Cited Lean Terminology




Visual management tool giving a visual indication typically a Stacked, coloured light Green, Yellow, and Red of process condition/problems. Sometimes sound jingles are used.

Catch – ball 

An alignment process between levels in the organisation as ideas are thrown back and forth


In lean the coach avoids giving instructions or solutions but by using a Socratic questioning style to stimulate the coachee’s thinking on how to solve problems and develop lean thinking capability. 

Five S

A workplace organisation methodology to make a workplace highly efficient in terms of where needed items are stored. It refers back to 5 Japanese terms translated to English equivalents, (Sort, Setup, Shine, Standardise & Sustain).

Five Why’s

An effective and simple Cause & Effect problem-solving tool by repeatedly asking Why till the Root Cause is uncovered.

Flow (production)

A range of methodologies to attain a steady predictable flow of production that speeds up throughput and allows for many stoppages to be eliminated.


Refers to the place where value is created e.g., production floor, or staff workstation/desk.

Gemba walk

The Lean practice for Executives and management of obtaining direct unfiltered information from the source. Also called “Go and See” to understand, aid solving problems and acting only afterward. Often also to verify information elsewise provided.

Gemba coaching

A very useful tool in the hands of Executives and Leaders to coach staff and develop their capability using a Socratic style of questioning, challenge, and support for cultural change.


A method of self-reflection to extract learning from successful as well as unsuccessful projects and become a Learning entity.


A tool to level throughput over time and even workload across operators.

Hoshin Kanri

A Strategy Deployment system that ensures alignment across functions and levels in the entity, is cascaded initially Top Down and then through catch-ball process Bottom Up till agreement is reached. Developed by Bridgestone and later adopted by Toyota and others.


A continuous improvement system of two levels: one Project kaizen across a Value Stream and the second Process Kaizen where low-cost small changes are implemented by Frontline operations.


A signaling system to self-regulate production orders by a customer process to an upstream process and prevents Overproduction and high WIP.

Leader Standard Work

The methodology to assist Leaders to develop their staff capability also utilising other tools like Gemba coaching etc.

Lean Accounting

Often called throughput accounting to reflect real-time info allowing real-time decision making for managers and frontline vs batch style historical reporting.

Lean Management System

Refers to the system of Lean practices deployed to manage the lean process implemented and assure accountability.

Learn by Doing

A training methodology by embedding concepts through physical performing, trial, and error, etc.

Learning organisation

Instilling the curiosity and appetite to understand your processes and people by continuous learning. The scientific method is typically used.


The process of preparing support for a project through advanced communication and consensus.

Lean Thinking

The objective is to consider the entire value stream from a perceived customer value perspective, by reviewing Purpose, Process and People to maximise the Value-Add and eliminate waste and non-Value-added steps. 5 sequential stages are followed: 1. Specify Value from the customer viewpoint. 2. Identify the Value Stream. 3. Make the Value creating steps Flow. 4. Let the customer Pull the product and 5. Seek perfection through Continuous Improvement.


Overall Equipment Effectiveness is a composite measure comprising of the product of three ratios: Availability %, Production rate%, and Quality rate % and is used to target the most effective contributors to a lack of throughput efficiency.


Designating Plan, Do, Check and Act as the sequence for implementing improvement introduced by Edward Deming.

Poka Yoke

 Also called error-proofing using methods to prevent errors

Standardized Work

Provide detailed instructions on key steps to ensure the required production rate is achieved, the precise sequence, and inventory are maintained.

Scientific method approach

By answering hypothesis through objective evidence obtained through trial and error.


Theory of Constraints is an approach developed by Dr. Goldratt on how to remove bottlenecks in a process thus improving throughput and ultimately Flow.


Developed by Denso, Total Productive Maintenance aims to ensure equipment availability is maximised and maintenance activities improved to achieve minimal downtime.


Based on the PDCA system of Deming, Total Quality Control aims to ensure continuous improvement in quality.

True North

Describes the long-term overall purpose of being an organisation, including the Why, How, Vision Philosophies and Values.

Value Add

Actions that are valued by the customer. In Lean thinking, Value-add is to be maximised and non-Value Add minimised.

Value Stream

All processes involved from order to delivery are considered the Value Stream.

Value Stream Map

Mapping the entire value stream both product/service flow including communications pictorially is particularly useful in Lean Thinking realisation.

Visual Management

The management concept to have all key information required to effectively manage the product or service are visually displayed, up to date, and readable at a distance to ensure timely decisions and actions.


Activities consuming resources yet delivering little or no value are considered waste.


Inventory of partly produced products between stages


The concept of sharing ideas, solutions new learnings across the entity.