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Lean Reference Guide > Lean Dictionary

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"T" Terms
from The Continuous Improvement Companion

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  • Taiichi Ohno

    Taiichi Ohno (February 29, 1912-May 28,1990) is considered by many to be the father of the Toyota Production System. He eventually rose to the rank of executive vice president in the company.

    While Ohno had many innovative ideas and published several landmark books (see them and other books about him here), perhaps his biggest creative leap was integrating the American supermarket system of resupply into the automotive industry. He was able to lay the foundation for kanban systems, pull, and one-piece flow by changing the way components were supplied to production processes.

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  • Takt Time (+13-Page Lean PDF +Video +Tool)

    Takt Time Lean Term on PDF

    Takt time is the required pace of production. Managing with it adds a great deal of stability to an organziation. Watch a few short videos, and download a FREE 13-Page PDF about takt time.

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  • Takt Time Calculator

    Takt Time Calculator

    This Lean tool helps you quickly calculate your takt time.

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  • Target Condition

    When most people think of goal setting, KPIs, or improvement metrics in general, they tend to focus on targets. A lead time of 2 days is a target. 97% on time delivery is a target. Productivity of 7.6 units per labor hour is a target.

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  • Team

    In its purest form, the definition of a team is “a group of people associated with each other for some form of joint action or activity.” The word choice for this definition is very deliberate. Some definitions add in verbiage that implies effectiveness. Examples include ‘common goal’, ‘working together’, ‘organized’, ‘focused’, etc. That terminology is misleading, as not all teams agree on common goals, and there may be teams that are unfocused.

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  • Theory of Constraints

    The “Theory of Constraints” is the management philosophy of Eliyahu M. Goldratt. He introduced it in his 1984 book, The Goal.

    The overall premise is that a system can only produce as fast as the slowest step. The throughput of the system, therefore, can be improved with a focused effort to improve that step, the constraint

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  • Therbligs

    In the early 1900’s, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth refined a system of analyzing work to improve processes. They focused on identifying the core ‘motion cycles’ that combined to form work activities.

    This detailed understanding of work let them identify inefficiencies and eliminate waste.

    The name ‘Therblig’ comes from a reversal of the letters of their name, using the ‘th’ as a single letter.

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  • Time Management

    Time management is the act of consciously planning out how one spends the hours and minutes of a day. For structured, repetitive production work, most people tend to be fairly good at managing their time. When the demand is not so consistent, though, people tend to squander a lot more of this precious resource.

    Time management has two basic aspects to it. The first is that you have to be selective in what you do. The second lies in being efficient and more importantly, effective in how you do things.

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  • Time Observation Sheet (+Form +Video)

    Time Observation Sheet

    The Time Observation Sheet is used to establish cycle times for Standard Work.

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    TIMWOOD is a mnemonic device used to help people remember the different forms of waste associated with Lean. These seven wastes are widely accredited to Taiichi Ohno.

    The TIMWOOD Acronym

    • Transportation: Moving materials from one place to another is a waste of transportation
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  • Tooling

    Tooling is a generic term for any of the variety of equipment associated with production machines, especially ones that do fabrication. Cutting tools, dies, precision clamps, injection molds, jigs, and fixtures all fall into this category.

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  • Tools, Lean

    See Lean Tools.

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  • Total Productive Maintenance

    Total Productive Maintenance keeps machines operational in a way that supports production processes. Total Productive Maintenance combines routine scheduled preventative maintenance with predictive maintenance to limit the impact machine downtime has on operations.

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  • Toyota® Production System

    The Toyota® Production System began in earnest in post World War II Japan as a way of managing operations in a challenging economic time.

    The Toyota Production System really began as a synthesis of Henry Ford’s operations and those of the U.S. supermarket system.

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  • TPM

    See Total Productive Maintenance.

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  • TPS

    TPS is the acronym for the Toyota Production System. TPS is more of a business philosophy than a production system, though. It focuses on manufacturing and logistics, but doesn’t neglect the human aspect of production.

    TPS was founded in large part by Taiichi Ohno. TPS can trace its origins back to the early days of Ford and American supermarkets. Mr. Ohno was impressed with the way supermarkets ordered their inventory. He combined it with the positive things he saw from Ford to form the foundation of TPS.

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  • Training (+ 7-Page Lean PDF)

    Training Lean Term on PDF

    Download a 7-page Lean PDF file on different styles of continuous improvement training. Part of our Continuous Improvement Companion.

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  • Training Plan

    Training does not happen by accident. Building an effective team requires planning. This training plan should, at the minimum, consider the following:

    • The overall needs of the organization
    • An assessment of the current skills of the team
    • Training capabilities
    • Training goals
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  • Transportation Waste

    See Waste of Transportation.

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  • Tribal Knowledge

    Tribal knowledge is the unwritten collective wisdom of an organization. It refers to the tradition of tribes handing information down from generation to generation in the time before the written word was developed.

    In the same fashion, when information is not document properly, it must be passed from employee to employee.

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  • Trust

    Trust is an important part of continuous improvement. Team members have to believe their bosses. They have to be sure that making gains won’t cost them their jobs and that making mistakes on projects won’t get them in trouble.

    Lean requires a great deal of autonomy from frontline employees. Lean leaders need to trust them to make decisions on their own and to act in line with the needs of the company.

    Employees also have to trust each other. They need to know that if they help other people when their workload is low that they will be helped out when they see a spike in demand.

    Trust comes in two basic flavors. The first is honesty. It simply means that a person can be taken at his or her word. And to be clear, lying by omission is still lying. And being intentionally deceitful, even if the message is technically true, is also still lying.

    The second form of trust relates to behaviors. It is confidence that a person will act in a predictable, appropriate manner. That means that he follows through on what he says he will do, and that he lives up to expectations. It means that employees will be where they are supposed to be and will do what they’re supposed to do, even when managers are not around. And it means that managers will protect their employees and look out for their well-being.

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  • Two-Bin System (Kanban)

    A two-bin system is a kanban method used to simplify replenishment on a production line.

    The process is simple. An operator pulls from one bin until it is empty, and then, depending on how the kanban card is attached, either turns in the kanban card (if fastened by hook and pile), or turns in the whole bin (if the card is permanently fixed).

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