Terms S-T


Safety Stock

Material kept on hand to deal with variation: demand, production, and quality.


SDCA Cycle 

Stand for: standardize, do, check, action - a refinement of the PDCA Cycle wherein management decides first to establish the standard before performing the regular PDCA function. [See: PDCA]



 The name of a Japanese management practice taken from the Japanese words "sei", which means manufacturing, and "ban", which means number. A Seiban number is assigned to all parts, materials, and purchase orders associated with a particular customer job, or with a project, or anything else. This enables a manufacturer to track everything related with a particular product, project, or customer. It also facilitates setting aside inventory for specific projects or priorities. That makes it great for project and build-to-order manufacturing. 



1) One who provides information; a teacher, instructor, or rabbi.

2) An outside master or teacher that assists in implementing lean practices.


Sequential Changeover (Sequential Set-up)

(When changeover times are within Takt time, changeovers can be performed one after another in a flow line.) Assures that the lost time for each process in the line is minimized to one Takt beat. A set-up team or expert follows the operator, so that by the time the operator has made one round of the flow line (at Takt time), it has been completely changed over to the next product.


Setup Time

Work required to change over a machine or process from one item or operation to the next item or operation; can be divided into two types: Internal (work that can be done only when the machine or process is not actively engaged in production) OR External (work that can be done concurrently with the machine set up time).


Setup-Time Reduction

A process for improving production uptime by reducing the time it takes to setup the equipment. The goal is to perform all external processes prior to set-up and to minimize the internal processes. (See SMED)


Seven Wastes

Taiichi Ohno¹s original catalog of the wastes commonly found in physical production. These are overproduction ahead of demand, waiting for the next processing stop, unnecessary transport of materials, overprocessing of parts due to poor tool and product design, inventories more than the absolute minimum, unnecessary movement by employees during the course of their work, and production of defective parts. (see Muda)



Continually optimizing the number of workers in a work center to meet the type and volume of demand imposed on the work center. NOTE: Shojinka requires workers trained in multiple disciplines; work center layout, such as U-shaped or circular, that supports a variable number of workers performing the tasks in the layout; the capability to vary the manufacturing process as appropriate to fit the demand profile. 



The leader of the team whose job is to design and engineer a new product and it into production.


Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)

A series of techniques designed for changeovers of production machinery in less than ten minutes. Obviously, the long-term objective is always Zero Setup, in which changeovers are instantaneous and do not interfere in any way with continuous flow. Literally, changing a die on a forming or stamping machine in less than a minute; broadly, the ability to perform any setup activity in less than a minute of machine or process downtime; the key to doing this is frequently the capability to convert internal setup time to external setup time; variations on SMED include:


Single-Digit Setup

Performing a setup activity in a single-digit number of minutes, i.e. fewer than ten.


Single-Piece Flow

A situation in which products proceed, one complete product at a time, through various operations in design, order taking, and production, without interruptions, backflows, or scrap. (Also known as One-Piece Flow).


Six Sigma

A structured process improvement program for achieving virtually zero defects (3.4 parts per million) in manufacturing and business processes. Six Sigma is a tool used in reducing process variation within a single process.



"Creative thinking", "inventive idea" or capitalizing on workers suggestions This is also what Westerns have adopted as an 8th type of Waste ( non-utilization of peoples brain talent


Sojinka (See Flexible Manning)


Spaghetti Chart or Diagram

A pictorial representation of the path a product follows through a production process.


Speak With Data 

One of the Seven Kaizen Concepts. Refers to the importance of collecting solid evidence wherever possible before making decisions. Stresses the importance of going to Gemba and collecting data from the source.


SQA (Supplier Quality Assistance)

As part of GWQC (Group Wide Quality Control), it is essential that this system is in place to make sure that incoming materials and components meet quality specifications.


Standard Costing

A method of determining the resources ($) required to produce a unit of production. Pioneered by GM in the 1920’s and 30’s so that its management could make decisions about which models to produce, the standard cost system bases the “cost” of a product on the number of hours of direct labor applied to that product. Non-direct activities are lumped in an overhead pool and then allocated based on ratio’s of direct labor to products produced in the analysis period.


Standard Deviation

A statistical measure of variation based on the normal distribution curve.


Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

Documented procedures for performing a function or set of functions. May be based on policy or technical requirements.


Standard Operations

The best combination of people and machines utilizing the minimum amount of labor, space, inventory and equipment.


Standard Work

(The term “standard” is one of the most confused terms in our profession. "Standards" really means work processes. Most technicians often feel that standards inhibit their personal creativity. To the contrary, standards will give the worker the power to make changes.) 1) Specifying tasks to the best way to get the job done in the amount of time available while ensuring the job is done right the first time, every time.

2) A precise description of each work activity specifying Cycle Time, Takt Time, the work sequence of specific tasks, and the minimum inventory of parts on hand needed to conduct the activity.

 3) As defined at Toyota, this is the optimum combination of workers, machines and materials. It includes - [1] Production to TAKT time, [2] Defined work sequence, and [3] Standard work in process.


Standard Work Combination Sheet

A document showing the sequence of production steps assigned to a single operator:, used to illustrate the best combination of worker and machine.


Standard Work in Process

Minimum material required to complete one cycle of operator work without delay.


Standard Work Layout

A diagram of a work station or cell showing how standard work is accomplished.



One of the Seven Kaizen Systems. Pertains to enhancing and enforcing standards throughout an organization.



A set of policies, rules, directives and procedures established by management and workers for all major operations which serve as guidelines enabling all employees to perform their work in the best, easiest, healthiest and safest way currently known. These involve comparison with accepted norms, such as are set by regulatory bodies. Example: "Meeting the Good Manufacturing Practice" criteria set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Statistical Fluctuations

Kinds of information that cannot be precisely predicted.


Statistical Quality Control (SQC) 

The use of statistical tools (Pareto Charts, Histograms, Check Cause-and-Effect Diagrams, etc.) to ensure that machines are within acceptable tolerances, or to solve quality problems through the use of tools.


Stop-The-Line Authority

When abnormalities occur, workers have power to stop the process and prevent the defect or variation from being passed along.


Strategy Deployment See "Hoshin Planning".


Sub- Optimization

1) A condition where gains made in one activity are offset by losses in another activity or activities (created by the same actions creating gains in the first activity).

 2) Optimizing each piece of equipment; keeping all machines running, no matter the cost or consequence. Typically this inflates the number-one cost of production: material.



A series of operations combined. Part of a process.


Suggestion System 

(One of the Seven Kaizen Systems) A essential part of individual-oriented Kaizen, its design is carefully plotted, implemented and communicated. Scrupulous attention is paid to top management responsiveness, and to developing a system of feedback, recognition, and rewards.



A group of products (usually situated either at the end of the production line or in close proximity to the “customer”) which is stored to respond to instantaneous demand. Supermarket stock levels are determined through an understanding of the customer demand patterns, a company’s service policy and the production line’s replenishment rate for all products which it makes.


Supplier Kanban

A method of signaling replenishment requirements to suppliers.



A system is the infrastructure that enables the processes to provide value to the customer. Business systems are comprised of market, customer, competition, organizational culture, environmental and technological influences, regulatory issues, physical resources, procedures, information flows, and knowledge sets. It is through physical processes that business systems transform inputs to outputs and, thereby, deliver products and services of value in the marketplace.


System Kaizen

Improvement aimed at an entire value stream.



Takt Time

A German term for rhythm; the allowable time to produce one product at the rate customers are demanding it. This is NOT the same as cycle time, which is the normal time to complete an operation on a product (which should be less than or equal to takt time). The available production time divided by the rate of customer demand. For example, if customers demand 240 widgets per day and the factory operations 480 minutes per day, takt time is two minutes; if customers want two new products designed per month, takt time is two weeks. Takt time sets the pace of production to match the rate of customer demand and becomes the heartbeat of any lean system.


Taylor, Frederick Winslow (1856-1915)

An American industrial engineer, who originated scientific management in business. He was born in Germantown (now part of Philadelphia), Pennsylvania. In 1878, he began working at the Midvale Steel Company. He became foreman of the steel plant and applied himself to studies in the measurement of industrial productivity. Taylor developed detailed systems intended to gain maximum efficiency from both workers and machines in the factory. These systems relied on time and motion studies, which help determine the best methods for performing a task in the least amount of time. In 1898 he became joint discoverer of the Taylor-White process, a method of tempering steel. Taylor served as consulting engineer for several companies. His management methods were published in The Principles of Management. 



A proposal, proposition, or suggestion. A teian system can be likened to a system which allows and encourages workers to actively propose process and product improvements. 


Theory of Constraints (TOC)

A management hypothesis developed by Eli Goldratt and documented in his book “The Goal”. The theory states that within a production operation, machines, equipment and resources should not be viewed as a set of independent variables but instead should be viewed as an interconnected chain of dependent variables. With this view, there is a single constraint for each set of interconnected operations and this constraint the results (capacity) for all other related operations.


Three Ds (3Ds)

Dirty, dangerous, difficult.



The rate the system generates money through sales.


Throughput Time

A measure of the actual throughput time for a product to move through a flow process once the work begins. Many people incorrectly label this measure as manufacturing lead time but it is actually a small subset and often has little to do with the total time from order inception to fulfillment.


Time Based Strategy

Organizing business objectives around economy-of-time principles.


Total Employee Involvement (TEI)

Building a culture and practice of involvement and responsibility in every person in the organization


Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

  1. Aims at maximizing equipment effectiveness throughout the entire life of the equipment. It involves such basic elements as a routine maintenance system, education in basic housekeeping, problem-solving skills, and activities to achieve zero breakdowns. TPM is one of the Seven Kaizen Systems.
  2. A series of methods, originally pioneered to ensure that every machine in a production process is always able to perform its required tasks so that production is never interrupted.

It has five goals:

  1. Maximize equipment effectiveness (improve overall efficiency).
  2. Develop a system of maintenance for the life of the equipment.
  3. Involve all departments that plan, design, use, or maintain equipment.
  4. Actively involve all employees
  5. Promote TPM through small group activities

Total Quality Control (TQC)

1) A holistic, company or even group-wide approach to quality.

2) TQC is the "what", Kaizen is the "how" or process of the new business paradigm. It begins and ends with people.

3) TQC is one of the seven Kaizen Systems. Organized Kaizen activities involving everyone in the company - managers and workers - in a totally integrated effort toward improving performance at every level. This improved performance is directed toward satisfying such cross-functional goals as quality, cost, scheduling, manpower development, and new product development. It is assumed that these activities ultimately lead to increased customer satisfaction. (Also referred to as CWQC - Company-Wide Quality Control.)



Changed from the true form, Toyoda, meaning abundant rice field, by the Toyota marketing department. Toyoda is the family name of the founders of the Toyota Motor Company.


Toyota Production System

Based on some of the first principles of Henry Ford, this describes the philosophies of one of the world’s most successful companies. The foundation of TPS is production smoothing. The supports are just-in-time and jidoka. See: Lean Production 

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