No I’m not talking about a dictionary that is leaning to one side.  I’m talking about a dictionary of some of the continuous improvement manufacturing terms you see in my blogs.  This is not the “official” definitions of these terms.  This is my, simple Okie explanation of what these terms mean.  So here it goes.

Lean  Lean itself is a method attempting to identify everything that is not needed in your production process.  You seek out anything that the customer isn’t willing to pay you for. It looks at what is called the eight wastes (some say the seven wastes)

     Transportation Waste:  Moving things too far or too often

     Inventory Waste:  Making more than is immediately needed. It ties up resources in time, space, money and manpower.

     Motion Waste: Un-needed movement, reaching, lifting, bending, twisting.  Staging things properly the first time saves movement.

     Waiting Waste:  People or machines waiting for anything.  Waiting on parts, people, information or maintenance.  Anything that stops the flow.

     Over Production Waste:  This one is simple. Making more parts than are immediately needed. It ties up money, space and manpower.

     Over Processing Waste:  Making parts beyond the quality the customer wants.  Tighter tolerances or up-graded materials.

     Defects Waste:  Just what it says.  Making mistakes that create defective parts.

     People Waste: The under-utilization of people.  Not training or using your team to their full potential.


Kaizen Event  A group of employees, teamed up over a short period of time (often a week) to look at one specific problem, investigating and offering solutions.


Continuous Improvement  The key to all of Lean.  Continuous Improvement is a commitment and method that requires the organization to constantly looking for better ways to do things with a method to document and repeat those improvement to ensure they continue.


Work Cell  A close proximity grouping of machines, tools, material and people to perform one assembly.  Multiple processes are combined around a single product in a tight layout with all efforts focused on that one single product.


Batch Processing  The movement of parts, from one process to another in a large group versus one piece at a time.  Handing pieces from one process to another, individually, with no waiting is the goal of Lean.  When this is not possible, small batches of the entire order, passed on with no waiting is the next best solution. It eliminates other processes waiting for the entire order to move forward.


One Piece Flow  The method of handing each part to the next process as soon as completed without interruption.  Parts  move from one process to the next with no waiting. All though not always possible it is always the goal of Lean Production.


Value Stream Map  Value Stream Mapping is the review of the movement of , material, parts, People and information from the first customer contact through customer delivery.  It includes material delivery, storage and every aspect of the journey.  It then attempts to identify WASTE in the process and refine it to only activities that add value to the customer.  Value Stream Mapping attempts to identify the way things are now, The Current State, Imagine what the ideal process would look like, The Future State and then create a plan to move toward that ideal, Continuous Improvement.


5S  5S is a method to organize the work space, providing only what you need in the best location at all times.  It is an organization method that focuses on identifying the best layout, creating it, maintaining it and then look for ways to improve that, over and over again.  Many organizations do this once and think they have 5S.  The key is to continue repeating the process to achieve continuous improvement.


These are just a few of the terms.  At Ebsco we try to stay away from all these “buzzwords” and call it what it is.  It’s so easy to get caught up on the terms and fall short on what you are really trying to accomplish.  The bottom line is Lean Processing attempts to provide the customer exactly what they want, when they need it with no waste.  This allows you to sell your product for the least amount possible (competitive pricing) and still show a profit to remain in business.  Companies that refuse to participate in Lean Manufacturing will be noncompetition and fail.  The ones that succeed will see profitable growth and continuously improve to remain in business for years to come.

Ebsco is one of those companies.  We do not always use all of the trendy terms I defined above but continuous improvement is built into our culture.  It is the method we use to address everything we do.  Our continuous improvement culture is why we have moved to the stringent AS9100 Quality System and the results of our continuous improvements were the reason we were able to achieve this high standard.


Just Saying……………






About Ebsco Spring Company

Ebsco Spring Company manufactures precision springs. Ebsco Spring was established in 1941 in Tulsa Oklahoma. Ebsco Spring manufactures custom springs for a wide variety of industries including fluid power, oil and gas, aerospace, defense, medical and others.

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