30. WOMA (Waste of Muda): Identifying and eliminating waste in manufacturing processes.



In Conclusion

Conversant with these 30 Lean Manufacturing Terms, you’re better equipped to embark on the Lean journey. Remember, the essence of Lean is not just to know the terminology but to apply the principles to make your operation as efficient and customer-focused as possible. Lean isn’t a mere vocabulary—it’s a way of doing business that generates sustainable growth and excellence.

So go ahead, start weaving these terms into your dialogue, and watch how they transform not only your understanding but also your professional practice. Lean is a language that speaks volumes when translated into action, and these terms are the first steps in becoming truly multilingual in the productive universe of Lean Manufacturing.

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