TPS Benchmarking

Toyota Production System A to Z

By Jon Miller Published on July 3rd, 2007

If you ever find yourself face to face with a Japanese Lean sensei, you might find some of these words useful in building common ground.
Andon – Colored lamps (red, yellow, green) or visual indicator of abnormalities
Batch – It’s such an ugly word, the Japanese borrowed ours…
Chaku chaku – “Load load” machines that have automatic eject (hanedashi) devices
Deming, Edwards – Sensei to Japanese industry
Eigo OK desuka? – English OK?
Full work – Also called “two point control” or “AB control” the full work control system is used in Jidoka (autonomation) to limit overproduction by switching a machine or automated line on or off by detecting whether the line is full of work pieces or not
Genchi genbutsu – Japanese for “actual place, actual thing” indicating the habit to “go see” to gain the facts and solve problems based on facts
Heijunka – Production smoothing through averaging volume and mix, enabled by quick changeovers and small lot production
Ishikawa, Kaoru – Quality pioneer who revolutionized the quality movement through the use of the 7QC tools (histogram, cause and effect diagram, check sheets, Pareto diagrams, control charts, scatter diagrams, flow charts)
Jidoka – Autonomous working, autonomation, build in quality through error detection and / or manual line stop, separating human from machine through low-cost automation,
Kaizen – Change and make good, continuous improvement
Lean – The Japanese business media have adopted this word to describe the approach taken by companies in the west to copy the Toyota Production System
Muda – Waste
Nemawashi – Building consensus through advance communication and discussion before decisions are made
Obeya – Big room, offices without walls between people that are used for cross functional collaboration and project management in product development efforts, sales offices, etc.
Pokayoke – Mistake proofing
QC – Originally from “Quality Control” as introduced by Deming’s Quality Control concept and specifically the QC Circle activity, today QC is used to describe the scientific approach to problem solving and kaizen
Rotation – The practice of changing the role of factory workers every 2 hours or so for the purpose of reducing fatigue, cross training, and avoiding boredom
Sensei – Teacher (a term of respect)
Taguchi method – Statistical methods developed by Genichi Taguchi to improve quality of manufactured goods, also called Robust Design
U-ji line – U-shaped line, u-shaped cell
VE – The Japanese abbreviation for Value Engineering.
Warusa kagen – Condition of badness
X bar – Average of a sample, the arithmetic mean, typically found on a control chart
Yokoten – Horizontal deployment, copying and expanding good kaizen ideas to other areas
Zero – Activities to reduced to the beginning of Japanese words such as “inventory,” “accidents” or “defects,” these phrases become long-term targets for continuous improvement

Have something to say?

Leave your comment and let's talk!

Start your Lean & Six Sigma training today.