3 Mu

stands for the three points ‘Muda’ (Waste, see ‘7 types of waste’), ‘Muri’ (overload of employees and machines) and ‘Mura’ (irregularity of the processes) and refers to the employees, technology, method and time. They are considered negative and should be avoided.

7 types of waste

from Muda (Japanese for Waste). The following types of Waste are described:

  •     Overproduction (making more than currently needed)
  •     High stocks (final, semi-finished products, vendor parts and materials stored as stocks do not add value)
  •     Rework/errors (faulty products disrupt the production flow and require expensive repair)
  •     Area (too much occupied area is a waste of infrastructure)
  •     Search/transit times (all search and transit times are wasteful)
  •     Waiting times (‘idle hands’ of an employee, process cycle not optimised)
  •     Transport times and routes (movement of materials or products does not add value)
7 M

These are the 7 most important factors that must be taken into account in a cause analysis such as Ishikawa diagram:

  •     Man
  •     Machine
  •     Material
  •     Method
  •     Milieu

The original 5 M method was extended by two important factors:

  •     Management and
  •     Measurability
7 W

see 7 types of Waste

7-W questionnaire
  •     What – needs doing?
  •     Who – does it?
  •     Why – does he do it?
  •     What – method is used?
  •     When – will it be done?
  •     Where – is it being done?
  •     Why – won’t it be done differently?

Related to the 7-W questionnaire is the principle of ‘Go to the source’ (Genkin-butso). This says, in the case of undesirable results or errors, to ask 5 times for the ‘why?’ to achieve a solution. It also says, however, that managers should get an clear picture of the on-site situation, for example a manufacturing process, and not just decide remotely.

Authentification as a Service

describes a service that includes managing secure and protected access to cloud-based data and applications. More and more businesses are exploiting the benefits of managing their data and applications in a cloud. The authentication of individuals, however, is a security risk when accessing from various sites and devices; this can be minimised with the help of such a service.


Additive Manufacturing

Generally known as 3D printing, but basically refers to a method which uses physical or chemical processes to transform materials such as powders or liquids into 3D models, prototypes or even end products. This method – also called rapid prototyping – does not require any tools or casting moulds, unlike standard manufacturing shaping processes. Its use is particularly worthwhile for components with geometries with a high degree of complexity.

Advanced Analytics

Describes a wide range of analyses that are used to change and improve business processes. Unlike traditional analytics tools, Advanced Analytics tools do not focus on historical data, but on predicting future events. They enable ‘what if’ analyses and thus reveal the impact of potential strategic changes from companies. Examples of Advanced Analytics are procedures such as data mining or Big data analytics (see ‘Big data’).

Advanced Robotics

Refers to the networking of industrial robots beyond the production line. The topic deals with the multidisciplinary aspects of robotics, for example with regard to the areas of mechanical engineering, computer science, control and electrical engineering, mechatronics or life sciences.


Agent systems

Close proximity machine/plant IT systems that share event-oriented data to higher-level IT systems.


Converts energy into a mechanical movement or other physical quantity. A signal, (light effect, heat signal, motor movement,...) is required in order to trigger the process of the Actuator. Examples of actuators are electric motors, hydraulic cylinders or chemical actuators.

Andon board

A display panel that displays faults. (Andon = signal). Used frequently in conjunction with the quality instrument ‘fixed position stop’.

Adjusted takt time

The adjusted Takt time is calculated on the basis of the net manufacturing time, i.e. all standstill times are already taken into account. Often used in manufacturing instead of the Takt time.

Application Programming Interface

is a programming interface for connecting a program to another software system at source-text level. This allows access, for example, to databases or hardware, such as the hard disk or graphics card. It can differentiate between function-oriented, file-oriented, object-oriented and Protocol-oriented APIs.


APQP is a structured methodology with standardised tools (FMEA, QFD, QM plan, etc.) which focuses on the idea of preventive error avoidance and continuous improvement in contrast to reactive troubleshooting. The time sequence, the application of the tools and the execution of the individual steps vary per product and complexity.
The APQP reference book was created by the Chrysler, Ford, General Motors Supplier Quality Requirements Task Force. It provides a guide for the early planning phase, development phase up to process analysis and thus provides a policy for creating plans and checklists to ensure that product quality planning is carried out by the supplier.

Augmented Reality

Describes a computer-supported view of a real state that is enhanced by virtual aspects such as characters, graphics, GPS data, sound or text. Various functions such as the output of information about the current environment, work instructions or navigation are possible. A typical example is the well-known Google Glasses.

Authentification as a Service

see AaaS


See ‘Jidoka’; refers to the independent work of a machine. In this case, the installation is equipped with sensors which detect deviations from normal operation independently and can be regulated in given areas. In the event of deviations outside the control possibilities, the machine can stop processing and issue corresponding warnings to the employee. The aim of the Autonomation is to increase quality.

Autonomous transport control

Intelligent transporters navigate independently within the manufacturing network without central control.

Container Kanban

The production/delivery order is created upon arrival of an empty container to manufacturing cell or Supermarket.

Big data

Describes very large data sets that change frequently and contain very varying, complex information. On the one hand, they enable new, detailed and comprehensive data analyses, on the other hand (in comparison with conventional methods), new time-efficient and more cost-efficient data analysis methods are required in order to process the large volumes of data economically.


Describes a technology standard for wireless data exchange over short distances. UHF radio waves serve as the transmission medium between several mobile or fixed devices. Amplifiers can extend the normal range from 10 m to 100 m.


see Build to order

Build to order

production by order.

Business Model Canvas

A methodology for creating or documenting a business model. For this, a poster is filled out with nine different elements, which describe, among other things, the value composition of the company and the products, the infrastructure, the customers and the finances. The aim is to identify trade-offs and to align activities accordingly.

C-parts management

C-parts management is carried out to optimise the procurement of C-parts. The designation C-parts derives from the ABC analysis. C-parts themselves have a low goods value. In contrast, they cause high ordering and process costs.

Chaku chaku

Japanese name for a U cell and literally means ‘load load’ (see U cell)

Chaotic storage

Also known as ‘dynamic storage’; makes it possible to optimise the use of storage space as no unique space is assigned to the materials. Free storage locations are filled with the next material to be stored.

Continous Improvement Process

is a corporate philosophy in which employees constantly strive to improve their work and the products they produce.

Cloud Computing

Describes the dynamic, demand-oriented provision of IT infrastructure and resources such as storage space or computing performance. Various resources are offered in networks (Internet, Intranet) from external servers. Cloud Computing helps reduce IT infrastructure costs by replacing comprehensive hardware & software installations on each computer with the above principle.


Describes the networking capability of electronic products and the electronic networking of people and machines. Via the ‘Internet of Things’ (see IoT) it is no longer only people that communicate with each other, but also machines; therefore, Connectivity is an important trend today.


see Cyber-physical manufacturing systeme


see cyber-phyical systeme


siehe C-parts management

Customer Journey

A marketing term. It refers to the phases that a customer passes through before deciding to purchase a product. The customer has different points of contact with the product in the form of advertising or also evaluation sites. The five phases are awareness, favourability, consideration, intent to purchase and conversion.

Cyber-physical manufacturing systeme

result from the use of Cyber-physical systems in the manufacturing industry

Cyber-physical systems

connect the virtual cyberworld with objects in the real physical world; they include systems, manufacturing, logistics, engineering, coordination and management processes that have been developed digitally and are continuously intermeshed.

Data as a Service

refers to a service that includes customer-specific generation, collection and management of data. In times of increasingly unmanageable data (Big data), companies can concentrate on their own core business by using the service and profit from the benefits of professionally prepared data (Smart data).

Data as a Service

see DaaS


A data collection that is organised so that access to and changing of data is easily possible. Data can be stored in the form of tables, graphics, reports, etc. The access, organisation and selection of data in the data base is achieved via data management systems.

Deming circle

Deming wheel or PDCA cycle describes an iterative four-phase problem-solving process that has its origins in quality assurance. PDCA stands for plan-do-check-act.

Design thinking

An innovation method for solving problems and developing new ideas. Its key features are focusing on the user view and the integration of people from different disciplines. The iterative process consists of 6 steps: understanding, observation, point of view, brainstorming, prototyping and refinement.


Design for manufacturing and assembling, assembly- and manufacturing-appropriate product design.

Digital Twin

A virtual 3D model/projection of a physical object. Digital twins are widely used in product development (design, simulation, optimisation), control and maintenance. Using sensors on the physical model, data is transferred to the virtual model (often via the IoT), so that the latter represents an identical and meaningful image.

Digital continuity of engineering

Includes digital planning and explanation models that enable efficient creation of complex models and validation of design decisions.

Digital shopfloor management

Describes the use of I4.0 or IoT technologies in Shop floor management to increase agility and transparency. Examples are the use of real-time data, visualisations and the use of apps.


Design of experiments, is a methodology for the planning and statistical evaluation of tests.

Edge computing

Describes the transfer of the computing power of central computers to decentralised points of a network (user, sensors or machines). Real-time is thereby enabled by the proximity of the data exchange to the application. The distributed systems are often interconnected via the IoT.

Enterprise resource planning

see ERP


Every part every interval, is used as part of the harmonisation of manufacturing. The goal is to manufacture each product in a defined time interval by using the smallest possible batch sizes. In this case, no less than the calculated, smallest possible batch size can be manufactured, since otherwise a Set-up collapse occurs.

Event-driven information delivery

Information is always generated and distributed when there is a relevant event (e.g. attainment of a certain manufacturing goal).


Enterprise resource planning, refers to the needs-based time planning and control of internal company resources, such as personnel, material, capital, resources, information technology, etc. The target is an efficient Value creation process and optimal control of all operational processes. So-called ERP systems are used which effectively coordinate the various resources and business areas. The functional areas of such software include, for example, production 

Extended signal kanban

A variant of the Signal Kanban. Unlike the normal Signal Kanban, in the extended Signal Kanban the containers are provided with cards. If a part is removed, the Kanban card is hung on a Kanban board. Once the target batch size is reached (signal), the Kanban cards representing goods to be manufactured are ‘processed’.

Ex-post quality control

Describes a quality control method carried out at a later point in time. This can generate data and information which would not yet be known at an earlier time. This ‘check in retrospect’ is often carried out in the form of audits.

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

see FMEA


The first in, first out principle ensures that the products run through the entire process according to their control order. It is in contrast to the humorous ‘FiNo’ (first in, never out) phenomenon, in which the parts within the process are swirled in the sequence and some only crop up again when a part hunter explicitly searches for the order.

Fishbone diagram

see Cause and effect diagram

Fixed position stop

An instrument for quality assurance and is used in conjunction with an Andon board. Two ‘rip cords’ are attached to the production line. One of these is used to stop the line in emergency situations, the other to call a quality manager. If the Q rip cord is pulled, a signal with the station number is visible on the Andon board and the Q manager is called to the station to provide support. He or she now has time to solve the Q problem and delete the Q signal before the line gets to a previously defined point. If the Q manager is able to eliminate the problem before reaching the point and cancel the signal, the line continues. If not, the line will remain at this point until the problem is solved and the signal has been deactivated. A message is often sent to production management if the line remains stationary for longer than a previously defined time because of the Q message. Management is then requested to take a decision on resuming production or extending the manufacturing downtime until the problem is permanently resolved.

Flexible Menpower System

see FMS

Flow layout

Used to enable the One-piece flow. To this end, the work processes are arranged in the flow of actual processing.


Refers to a method used during product development to detect and eliminate possibly preventable sources of error and their effects in new products or services.

A distinction is made between system FMEA, design/construction FMEA and process FMEA.


The flexible manpower system is used to cover volume fluctuations by flexibly deploying employees in a system. The system (usually a U cell/Chaku chaku line) is dimensioned in such a way that the output quantity can be changed by increasing/reducing the employee capacity and thus adapted to the respective request.


Place of events, workplace in office or manufacturing hall

Genchi genbutsu

Japanese: “go and see”. In the figurative sense, this means leaving the desk and looking at things yourself and not trusting any reports.


Japanese: “the facts”.

Overall equipment effectiveness

see OEE

Weighted cycle time

The times of an operation are multiplied by the relative frequency of their occurrence to obtain the weighted unit of time of each operation. For the Weighted Cycle time, all operations occurring in the station are added in accordance with their weighting.


Japanese: improvement manager


Japanese: Production smoothing (see levelling production, Production smoothing, Line Balancing). Means smoothing unevenly occurring large manufacturing orders into smaller, regularly produced manufacturing volumes. Production planning is carried out according to a defined production pattern, which is defined for a certain period of time.


Human Machine Interface, The man-machine interface or also user interface defines the location or action with which a person comes into contact with a machine. In addition to the operation of the machine by the person, it includes the provision of information about the machine to humans. An example of this is a vehicle cockpit with operating elements such as pedals, steering wheel, etc., as well as the visual feedback of information such as, for example, the speedometer.

Horizontal integration

Describes the approach by a company to optimise the material and information flows of various departments at a hierarchical level. At the same time, Horizontal integration means that the functions and tasks of areas merge with one another at a single hierarchy level within the company.

Hoshin Kanri

Means ‘structured planning process’ and provides a clear direction (Hoshin) and a implementation plan (Kanri) within the framework of the continuous improvement process.

Human Machine Interface

see HMI


Industrial Internet of Things,refers to the focus of the originally consumption-oriented IoT on industrial concepts. It serves to improve operational effectiveness based on intelligent industrial systems and can be used both in manufacturing and in agriculture, in hospitals as well as in sales and logistics companies.

In-line quality control

Describes a quality control system integrated into the production line. By means of direct feedback to upstream process steps, errors can be avoided automatically. In this way, quality rates are improved and operator expenses are reduced.


see Cell production. Island production is the pooling of activities and resources for the manufacture of individual components or products into groups or ‘cells’.

Internet of Things

Describes the increasing trend towards using intelligent objects that are networked and communicate with each other. The data collected, e.g. by sensors, is used to assist people in their activities. IoT is often associated with the communication technology RFID. However, other wireless technologies, sensors, and QR codes are included.

Ishikawa diagram

see Cause and effect diagram


Means Autonomation or automation with a ‘human touch’. The aim is total control of the manufactured materials during the current manufacturing process and not just afterwards. Jidoka and JIT are the two supporting pillars of the Toyota manufacturing system.


Delivery of products in the order that they are processed in the manufacturing process

Just in sequence

see JIS


Japanese: radical change or redesign of whole manufacturing units, process chains or systems


A Japanese name for ‘continuous improvement process’ and is composed of change (KAI) and good (ZEN). Similar terms: Continous Improvement Process


A system for managing parts resupplying according to the pull principle with the target of low stocks. The point of consumption reports the requirements to the supplier which is signalled – depending on the Kanban variant – by a card, empty container or defined object.

Kanban formula

The formula for calculating a Kanban cycle depends on the Kanban principle used (container/card Kanban). The formula contains the following parameters: number of Kanban in circulation; parts per container; replacement time, consumption, safety factors. The determination of the parameters requires the utmost care, otherwise the system could be under-dimensioned (in the worst case) and the supply chain interrupted.

Kanban cards

Control element and information carrier containing all relevant data for manufacturing, storage, shopping and transport


Kata is a behavioural routine which enables people to respond directly to concrete situations, to clear obstacles and to set a continuous improvement process by pursuing target states. With an ‘improvement Kata’, questions of different types can be solved by way of example.

To learn Kata, a so-called ‘coaching Kata’ is used. This will train and support executives in the application of the improvement Kata.

Kata is the didactic principle used in ROI learning factories for training and individual training courses.

Minimum possible batch size

Determines the smallest quantity to be produced per product without causing a Set-up collapse. This batch size depends on the net machine availability and the products manufactured on the machine (or the necessary set-up processes). If one falls below this calculated value, too much time is spent for set-up processes and the available capacity is no longer sufficient for the manufacturing of the required quantities.

Consignment warehouse

A warehousing concept in which the goods from a supplier only become the property of the purchaser after the goods have been removed from the warehouse. For this purpose, a warehouse is set up and managed by the supplier in the vicinity of the customer.


Key Performance Indicator = Meaningful and relevant key figures necessary for status determination

Takt time

The Takt time specifies how much time is to be used for a certain activity in order to satisfy customer demand at precisely the right time (just in time). It is a calculated value from customer demand and net working time


Continuous improvement process, is a corporate philosophy in which employees constantly strive to improve their work and the products they produce.



Lean Administration

Lean organisation of indirect areas

Lean Development

Lean organisation of product development

Lean Management

Is a Japanese philosophy based on streamlined and flat organisation. Lean Management objectives are:

  • Fewer levels of responsibility
  • Shorter and more discreet communication channels
  • More efficient and flexible operation possible
  • Rapid implementation of decisions
  • Motivated employees


Lean Production

A lean manufacturing strategy with the aim of simplifying the complexity of the organisation and streamlining processes.

Lean SCM

A lean manufacturing strategy with the aim of simplifying the complexity of the organisation and streamlining processes.

Lean Sigma

Combination of lean methods and Six Sigma

Supplier Kanban

With this Kanban type, the material supply between companies and its suppliers is controlled on a Kanban b

Line Balance

Balanced production

Line Stop

Fixed position stop

Line Balancing

see Production smoothing, Levelled production, Heijunka
Means smoothing unevenly occurring large orders into regularly produced smaller manufacturing volumes. Objective: to respond to the fluctuating demand and range of variations in the market: lower stocks, higher flexibility, higher delivery reliability


Machine to machine, stands for any technology that enables end devices such as machines to network, exchange information, and perform actions without human intervention. Frequently used technologies include Wi-Fi, sensors, RFID and mobile radio networks, as well as autonomous interpretation software. M2M communication forms the basis for the concept of the ‘Internet of Things’.


Manufacturing execution system, is a production control system. It is part of the manufacturing management system at a close to process level, unlike ERP at company level. For each production task, the MES maps the associated processes including the detailed sequences and the resources required for this.

Milk run

Driving to different, nearby suppliers along a fixed route. The name comes from the dairy sector. Here, too, the milk is collected from the farms by a truck that travels a specific route.

Minimum inventory

Minimum inventory level required in order to maintain production/delivery even in emergencies.

Minimum inventory management

Upon reaching the reorder level, an order is immediately made to the supplier (upstream process, purchase or directly to the supplier


Japanese for ‘water runner’ and stands for the material supplier. He is responsible for the transport between the Supermarket and the line and thus controls logistics and dispos

Mobile devices

Means end devices for voice, image and data communication, which are portable because of their size and weight. Examples are smartphones, tablets or PDAs.

Mobile end devices

Enable users to use services via wireless networks or locally available mobile applications (e.g. mobile scanners, smartphones, tablet PCs)

Motion economy

Mechanics to make the operations in the micro-domain as efficient as possible


Means Waste, see the ‘7 types of waste’


Irregularity of processes (Japanese: irregularity)


Overloading of employees and machines (Japanese: excessive load)


Simple start switches that can be triggered by single-handed operation


Near field communication, describes a RFID-based communication standard for data exchange between two electronic devices (at least one of which is usually mobile) over short distances (approximately 4 cm). A common application is the micropayment (smartphones are held against to a corresponding device for payment).

Levelled production

see Heijunka, Line Balancing, Production smoothing. Means smoothing unevenly occurring orders into smaller manufacturing volu

NoSQL database

Refers to a system for data storage that, unlike conventional SQL systems, is not based on relationships. The aim of such a system is often a simpler design, for which graphs, key elements or objects occur instead of relationship definitions.


Overall equipment effectiveness, is a KPI for measuring and increasing machine, plant and operational productivity

Open virtual workspaces

Instrument that ensures flexible access to all relevant information in the engineering and production process. Enables efficient communication between teams distributed over a wide area.

One-piece flow

Single-piece flow or transfer, batch size 1 prevents delays and material jam (intermediate storage)

One-point lesson

Means short training on a specific topic. Everything is explained on a single sheet, e.g. What needs to be observed during maintenance (or operation) of equipment and machinery.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness

siehe OEE


ist die „80/20-Regel“, wonach 20% aller Ursachen 80% der Ergebnisse bewirken. Wird auch häufig zur Auswahl der zu betrachtenden Produkte genutzt. Auch hier bestätigt sich oft die Regel, dass 20% der Produkte für 80% des Umsatzes verantwortlich sind.

Poka Yoke

vermeiden von Irrtum durch konstruktive Gestaltung eines Produkts, so dass während der Produktion kein Fehler gemacht werden kann.

Policy deployment

see Hoshin Kanri, strategic planning, target agreement process


Production part approval process, Sampling and release of series parts, which are made from out-of-tool parts as per requirements. PPAP is an APQP tool and is used in particular in the automotive industry.

Predictive Maintenance

Refers to a maintenance strategy in which preventive measures are taken to correct potential errors before they occur. Examples of this are scheduled oil changes or the exchange of machine parts at prescribed time intervals.

Production on demand

Refers to a production process in which goods are manufactured only once they are requested. This strategy aims to achieve scalable and variable production, in which goods that are perfectly tailored to customers can be made based on real-time data.

Production smoothing

see Heijunka, Line Balancing, Levelled production. Means smoothing unevenly occurring orders into smaller manufacturing volumes.

Production system

Represents, together with the resources and production facilities, the rules and the method according to which certain processes are carried out in manufacturing.


(referring to a network Protocol), defines the communication rules in networks, so that a targeted exchange of information can take place between the objects in the network. Often, protocols are defined in international Standards or by certain industries and contain rules for syntax or communication synchronization, for e

Process mapping

see value flow design. Visual documentation/presentation of actual processes/sequences. Description of the actual situation, basis for the search for Waste. Other types of Process mapping: flow chart, block flow diagram, range flow diagram, input-output diagram

Process stability

Key figure relating to how stable a production process runs

Process time

Sum of the cycle times within a process

PDCA cycle

PDCA cycle, also called Deming circle. Is a quality assurance instrument. This circle describes a systematic problem-solving process which is composed of the defined sequence of the following activities:

  • Plan (problem analysis/measure definition)
  • Do (action implementation)? Check (effectiveness check)
  • Check (effectiveness check)
  • Act (standardise/or (in the event of ineffectiveness of measures) repeat process).
Pull system

Means a pull Production system: material is provided only as a result of an order.

Push system

The opposite of Pull system. After completion of one process step, parts are provided for the next process step without an order, which quickly leads to overstocking


The 7 tools of quality. These are quantitative methods for identifying problems, as well as their solution with the aim of continuous quality improvement. 
The Q7 components are:
- Ishikawa diagram
- Pareto diagram
- Check sheet
- Quality control card (QCC
- Flow chart
- Histogram
- Scatterplot


Quality control circle, quality circle


Quality function deployment: Quality planning for systematic consideration of customer requirements in product development

Quality Control Circle

see QCC

Quality function deployment

see QFD

RAMI 4.0

(Reference architecture model Industry 4.0) is a three-dimensional map which describes how to approach the subject of Industry 4.0 in a structured manner.

Real-time monitoring

Real-time monitoring of all relevant production processes enables rapid detection of deviations and ensures the timeliness of the planning and decision relevant information

Reference architecture

A term from computer science and refers to a model pattern that serves as a template for a series of IT system architectures. RAMI is referred to as the Reference architecture model for Industry 4.0.


Radio frequency identification, describes an identification technology in which the data exchange takes place via electromagnetic fields. Objects equipped with RFID transponders are automatically recognised by the reader, which allows tracking of these objects. The transponders contain information about the object which can either be passively activated (only by reader) or active (information can also be actively sent).

ROI Management Consulting AG

Network device for identifying the next point in the network to which a particular data packet is to be sent. It connects at least two networks and determines the target of the data packet by means of a status check of the networks. Typical application is the classic WLAN router, which connects end devices to the Internet.

Set-up collapse

Arises if the batch sizes produced are too low in relation to the set-up processes and the available plant capacity is concentrated excessively on the set-up processes and is no longer sufficient for the manufacture of the required quantities. See EPEI and smallest possible batch size

Set-up time

Time period from the last good part of the old production order up to the first good part of the new production order at planned production speed.


Supervisory control and data acquisition, computer system for remote control and checks. Real-time data from distributed systems are collected and evaluated (via IoT) in order to obtain information about the state of a device and to check it.


A process model for implementing Lean Development in project management. The model is based on the experience that development projects are too complex for a comprehensive plan. Therefore, during the course of the project, intermediate results are generated in order to develop and improve the product as well as developing the planning iteratively and incrementally. The empirical improvement is based on transparency, review and adaptation. The SCRUM Framework comprises the SCRUM team with three roles, the product owner, the development team and the SCRUM master. The SCRUM team creates transparency regarding progress and intermediate results for the stakeholders.

Sequential pull

Sequential pull is manufacturing according to the FiFo principle. The manufacturing sequence is determined by the system, but the time of the production start, however, only by the order of the subsequent process.

Shop floor management

A way of describing the local leadership. The term is frequently used in connection with an extensive information and control system. In a meeting area, the group discussions are carried out and all necessary KPIs and activities/information are visualised. A so-called T-card system is often used.

Safety stock

see minimum stock

Safety factor

Determines the level of the Safety stock in the calculation of a Kanban cycle

Signal Kanban

In the Signal Kanban there is only a Kanban on one container. This is precisely the container in which the manufacturing batch size is reached. All other containers are ‘emptied’ without Kanban. On the machine, the incoming Kanban will be produced according to FiFo. As the system is not very transparent, it is recommended to use the variant of the extended Signal Kanban.

Single Minute Exchange of Die

see SMED

Six Sigma

First and foremost, a statistical quality objective is understood at ´Six Sigma´. By definition, Sigma corresponds to the standard deviation of a Gaussian normal distribution. The Sigma level can be determined from the number of errors in a process using tables or statistics programs. With four sigma, 6210 errors occur with one million possible errors. A level of Six Sigma means less than four errors (3.4 PPM), which corresponds to zero error production. In other words: In a single process step, the error rate must not be higher than 0.00034%.

´Six Sigma´ is also the method of the same name, which is basically a quality management system. Its core element is the description, measurement, analysis, improvement and monitoring (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control - DMAIC) of business processes by statistical means. The objectives are based on financially important parameters of the company and on customer needs. In this way, measures are to be identified and implemented in order to achieve a higher sigma level. Every higher Sigma is more and more difficult to achieve purely mathematically. Typical methods and tools used are the Kano model, the House of Quality HoQ, the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) as well as the Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA).

Smart city

Describes developments in urban areas based on new technologies and innovations. Information & communication technology is systematically used to create sustainable cities (resource efficiency, increasing the quality of life of the inhabitants, increasing economic efficiency and competitiveness). Among other things, energy provision, health care systems, educational institutes, urban planning and mobility are designed according to the principles mentioned above.

Smart data

Describes the process of creating added value from Big data (huge data sets collected by Smart products) in which the data are analysed, linked and evaluated. The data can only be used in a targeted and useful manner by using this process. This is sometimes described as a ‘refinement’ of the data. Smart data is the basis for so-called Smart services (see Smart services).

Smart factory

A visionary factory in which manufacturing machines and logistics systems carry out self-organised processes – without human intervention. The term comes from the German government’s high-tech strategy as a building block of Industry 4.0. Smart products, i.e. machines and products, interact here largely independently via the Internet of Things (IoT), the data generated (Smart data) are processed in real time and thus make the human control superfluous.

Smart products

Are intelligent, software-controlled objects connected via the Internet, such as machines or end consumer products, equipped with sensors. They are able to generate, collect, process and transfer data. The collected data is called ‘big data’ (see Big data). By using specific analyses, links and processing, ‘smart data’ (see Smart data) is created, which in turn form the basis for Smart services (see Smart services).

Smart services

Stand for the combination of digital and physical services that are based on the data sets aggregated by Smart products – also known as Smart data. Providers of Smart services derive information from this data that can be converted into extremely agile and real-time services. Such services are sold in app stores or other online marketplaces.


Single minute exchange of die, or ‘tool change in the single-digit minute range’ is a method for reducing set-up times and thus enables the reduction of batch sizes for flexible and demand-based production.

Spaghetti diagram

Represents the paths covered within a certain period of time by an employee.


Statistical Process Control: Method of verifying process capability. With continuous process monitoring, the quality of the process is tested and not the end product. Intervention limits and control loops support process quality and thus also product quality.


Programmable logic controller: is a digital device used for automatic control and control of machinery and equipment. Its modular structure enables the reading and output of different inputs and outputs. The mode of operation of a PLC is controlled by digital programming and can be changed in some PLCs. PLCs are robust and are therefore used in industry.

SQL database

(Structured query language Database) Standard programming language for reading and updating data stored in relational Database management systems (RDBMS).

Stage gate process

A simple milestone phase model for developing product innovations. The aim of the model is to ensure the process quality. Each stage of the model is composed of interdepartmental activities and ends with a milestone analysis.

Standard Work Combination Sheet

see SWCS


Used to ensure unity and is the basis for a continuous improvement process (Kaizen). All employees in the company receive the same information set, which relates, for example, to production performance, layout of the facilities, movement processes, working practices, methods, responsibilities or obligations in the form of texts, sketches, tables, patterns, etc.


Widely accepted and applied rule or norms; unified starting point for further improvement.

Statistical Process Control

see SPC


An instrument of the Pull system; is used as a controlled buffer in the vicinity of the consumption point or line. Supermarkets are used for production control if no continuous flow is possible. The management of the Supermarket follows the principle ‘if something is gone, something new must be put in its place’.


Standard Work Combination Sheet, includes the order of working steps of a workload in the area of machine operation. This worksheet can be used to develop the line-balancing of machine workplaces in the case of multi-machine operation (flexible manpower system) – in particular in Chaku chaku lines.


Standard work sheet, Standard worksheet. The standardised process sequence is written down on a standard worksheet in the sense of the work steps involved. Quality-critical work steps are presented on this sheet in order to ensure compliance. This sheet is used for training the employees as well as to check whether the defined process is also complied with.

T-card system

Often introduced in conjunction with Shop floor management. It is a type of timetable in which the activities to be completed on a certain day are written on T-shaped cards. If the task on a card is completed, it is turned over. The differently coloured back shows the degree of completion.

Taguchi method

Test method aimed at minimising the dispersion around the target value. The aim is to make products, processes and systems as robust as possible so that they are less sensitive to interference factors.

Cycle time

Also called a working cycle or simply cycle: is the time in which a unit of measure is completed in each case, so that the flow system produces the target quantity. See also Takt time

Technology stack

Means a software package that provides the infrastructure for a computer. With regard to a single computer, the package contains the operating system and the runtime environment for applications. With regard to a server, it includes all programs, Database software and the computing environment for all programming languages.

Test bed

A scientific platform or a setting for experiments where theories, tools or technologies can be tested. In software development, it is used to test individual, isolated modules (functions, classes, libraries).

Total productive maintenance

also known as preventive maintenance. This is a multistage system for increasing plant availability and simultaneous optimisation of maintenance costs. Various approaches are described in the literature. The ROIAcademy teaches the following 5-step approach.

  1. Elimination of priority problems: In the first step, the machines are thoroughly cleaned and all potential fault/interference sources are eliminated.
  2. Preventive maintenance: A regular maintenance plan for the machines/plants is developed with the employees.
  3. Scheduled maintenance programme: For the strategic orientation, a decision is made according to which programme the machines are to be maintained or repaired in the future. A distinction is made, for example, between time- and condition-based maintenance, break-down maintenance, etc.
  4. Training: The machine operators are qualified in maintenance tasks and preventive maintenance so that they can perform the maintenance in accordance with the requirements, and can also actively input their experiences and ideas during the next stage of maintenance prevention
  5. Maintenance prevention: This stage is about optimising and reducing the non-value-added maintenance activities without long-term losses in machine availability.
Toyota production system

see TPS


see Total productive maintenance


Toyota production system, is an integrated socio-technical system, developed by Toyota, that comprises its management philosophy and practices. 


Total quality control is a continuous quality control (assurance) of all products and processes that the company manufactures or executes.


Total quality management, holistic quality management


End-to-end Traceability and allocation of all relevant data and process parameters of products, components, batches and serial numbers.

U cell

U-shaped production assembly cells, also called a Chaku chaku line, in order to keep wastage (e.g. long transit distances) as low as possible (see 7 types of Waste). This type of production is often found in mechanical manufacturing and also in assembly lines.


Waste type according to the 7 types of Waste. Overproduction refers to the manufacture of goods that exceed demand. It comes about due to an imbalance between the actual needs and the coverage. Overproduction is considered a major Waste form, which also provokes many other kinds of Waste.

Cause and effect diagram

see fishbone and Ishikawa diagram. Graphical representation of causes that lead to or significantly influence a result.

Use case

(Application case) describes the functionality of a system in event steps by defining interfaces and interactions between the Actuator and the system (Actuator environment) when tracking a selected goal. In this case, an Actuator can be any object that is directly connected to the system (human, machine, time).


Production levels are controlled in accordance with the actual consumption of the finished product, i.e. the quantity produced exactly matches the amount consumed in a defined period of time.


see Waste

Networked sensors

Integrated sensors, which (usually) have an autonomous power supply and (at least partially) process data directly on site and communicate wirelessly with one another.


All activities that consume resources but generate no added value. See 7 types of Waste or 7W

Vertical integration

Means the procedure followed by a manufacturing company to integrate upstream or downstream manufacturing steps into its own manufacturing process. The less the company sources externally, the higher the degree of Vertical integration. The procedure is used to optimise the value chain and is therefore closely linked to the question ‘make or buy?’.

Virtual factory planning

Digitization of all relevant resources and products; combination of movement/processing simulation and dynamic flow simulation.

Visual management

Visual management is the communication basis of the lean Production system and is therefore a core component of the Kaizen philosophy. It consists of the following aspects:

  • Information exchange: Employees share information that is directly or indirectly related to their work, thus promoting ‘independent thinking’ and initiative among employees. The information can also be used to control individual processes. For example, for a follow-up control in the sense of Kanban. If a storage area is empty, a new container must be produced, etc.
  • Communication of working standards and procedures: Explicit knowledge documentation of information relevant for work.
  • Visual design of workspaces and processes: Creation of an overview that allows any form of deviation from the target state to be recognised. This naturally presupposes that target states have been defined.

Vendor managed inventory, describes a logistics concept in which the supplier has access to the customer’s inventory and demand data. The customer’s inventory is completely managed by the supplier and restocked as required. Three forms are defined: continuous replenishment, classic VMI and consignment inventory.

Adaptable production facilities

Manufacturing plants are able to flexibly produce different workpieces or products without set-up or adaptation costs.

Workshop fabrication

Manufacturing organisation form in which machines of the same function are arranged in groups.

Value analysis

Analysis technique in which a work plan using a function analysis leads to significant optimisation of products and processes.

Value creation

All activities that increase the value of a product or service; i.e. everything that the customer is willing to pay for.

Value stream

All the working steps that are necessary, within system limits that must be defined, for manufacturing a product.

Value stream mapping

siehe Wertstromdesign

Value stream design

Refers to a method for holistic process optimisation. Here, material and information flows and temporal linking of the production steps from the supplier to the customer are considered holistically. Partial segments from this process can also be considered/analysed.


Describes wireless technology used to connect to a wireless local area network (WLAN). Actually, the expression WiFi refers to devices certified by the WiFi Alliance according to their specific Standards. Today, however, the term is generally applied to all WLAN-enabled devices.

Cell production

see island production. Cell production is characterised by:

  • Manufacturing in takt time
  • Working in one-piece flow
  • The cells are planned with simple and easily set-up equipment
  • The stations process the product autonomously
  • The linkage of the stations is mostly done manually
  • The lines are constructed in such a way that they can be operated by a single person

Benefits: increased flexibility, improved transparency, shortened throughput times.


Is a specification based on IEEE 802.15.4 for wireless networks that transmit simple data in limited, personal areas. It is usually cheaper and simpler than other personal area networks such as Bluetooth or WLAN. Typical applications are household appliances, lighting technology or sensor networks.