Glossary of Lean Management and Supply Chain Management terms

For mutual understanding: short definitions of important terms from the world of continuous improvement and Supply Chain Management


Click on one of the letters beneath to check the glossary for terms beginning with that letter.



Japanese for group leader

A Hancho is the first management level in a lean organization. A hancho is the technical manager (Japanese chô) in one part of the process chain (Japanese han) and typically consists of 5 to 7 employees. A hancho masters all processes in his /her area, receives a slightly higher wage (5-10 %) than normal production employees and is selected and appointed by the company. The hancho’s responsibilities include reacting to abnormalities and promoting standardized work and continuous process improvement.


Japanese for auto-unload

> Auto unloading


Japanese for smoothing and leveling

A leveled and smoothed dispatching of production demand guarantees regular processes and therefore, less > waste. Leveling transforms ununiform order inputs into uniform production quantities. Based on leveled production quantities, a production pattern in an unvarying sequence and with the smallest possible lot sizes is the determinant (smoothing). The Heijunka board depicts the specified production pattern for the production process. Heijunka enables a steady and synchronous production with little control effort.

Hoshin Kanri

Japanese for compass management

Hoshin Kanri aligns the management and development of employees with the vision. Hoshin Kanri creates a connection between the vision, objectives, projects and success factors using tools and forms, e.g. the x matrix is a tool used to link leveraged targets, annual targets, improvement projects and success factors. Involving all levels of management across all organizational functions helps align the organization and is a key component of Hoshin Kanri. Traditional top-down communication becomes value-stream driven CIP (> continuous improvement process) communication.