Terms U-V


Upstream Management

One of the seven Kaizen Concepts. Upstream Management is a process whereby, through continuous improvement, first in inspection, then in the line, then in development, defects are eliminated farther and farther "upstream" in the production process.




From the perspective of the customer, those aspects or features of our products they are willing to pay for. A capability provided to a customer at the right time at an appropriate price, as defined in each case by the customer.


Value Added

Activities or actions taken that add real value to the product or service. [See: Non-Value Added] Those production steps that transform raw materials directly into the features for which the customer assigns value.


Value Analysis

Evaluating the total lead-time and value-added time to identify the percentage spent in value added activities. With this activity, a process improvement team strips the process down to its essential elements. The team isolates the activities that in the eyes of the customer actually add value to the product or service. The remaining non value-adding activities ("waste") are targeted for extinction. 


Value Chain

Activities outside of your organization that add value to your final product, such as the value adding activities of your suppliers.


Value Engineering

The set of specific actions required to bring a specific product through three critical management tasks of any business. See: Problem-solving, Information management and physical transformation.


Value Stream

All of the actions, both value-creating and non value-creating, required to bring a product from concept to launch and from order to delivery. These include actions to process information from the customer and actions to transform the product. The specific activities required to design, order and provide a specific product, from concept to launch, order to delivery, and raw materials into the hands of the customer.


Value Stream Mapping (Value Chain Map)

1) A visual picture of how material and information flows from suppliers, through manufacturing, to the customer. It includes calculations of total cycle time and value-added time. Typically written for the current state of the value chain and the future, to indicate where the business is going.

2) Highlights the sources of waste and eliminates them by implementing a future state value stream that can become reality within a short time.

3) Also known as Lean Value Stream Mapping, is an incredibly powerful tool for helping people think about flow. Kaizen, or other improvement efforts, are more effective when applied as part of a strategic plan for building a lean value stream. NOTE: Typical improvement efforts are disappointing, isolated victories, but failing to improve the whole value stream. Mapping the entire value stream should proceed jumping into waste elimination.



Control and Recurrence Prevention One of the seven Kaizen Concepts. This is often called "Ask why five times" because it seeks through curious questioning to arrive at the root cause of a problem so that problem can be eliminated once and for all.


Visible Management

The presentation of a wide variety of information in the workplace. Such information may pertain to jobs themselves, to the business as a whole, to how work teams are progressing on a project. Kanban cards are examples of Visible Management, as are storage bins with sample pans displayed, tool shadow boards, storyboards, etc.


Visual Control

1) The placement in plain view of all tools, parts, production activities, and indicators of production system performance so everyone involved can understand the status of the system at a glance.

2) Displaying the status of an activity so every employee can see it and take appropriate action. 3) Creating standards in the workplace that make it obvious if anything is out of order.


Visual Factory

1) A facility in which anyone can know in 5 minutes or less the who, what, where, when, how, and why of any work area, without talking to anyone, opening a book, or turning on a computer.

2) Within a facility the creation of a visual language in the workplace to distinguish quickly between normality and abnormality and Illustrate waste in a manner that is obvious to everyone. NOTE: Notice that the concepts and techniques of the Visual Factory apply equally well to non-factory environments such as engineering, purchasing, payroll and human resource departments.


Visual Management

System enabling anyone to quickly spot abnormalities in the workplace, regardless of their knowledge of the process.


Visual Scheduling

Used to communicate priority and sequence along with other pull techniques - Heijunka Box, Kanban Cards, CanWIP (Constant Work In Process). NOTE: Necessary because all too often the forecasts are wrong, the master schedule is overloaded, the rough cut capacity planning standards are unrealistic, labor and machinery aren't available as planned, and materials arrive earlier or later than expected. 


Visual Workplace and 5S Campaigns 

Often the first thing to do when implementing JIT is to clean and organize the workplace. 5S - Five Japanese words; seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, shitsuke. Variously translated as sort, store, shine, standardize, and self-discipline. The first step is a Red Tag Campaign where unnecessary items are identified and removed. Next comes arranging - a place for everything and everything in its place. Visual communications and controls give operators a chance to know what needs to be done and when. 

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