Continuous Process Improvement: Identifying and Eliminating Waste 125

This class covers process improvement through the identification and elimination of different kinds of waste.

  • Difficulty Beginner

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 18

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Objectives
  • Barriers to Flow
  • The Seven Wastes
  • Stability
  • Tools for Creating Stability
  • 5S
  • Total Productive Maintenance
  • The Six Big Losses
  • Standardization
  • Recognizing Abnormality
  • Addressing Problems and Preventing Defects
  • Jidoka
  • A3 Reports
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act
  • Using DMAIC for Process Improvement
  • Kaizen vs. Kaikaku
  • Gemba
  • Summary
  • Describe the main barriers to flow.
  • Describe the seven wastes.
  • Define stability.
  • List tools for creating stability.
  • Describe the 5S method of organization.
  • Describe total productive maintenance.
  • List the six big losses in maintenance.
  • Describe standardized work.
  • Describe andons as a tool for recognizing abnormality.
  • Describe methods for addressing problems and preventing defects.
  • Define jidoka.
  • Describe A3 problem solving reports.
  • Describe the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.
  • Describe the DMAIC process.
  • Distinguish between kaizen and kaikaku.
  • Describe gemba.
Vocabulary Term

4 Ms

An approach to stability developed by Toyota. The 4 Ms are man/woman, machine, material, and methods.


A methodology of workplace organization that consists of five sequential steps: sort, straighten, shine, standardize, and sustain.

A3 report

A Toyota-pioneered practice of getting the problem, the analysis, the corrective actions, and the action plan down on a single sheet of large (A3) paper.


A visual management tool that highlights the status of operations in an area at a single glance and that signals whenever an abnormality occurs.

automatic stop

Ensuring that a production process stops whenever a problem or defect occurs.


Also known as jidoka or automation with human intelligence. Providing machines and operators the ability to detect when an abnormal condition has occurred and immediately stop work.

autonomous maintenance

The part of total productive maintenance that emphasizes operator involvement in machine maintenance.

communications board

A centrally located visual aid for charts, announcements, and other information that helps employees implement and maintain 5S improvements.


An action taken in response to another action.

critical to quality

Specific, measurable characteristics of a product or process that are identified by customers as necessary for their satisfaction.


A five step system for process improvement. DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control.


The Japanese term for "actual place," often used for the shop floor or any place where value-creating work actually occurs.

gemba walk

A means of gathering real-time first-hand information on the status of the production process by walking around the plant and observing what is happening.


Leveling the type and quantity of production over a fixed period of time. Heijunka enables production to efficiently meet customer demands.


Also known as autonomation, or automation with human intelligence. Providing machines and operators the ability to detect when an abnormal condition has occurred and immediately stop work.


Radical, revolutionary improvement of a value stream to quickly create more value with less waste.


Continuous improvement of an entire value stream or an individual process to create more value and less waste.

kaizen event

A multi-day, hands-on event that targets a particular problem area within a company. Kaizen events, often called kaizen bursts, result in dramatic changes carried out by a cross-functional team.


Any activity that consumes resources without creating value for the customer.


Unevenness in an operation.


Overburdening of equipment or operators by requiring them to run at a higher or harder pace with more force and effort for a longer period of time than equipment designs and appropriate workforce management allow.

office TPM

The part of total productive maintenance that involves using TPM principles to improve administrative functions.

overall equipment effectiveness

A lean metric that consists of a percentage of a machine's availability, performance rate, and quality rate multiplied together. The primary goal of OEE is to keep machines running at takt time.


A four-step process used in lean manufacturing for continuous improvement.

planned maintenance

The part of total productive maintenance that helps employees and managers clean and organize their workspace through a 5-step work method.

poka yoke

A Japanese term meaning "mistake proofing." An example of poka yoke would be a machine designed so that parts can be fixtured only in the correct position.

quality maintenance

The part of total productive maintenance that focuses on keeping machines running.

root cause analysis

A study undertaken to find the first or underlying cause of a problem. Root cause analysis involves the collection and study of data to determine a true cause to a problem.


The part of total productive maintenance that covers the practices and policies that preserve the health and well-being of employees, equipment, and facilities.

scientific method

A method of investigating and discovering in which a problem is identified, a hypothesis is formulated and tested, data is collected and analyzed, and conclusions are made based on the data.


A step in 5S that requires working together to clean the work environment.

six big losses

The core problems that typically occur in maintenance.


A step in 5S that requires removing unnecessary material and clutter from the workplace.


Running a process in an even, predictable, and controlled manner.


The principle that work should be performed in a manner that ensures repeatable, predictable outcomes each time the work is done.

standardized work

A tool for standardization. Standardized work involves establishing universal methods, procedures, and performance requirements.


A step in 5S that requires identifying and documenting methods of maintaining 5S throughout the workplace.


A step in 5S that requires organizing the tools and materials in the work environment.


A step in 5S that requires maintaining 5S improvements.

target state

The revised or corrected process resulting from identifying and resolving the root cause of a problem.

total productive maintenance

An approach used in manufacturing to increase production and reduce waste through continuous attention to the condition of production machinery and facilities.


The part of total productive maintenance that involves educating staff about TPM implementation and practices.


Any change from what is normal and consistent. Variation is undesirable in lean.

visual management

A strategy for creating, supporting, and sustaining process stability through the use of visual cues.