Term O-P


One Piece Flow

  1. A manufacturing philosophy which supports the movement of product from one workstation to the next, one piece at a time, without allowing inventory to build up in between.
  2. The concept of reducing production batch/lot sizes to minimal size, preferably to a single unit. This can have dramatic affects on raw material, WIP, and finished goods inventories, as well as on production lead times, quality, and costs.

One Point Lessons

Short visual presentations on a single point. A simple yet powerful learning and operational tool. When applied systematically throughout the work site, one-point lessons provide many benefits in deploying just-in-time knowledge and skills across an organization. One-point lessons have three purposes: - To sharpen job-related knowledge and skills by communicating information about specific problems and improvements. - To easily share important information just-in-time. - To improve the team's performance.


One-Touch Exchange of Dies (OTED)

Literally, changing a tool with one physical motion such as pushing a button; broadly, an extremely simple procedure for performing a setup activity. The reduction of die set-up where die setting is reduced to a single step. [See: Single Minute Exchange of Die, Internal Setup, or External Setup]


Order Point

A system for controlling stock room inventory based on consumption and supplier replenishment time. Loosely related to Kanban. Order point = Average daily demand * (replenishment time + safety lead time).


Operating Expenses

The money the required for the system to convert inventory into throughput.



A series of tasks grouped together such that the sum of the individual task times is equal to the takt time (cycle time to meet product demand requirements). It is important to distinguish between operations and activities. Operations are used to balance work content in a flow manufacturing process in order to achieve a particular daily output rate equal to customer demand. An operation defines the amount of work content performed by each operator in order to achieve a balanced flow and linear output rate. [See: Process, Sub-Process]


Operator Cycle Time

The time it takes for a person to complete a predetermined sequence of operations, inclusive of loading and unloading, exclusive of time spent waiting.


Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

A measure of the performance of a machine relative to its intended design performance. Detracting from optimum performance are:

  • Machine Down Time
  • Below-spec feeds and speeds
  • Process Yield
  • Non-staffed time
  • Overproduction Producing more, sooner or faster than is required by the next process.



 A technique for pacing a process based on takt time.


Pacemaker Process

Any process along a value stream that sets the pace for the entire stream. (The pacemaker process should not be confused with a bottleneck process which necessarily constrains downstream processes due to a lack of capacity.)


Pareto Chart (Diagram)

 1) A graphic tool for ranking causes of problems from the most significant to the least. It is based on the Pareto Principle that most effects come from twenty percent of the possible causes. The Pareto Chart is one of the seven basic tools of quality.

2) A tool (histogram or vertical bar chart) used for analyzing the relative occurrence of defects, developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, circa A.D. 1900. Pareto's Law refers to Pareto's observation that wealth distribution generally ranges eighty percent for twenty percent of the population; fifteen percent for thirty percent of the population and five percent for fifty percent of the population.


Part or Product Family

A group of parts, components or assemblies which follow a common process, have similar technical and manufacturing requirements, and therefore, can be run on a single production line.



Always optimizing value-added activities and eliminating waste.


Physical Transformation Task

The task of taking a specific product from raw materials to a finished product in the hands of the customer. [See: Value Stream]



The pace and flow of a product. Pitch is generally determined by the takttime or customer demand for a product and the pack-out quantity per box or package. Example: Takt time is 1 minute/piece. The box holds 12 pieces. The Pitch is 12 minutes.


PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Act)

An adaptation of the Deming wheel. While the Deming wheel stresses the need for constant interaction among research, design, production, and sales, the PDCA Cycle asserts that every managerial action can be improved by careful application of the sequence: plan, do, check, action (see also SDCA Cycle).

  • Plan: Senior management should use the visioning process in the context of its Business Plan. HP (Hoshin Planning) translates the Business Plans to action plans, meaningful to all levels of the organization.
  • Do: Answer the what’s, how’s, and who’s for the total number of tiers for your organization; remember, the fewer the number of tiers, the better. Also, this is the time to bring management together and provide them with a basic understanding of HP mechanics.
  • Check: On a periodic basis, review the measurements and note what you’ve learned that can help in the future.
  • Act; Make the necessary adjustments to plans and priorities in order to ensure the success of the strategy breakthroughs.

Point Kaizen

An improvement activity intensely directed at a single workstation, performed quickly by two or three specialists. Typically follows a full-blown kaizen event.


Point of Use (POU) Inventory

Storage of raw and in process inventory at a location that is in the proper place for efficient use. Point of use is basically on line or in cell storage. The degree of POU is limited by the configuration of the cell/line and the replenishment time associated with the feeding process/supplier.



1) A Japanese word for mistake proofing

2) A poka yoke device prevents a human error from affecting a machine or process; prevents operator mistakes from becoming defects.

3) A mistake-proofing device or procedure to prevent a defect during order taking or manufacture. - An order-taking example is a screen for order input developed from traditional ordering patterns that question orders falling outside the pattern. The suspect orders are then examined, often leading to the discovery of inputting errors or buying based on misinformation. - A manufacturing example is a set of photocells in parts containers along an assembly line to prevent components from progressing to the next stage with missing parts. A poka-yoke is sometimes called a baka-yok.



Describes long- and medium-range management orientations as well as annual goals or targets. Another aspect of policy is that it is composed of both goals and measures. Goals are usually quantitative figures established by top management, such as sales, profit, and market share targets. Measures, on the other hand, are the specific action programs to achieve these goals. A goal that is not expressed in terms of such specific measures is merely a slogan. It is imperative that top management determine both the goals and the measures and then "deploy" them down throughout the organization.


Policy Deployment

1) Matching the strategic business goals of an organization to its available resources. Communicating those goals throughout the organization and linking everyone to the same objectives.

2) The process of implementing the policies of a Kaizen program directly through line managers and indirectly through cross-functional organization. It involves the selection of goals, projects to achieve the goals, designation of people and resources for project completion, and establishment of project metrics. [Same as Hoshin Kanri]


Policy Prioritization 

A technique to ensure maximum utilization of resources at all levels of management in the process of policy deployment. Top management's policy statement must be restated at all management levels in increasingly specific and action oriented goals, eventually becoming precise quantitative values.


Predictive Maintenance

Performing maintenance activities on machines based on several predictive measures:

  • Monitoring of run time
  • Life of machine part based on statistical analysis
  • Sensing of temperatures and pressures
  • Listening to high frequency machine generated noises

Preventative Maintenance

Performing routine maintenance on machinery based on fixed schedules related to either clock or run time or both.


Principles of Kaizen

The three bedrock principles upon which KAIZEN thinking and organizational culture are based.

1. Process and Results

2. Systemic Thinking

3. Non- Judgmental (Non-Blaming)


Problem Solving Task

 The task of taking a specific product from concept through detailed design and engineering to production launch. [See Value Stream]



The flow of material in time and space. The accumulation of sub-processes, or operations that transform material from raw material to finished products.


Process and Results

1) One of the three foundation principles of KAIZEN thinking. It is contrasted with results only, the common old paradigm approach which ignores the way in which things are done, and so misses any opportunity for systematic improvement.

2) Can also be stated as Process Creates Results.


Process Capability

The measured, inherent reproducibility of the product turned out by a process. The most widely adopted formula for process capability (Cp) is:

Process Capability (Cp) = 6 sigma = Total Tolerance/6, where sigma = the standard deviation of the process under a state of statistical control.


Process Capability Index

A measure of the ability of a set of actions (process) to deliver a result within a specified range. Abbreviated as CPK

Cpk = Lesser of Cpu or Cpl where:

Cpu = (upper Specification - Process Mean) / 3 sigma and Cpl = (process Mean - Lower Specification) / 3sigma

Interpretation of the Cpk index is generally as follows:

  • > 1.33: More than adequate
  • between 1.00 and 1.33: Adequate, but must be monitored as it approaches 1.00
  • between .67 and 1.00: Not adequate for the job
  • < 0.67: Totally inadequate

Process Capacity Table

 A chart primarily used in a machining environment that compares machine load to available capacity.


Process Kaizen

Improvements made at an individual process or in a specific area. Sometimes called "point kaizen". Continuous improvement through incremental improvements. [Same as Kaizen]


Processing Time

The time a product is actually being worked on in a machine or work area.


Production Kanban

A visual signal used to initiate the production process. The number of cards is calculated by:

  • # cards = (average daily demand * (replenishment time +safety))
  • # of pieces in a container

See Kanban


Production Smoothing

A process of managing top-level demand (through the master production schedule) that results in lower demand variability. Production smoothing involves a tradeoff between capacity and short-term customer requirements. See Heijunka



Understood in contrast to the KAIZEN concept, Market-In. Assumes that whatever a company knows how to make and when, is good enough to satisfy customer requirements.


Project Management

 A set of disciplines intended to turn the management of non-repetitive activities into a science. First developed by NASA for the Apollo Program. Key concepts:

  • WBS - work breakdown structure; a hierarchical breakdown of the deliverables
  • RBS - resource breakdown structure; a breakdown of the skill groups impacting the deliverables
  • OBS - organizational breakdown structure; the assignment of resources to management units
  • PERT - an activity network defining interrelationships
  • GANTT - a bar graph showing sequence of activities & progress

Pull System 

1) One of the 3 elements of JIT.

2) A process for production by reducing inventories.

3) A manufacturing planning system based on communication of actual real-time needs from downstream operations ultimately final assembly or the equivalent - as opposed to a push system which schedules upstream operations according to theoretical downstream results based on a plan which may not be current. 


Push System

In contrast to the pull system, product is pushed into a process, regardless of whether it is needed. The pushed product goes into inventory, and lacking a pull signal from the customer indicating that it has been bought, more of the same product could be overproduced and put in i



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