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.



This a process within a value stream that has a cycle time that is as close as possible to the > customer takt and that defines the rhythm (process step) of a process chain.

Pareto cart

A pareto cart is used to help determine the waste characteristics of a product. They are sorted onto a cart so that the most frequent defects can be visualized. > Pareto principle

Pareto principle

According to the Pareto principle, named after Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923), the effects of a problem (80 %) are most often due to a small number of causes (20 %).

PDCA cycle

Targeted troubleshooting when problems arise is the key to success when solving these problems. A series of structured problem-solving techniques make it easier for employees to systematically and deliberately expedite and implement problem solving.

The PDCA cycle consists of four steps:
Plan – Planning phase
Do – Implementation phase
Check – Check effectiveness
Act – Standardize

To align with continuous improvement, the PDCA cycle is carried out repeatedly.

Point Kaizen

Point Kaizen is an improvement that is limited to a given work station (= punctual).

Poka Yoke

Japanese for avoiding unplanned mistakes

Poka Yoke is any mechanism that helps avoid unplanned mistakes. Poka Yoke is the application of simple, error-proof mechanisms to consistently avoid incorrect assembly, mix-ups or the downstream movement of defective parts. Because stable and high-quality processes begin long before the production phase, simple Poka Yoke measures can be implemented preventively in the construction and planning phase to ensure quality.

Poka Yoke is implemented to avoid: Leaving out or forgetting process steps, process or operational- related mistakes, incorrect or missing parts, setup or installation errors.

PPM (Parts per million)

An error rate indicates that a pre-defined, relatively small number of components can be defective out of one million components produced. The ppm unit of measure is prevalent in the automobile sector: auto manufacturers demand that suppliers strictly adhere to the ppm rate (e.g. for the electronic components of built-in control devices).

Process chain

Process chains are directly aligned with a flow, or chain. The materials can only flow to the next process step.

Product / machine matrix

The product / machine matrix represents which component families are produced on which machines. This matrix forms the basis of developing assembly lines and process chains.

Production diary

A production diary defines the weekly plan for the management team, including support functions, and is posted on the > Shop Floor Management board. It sets the daily shop floor discussions regarding daily activities and defines the daily activities to be carried out by management. This includes problem solving and process confirmation. It also defines who takes part in which meeting and when. Additional meetings must be scheduled around the times set out in the production diary.

Production smoothing

Leveling production is part of > Heijunka. A prerequisite for smoothing is the uniform dispatching of the customer demand to production (leveling). When smoothing, customer demand is broken into the smallest uniform production demand. By sequencing the demand for all components produced by one resource, a production pattern is created. This is the guideline for a recurring production order that remains the same. Smoothing is a prerequisite for synchronous production.

Project management

Project management is a structured method used to work through complex tasks or projects based on a:

» Clearly defined organizational structure, with defined tasks, competencies and responsibilities
» Clearly defined organizational structure, with defined tools, methods and tools The objective of project management is to provide a clear overview of “big” changes within an organization. Projects are plans with a defined goal, as well as constraints with respect to time, finances and personnel. These projects are clearly differentiated from other projects and have a project-specific organizational structure.

Pull principle

The pull principle is one of the four building blocks of lean production (pull production). The downstream process or concrete customer demand determine which component is delivered or produced when and in what quantity. Minimum / maximum inventory levels are defined between customers and suppliers. This thereby limits > overproduction quantities.

Push principle

„Push production“: The downstream process or a prognosis are what determine the quantity delivered or processed, and when. This results in > overproduction between process steps, the lead time is long and usually not plannable.