Table 2

Lean process key terms

TermDefinition
5SA guide to organizing the work area:
Sort (eliminate that which is not needed)
Set in order (organize remaining items)
Shine (clean and inspect work area)
Standardize (write standards for above)
Sustain (regularly apply the standards)
Bottleneck analysisIdentify which part of the manufacturing process limits the overall throughput, and improve the performance of that part of the process.
Kaizen (continuous improvement)A strategy in which employees work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements in the manufacturing process.
KPI (key performance indicator)Metrics designed to track and encourage progress towards critical goals of the organization. Strongly promoted KPIs can be extremely powerful drivers of behavior, so it is important to carefully select KPIs that will drive desired behavior.
PDCAAn iterative methodology for implementing improvements:
 • Plan (establish plan and expected results)
 • Do (implement plan)
 • Check (verify expected results achieved)
 • Act (review and assess; do it again)
Root cause analysisA problem-solving methodology that focuses on resolving the underlying problem instead of applying quick fixes that only treat immediate symptoms of the problem.
A common approach is to ask why five times, each time moving a step closer to discovering the true underlying problem.
SMART goalsGoals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Specific.
Toyota production system (TPS)A manufacturing strategy developed by Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan over a period of many years. TPS focuses on the complete elimination of waste from the manufacturing process and is the progenitor of lean manufacturing.