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.


O & S (Orderliness and cleanliness)

Clean and orderly workstations reduce > waste resulting from searching (motion) and make > visual management possible. Deviations from standards can be more easily recognized and shut down. A lack of order and particularly, a lack of cleanliness are also the cause for defective processes. The > 5S method can be used to achieve order and cleanliness.


This term is used to describe a reduction in > lead time through flow-optimized production. One-piece-flow is a method used to drastically reduce production lead time.

In a one-piece flow production process (flow-optimized production), parts are moved from one machine to the next without interim storage (the most extreme form of lead time reduction). The quantity moved only consists of one part. This is only possible in closely connected work systems. Changing a work system to one-piece flow can only occur if there is a high availability of existing capacities.


A one-point lesson is a communication on a single topic, written and illustrated on one piece of paper.

Operator cycle time

Operator cycle time is the time it takes for an operator to complete a given process, including the time needed to load and unload parts, but excluding wait times.

OTED (One-touch exchange of die)

Changeovers are reduced so that they can be carried out in a single step (one touch).


Overproduction is the worst of the seven > wastes as it leads to excessive > inventory, so that capital is tied up in finished goods. It involves all other types of waste. Lean uses the term inventory to refer to purchased parts and raw materials.