Kaizen Glossary Part 2

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Kaizen Glossary Part 1


The three super-ordinate goals of Quality, Cost, and Delivery at the heart of KAIZEN Strategy.

Quality Function Deployment

A system whereby customer requirements, known as "true quality characteristics" are translated into designing characteristics, known as "counterpart characteristics", and then deployed into such sub-systems as components, parts and production processes to develop new products precisely designed to meet customer needs. QFD is one of the Seven KAIZEN Systems.

Radar Chart

A circular chart with ten rays and spokes, one for each of the three principles and seven concepts of KAIZEN. It is used as a diagnostic tool to measure on a scale of zero (at the hub) to ten (at the rim) the degree of consistency with KAIZEN principles and concepts exhibited by an organization.

Results-Oriented Management

A style of management usually associated with controls, performance, product or "bottom line" considerations, rewards and/or punishments.

SDCA Cycle (Standardize, Do, Check, Act)

A refinement of the PDCA cycle aimed at stabilization of production processes prior to making attempts to improve.


A way of managing person-power on the line such that when demand decreases, workers can be re-deployed to areas where needed, or when demand increases, they can be deployed to areas requiring additional support. Preferred to the system of maximizing machine efficiency, which pays no attention to customer demand and TAKT time.

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.

Suggestion System

One of the Seven KAIZEN Systems, Suggestion System is an 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.


Takt Time is the rate at which each product needs to be completed to meet the customer requirements. It is the beat or pulse at which each item leaves the process. Takt Time is expressed in minutes (or fraction of minutes) per part. To determine the average takt tie for final process, divide the total daily work time by the quantity of products required each day.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

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.

Total Quality Control or Total Quality Management (TQM)

A holistic, company or even group-wide approach to quality. TQC is the "what", KAIZEN is the "how" or process of the new business paradigm. It begins and ends with people. TQC is one of the seven KAIZEN Systems.

Toyota Production System (TPS)

A methodology that resulted from over 50 years of Kaizen at Toyota, one of the most successful companies in the world. TPS is built on a foundation of Leveling, with the supporting pillars of Just-in-Time and Jidoka.

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.

Value Stream Mapping

Creating a visual picture of the 'Current State' or how material and information flows from suppliers through manufacturing and to the customer. Total lead-time, process cycle times and value-added times are measured. The Future State is created based on goals desired based on market conditions and strategic planning for the business.

Variability 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 Management

When the normal state and abnormal state can be clearly and visually defined, visual management is possible. In visual management, simple visual tools are used to identify the target state, and any deviance is met with corrective action.


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.

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. Water spiders usually are experienced workers. They know where needed parts or raw materials are stored, and serve several workstations.


Yokoten is a Japanese word meaning "horizontal deployment" and refers to the practice of copying good results of kaizen in one area to other areas. Yokoten can also apply to copying product design ideas, business processes or better machine setting, materials or methods in general. Yokoten requires a culture of "go see" information sharing between departments, both for successes and failures.

Within the 8 step practical problem solving process known as TBP (Toyota Business Practice), the yokoten activity happens in step 8.

1. Clarify the problem
2. Break down the problem
3. Set a target
4. Analyze the root cause
5. Develop countermeasures
6. See countermeasures through
7. Evaluate both results and process
8. Standardize successes, learn from failures

Within the PDCA cycle yokoten happens in the Act (A) phase, corresponding to step 8 above.

At Toyota the expectation is that kaizen is not complete until yokoten is confirmed and the learning is shared with others. Kaizen must result in a standard, and standards must be copied by others. However it is not enough to copy good kaizen, one must adapt and improve it for one's own process. Yokoten is not only to copy the physical best practice process but also the thinking that resulted in success and any background information (how it was achieved).

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