Terms W-X



A term in TQC that refers to things that are not yet problems, but are still not quite right. They are often the starting point of improvement activities because if left untended they may develop into serious problems. In Gemba, it is usually the operators who first notice Warusa-Kagen, and who therefore are on the front line of improvement.



Any activity that consumes resources but creates no value for the customer.


Water-Spider (Mizusumashi) 

A person who manages all the logistical work of bringing components, raw materials, etc. in small quantities to work stations to minimize work-in- process inventories. This allows machines to be placed closer together, and spares the operator from having to interrupt his/her cycle time, thus minimizing transportation muda. Usually are experienced workers who know where needed parts or raw materials are stored, and serve several workstations.


Withdrawal Kanban

A visual signal that notifies the transportation department to move a bin of parts from its production location to its consumption location.


World Class Manufacturing (WCM)

The philosophy of being the best, the fastest, and the lowest cost producer of a product or service while implying the constant improvement of products, processes, and services to remain an industry leader and provide the best choice for customers, regardless of where they are in the process. 


Work in Process (WIP)

 Product or inventory in various stages of completion throughout the plant, from raw material to completed product.


Work Sequence

The correct steps the operator takes, in the order in which they should be taken.




Produced product related to scheduled product.


Zero Handling 

Zero handling in JIT means eliminating all non-value-adding activities. Boothroyd and Dewhurst stated in 1983 "Design is the first stage in manufacturing and is therefore the single most important process in contributing to both manufacturing costs and labor requirements" So, zero-handling means reducing (namely by redesigning) non-value adding activities. 


Zero Inventories 

Inventories, including work in process, finished goods and sub-assemblies, have to be reduced to zero. There will be no sub-assemblies, no work in process and no finished goods. NOTE: This means a different view then in traditional manufacturing, where inventories are seen as a buffer against a fluctuating demand, or as a buffer against unreliable suppliers. Also, in traditional manufacturing inventory was build up to make sure expensive machines were running for full capacity, because only then the hourly costs were as low as possible. 


Zero Lead-Time

 Zero lead-time is a result of the usage of small lots and increases the flexibility of the system. When there are no lead-times, the possibility of planning without relying on forecasts becomes larger. NOTE: The JIT philosophy recognizes that in some markets it is impossible to have zero lead-times, but makes clear that when a firm focuses on reducing lead-times, this firm can manufacture more flexible, and is more flexible, than other manufacturers in the same market. 


Zero Set-up Time

Reducing the set up-times leads to a more predictable production. No set-up time also leads to a shorter production time/production cycle, and less inventories.  

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