5S and 5Ss:  Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. In Japanese Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. Some practitioners add Safety as the 6th S. The 5Ss are the foundation for a culture where the workers develop disciplined work habits conducive to lean production and visual control.

A3 Sheet:  A simple storyboard with a standardized framework for storytelling. The A3 sheet tells the whole story of a lean improvement project on a single 11”x 17” sheet of paper. The paper size designation is A3, also known in the USA as ledger size). The left side of the page defines the problem; the right side of the page proposes solutions.

ACA Group:  The ACA Group is an alliance of highly trained and experienced consultants and instructors specializing in business improvement solutions.

APICS:  “The Association for Operations Management is the global leader and premier source of the body of knowledge in supply chain and operations management, including production, inventory, materials management, purchasing, and logistics. Since 1957, individuals and companies have relied on APICS for its superior training, internationally recognized certifications, comprehensive resources, and worldwide network of accomplished industry professionals.” Visit SMI’s Core Team for more information.

CPIM:  Abbreviation for Certified in Production and Inventory Management, a certification offered by APICS the Association for Operations Management. Visit SMI’s Core Team for more information.

CS&OP:  Abbreviation for Certified in Sales and Operations Planning, a certification offered by the S&OP Institute.

Communication Matrix:  A plan for managing project related communication. Download an example Communications Matrix Template Spreadsheet from the Ohio Board of Regents.

Communication Protocol:  The set of rules, agreed upon by two or more parties, governing communication language and modes.

Communication Profile:  A prioritized list summarizing a person’s or entity’s preferred means of communication. Example: Email first, then phone call, text and vmail.

Countermeasure:  A course of action developed with the intent to either mitigate or prevent another less desirable action or event from occurring.

DMADV method:  (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify) The DMADV process refers to an improvement cycle that is primarily used when a product or process is not currently in existence and needs to be developed. This could also be used if there is an existing process that is not meeting company expectations. The DMADV method is mainly used when creating new products and business practices. The following briefly describes each of the five DMADV steps:

  1. Define project & design goals and customer demands
  2. Measure product capabilities, production process and capability, measure risks
  3. Analyze the process options to meet the customer needs, create design and evaluate to select the optimal design
  4. Design (detailed) the process to meet the customer needs.
  5. Verify the design , test design, implement production processes and turn over to process owners

DMAIC Method:  (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) DMAIC refers to a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing, and stabilizing business processes and designs.  The DMAIC methodology can be used when a product or process currently existing at a company is not meeting customer satisfaction levels or is failing. The following briefly describes each of the five DMAIC steps:

  1. Define project goals, deliverables, problems, targets, boundaries, etc.
  2. Measure the process to determine current performance, define and test measurement plan, collect data
  3. Analyze and determine the root cause(s) of the problems, identify gaps, identify process inputs and outputs, identify sources of variation
  4. Improve the process by eliminating defects, create innovative solutions,  create detailed implementation plan, deploy improvements
  5. Control future process performance by creating a control plan and monitoring it

IMAPS:  (International Microelectronics and Packaging Society) “The International Microelectronics And Packaging Society is the largest society dedicated to the advancement and growth of microelectronics and electronics packaging. IMAPS produces numerous publications, workshops, international conferences, professional development courses, and exhibitions bringing together the entire microelectronics supply chain. Our events and products focus on those technologies critical to the present and future of microelectronics: 3D Integration, MEMS, Flip Chip, Wafer Level Packaging,Thermal Management, Printed Electronics, Advanced Materials, Photonics, Modeling/Design and many others.”

ISM:  Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) is the first supply management institute in the world. Founded in 1915, ISM exists to lead and serve the supply management profession and is a highly influential and respected association in the global marketplace. By executing and extending its mission through education, research, standards of excellence and information dissemination – including the renowned monthly ISM Report On Business® – ISM maintains a strong global influence among individuals and organizations.”

Kaizen:  Continuous improvement.

Kanban:  Japanese for “sign” or “signboard.” In a pull system, the Kanban is a trigger for workflow. There are two types of Kanban: Production Kanban (aka Make Kanban) and a Withdrawal Kanban (aka Move Kanban). Kanban cards are recycled and are used in conjunction with supermarket racks and 2-bin systems as a paperless method to control material flow in a closed loop fashion. The Kanban card is the signaling device, which authorizes production or withdrawal of workpieces.

Lean:  Improving the flow of materials and information which, in turn, improves profitability.

MOOC:  Massive Open Online Course. MOOCs are a form of internet-based, distance education, which a large number of students can sign up and participate in courses led by world-class instructors. Interactive user forums enable students, professors and teaching assistants to form a community. The word “Open” implies low cost and accessibility to people from around the world.

MRO Stores:  Maintenance, Repair and Operations Stores. Inventory of materials which are consumed in production operations, but are not materials or components incorporated into the finished product. MRO items include wear items such as tooling, punches and dies, saw blades, drill bits, taps; consumables such as lubricants, machine oil, cleaning suppliers, wiping rags; and replacement components to repair equipment, such as bearings, filters, screws, fuses, pumps and valves.

NTP:  Abbreviation for Notice to Proceed. NTP is communicated in a letter from the client (buyer), to the contractor (supplier), stating the date when the contractor can begin work, subject to the terms and conditions of the contract. Contract performance starts on the NTP date. Contractually stipulated project schedule dates typically refer to due dates as NTP plus number of days. Example: The final report is due at NTP + 270 days.

One-Piece Flow:  When each work piece in a workflow is passed to the next workstation as a single unit, rather than in batches. One-piece flow is really a metaphor for “smaller quantities more often” or reducing batch size down to the ideal, which is a single piece. In workflows not requiring changeover between batches, the fastest possible throughput is attained with one-piece flow.

PDCA Cycle:  Plan-Do-Check-Act is a four-step management method used for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products. The process is designed to help users work smarter, not harder. DMAIC and DMADV are specific implementations of the PDCA cycle.

Poka-Yoke:  To mistake-proof something.

RAMS Method:  (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Safety)

SKU:  Stock Keeping Unit. A specific part number for which inventory is maintained.

SMED:  Single-Minute Exchange of Die. Initially, SMED was a practice for improving utilization for stamping presses. Engineering reduced changeover time by designing die sets that could be exchanged from the stamping press in under 1 minute. SMED enabled short press runs for very small quantities between each changeover. Since this Lean practice began, the term SMED is now used to describe setup time reduction for any machine requiring changeover between batches. Lean practitioners have learned  large batch sizes are caused primarily by long setup times. Rapid changeover enables small batch sizes. By processing smaller quantities more often, production throughput is increased and manufacturing lead time is decreased.

S&OP:  Abbreviation for Sales and Operations Planning. According to the S&OP Institute, S&OP is “a set of decision making processes that balances demand and supply, integrates financial and operational planning and links high-level strategy to ongoing, day-to-day operations.”

Sensei Services:  Lean sensei is able to provide coaching and an unbiased opinion. The Sensi provides mentoring to company managers during continuous improvement projects

Shadow Board:  A vertical peg board is painted with tool or component outlines (shadows) to organize and fix the locations. Any missing tools are visually flagged by empty shadow locations. A common variation is the tool chest drawer with a cut-out foam cavity for each tool. Small tool sets, such as those required for machine set up, are commonly organized using shadow boards in a Lean 5Ss program during the “set in order” phase.

Six Sigma:  A business management strategy with the objective of improving the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of customer dissatisfaction.  The goal of any Six Sigma project is to decrease costs and/ or increase profits.

Stockout:  The condition where inventory for a specific SKU is completely depleted. Stockouts are troublesome because they disrupt production or prevent customer fulfillment.

Systems Engineering:  A field of engineering which focuses on how complex engineering projects should be designed and managed. Systems engineers cover issues/ areas such as logistics, team building and coordination, and project management. These engineers are highly focused on problem solving to achieve improvements in the areas that affect a company’s bottom line, while using the least amount of resources.

Two-Bin System:  A simple system for controlling inventory of small low value items. When the first bin is empty, the kanban card is transferred to trigger a re-order for a quantity equal to two-bins. While waiting for the order to arrive, production consumes material from the second bin. When the order arrives, both bins are replenished, the kanban card is replaced and production consumes material from the first bin. The system is reactive, since inventory is replenished according to the amount actually consumed in production.

VARK:  Four sensory modalities for learning information: Visual, Aural, Read/write, and Kinesthetic. Proposed by Fleming and Mills in 1992. Each person has a preferred and secondary learning modality. Many people need multi-modal sensory input to learn. An example: a person learning to be a mechanic needs verbal queues from the instructor while disassembling and reassembling an internal combustion engine.

VSM:  Value Stream Map. A process diagram showing every step in the material flow and information flow necessary to produce a product. A typical VSM starts with an order and ends with a delivery. Any process can be mapped, including manufacturing processes, sales processes and administrative processes. A current state value stream map (CS VSM) shows the conditions and process parameters exactly as they are. The future state value stream map (FS VSM) represents a design for an improved process, streamlined to reduce the wasted time caused by non-value-added operations.

Workflow:  A well-defined series of sequential tasks or process steps which produce a desired manufacturing or administrative outcome.