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Lean Reference Guide > Lean Dictionary

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"J" Terms
from The Continuous Improvement Companion

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  • Jidoka

    The most common definition of jidoka is ‘autonomation.’ It is Japanese in origin, as are many specialized words in Lean. Jidoka traces its roots back to the early 1900’s at Toyota in Japan, then a textile manufacturing company. Sakichi Toyoda, an inventor and the founder of Toyota, developed a device that could detect broken threads in a loom and stop the machine from producing defective material. This concept, in which intelligence was added to machines, enabled companies to greatly increase the number of machines a single operator could run—with very little extra effort on the worker’s part! With jidoka, production becomes much easier for operators and much more profitable for companies.

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  • Job Descriptions

    Job descriptions exist for nearly every position in nearly every company. They outline the overview of the job, responsibilities, work activities. They should also list job requirements, and clearly spell out which are mandatory, and which are ‘like-to-haves’.

    Job descriptions are most commonly used for recruiting purposes or during annual reviews.

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  • Job Rotation

    Job rotation is an important concept in Lean. Simply put, it is the act of periodically moving people around to different tasks, accounts, or workstations. The rotation may be on a set schedule, or on an ad hoc basis.

    Cross-training is a prerequisite for successful job rotation.

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  • Job Satisfaction (+ 9-Page Lean PDF)

    Job Satisfaction Lean Term on PDF

    Job satisfaction is important in any company, but it carries even more weight when a company is focused on continuous improvement. Employees are expected to take the initiative and they won’t if the are dissatisfied. Download a FREE 9-Page PDF to learn more about job satisfaction.

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  • Job Security

    Job security is the feeling of safety that one’s job will be there in the future. Because job security is so closely linked to basic needs, like shelter and food, people react with strong emotions when their job security is threatened. In fact, job security falls into the first level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

    On the surface, Lean and other continuous improvement efforts seem to be contrary to a person’s job security. Often, managers are excited about the prospect of improved productivity and faster employees, which loosely translates to workers as, “We won’t need as many of you to work here.”

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  • Job Shop (+ 11-Page Lean PDF)

    Job Shop Lean Term on PDF

    Applying Lean to a job shop can be a challenge, but it is also well-worth the effort. Visit this Lean term page to learn more and download a FREE 11-Page PDF about Lean job shops.

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  • Just-In-Case

    Just-in-case is a play on words of just-in-time manufacturing. Contingencies are one of the main reasons why people do many of the non-Lean activities that hurt an organization.

    • Holding inventory just-in-case a shipment is late
    • Batching some extra just-in-case there is a problem
    • Buying an extra machine just-in-case it breaks down
    • Having a big safety stock just-in-case there is a quality problem
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  • Just-in-Time Manufacturing

    Just-in-time manufacturing is the method of producing products with only a minimal amount of raw material and component parts on hand.

    The concept of just-in-time manufacturing is nothing new. Henry Ford saw value in having a minimal amount of stock on hand—a concept which Taiichi Ohno took to heart as he developed the Toyota Production System. In fact, Just in Time manufacturing is one of the central pillars of the Toyota Production System.

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