Hanedashi: Literally “Automatic Discharge”.

The machine throws the produced part automatically out; the operator only charges the machine.


Monozukuri: Literally mono= ‘thing’ and zukuri (tsukuru) ‘process of making’;

-> the process of making or creating things.

But the literal translation does not convey the real connotation of monozukuri.

The word has an more intense meaning; monozukuri is about having a state of mind, the spirit to produce not only excellent products but also have the the ability to constantly improve the production system and its processes.

Professor Takahiro Fujimoto (Manufacturing Management Research Center, University of Tokyo) has defined monozukuri as

“the duplication of design data into a material.” or the “art, science and craft of making things.”

The Japanese Institute for Trade and Organisation (JETRO) describes monozukuri as: ‘having the spirit of producing excellent products and the ability to constantly improve a production system and -process.’

… beautiful, insn’t it….

Steven Blom (www.blomconsultancy.nl) has been writing a book on monozukuri which is published in 2012.
It describes the subject from the Zen-Buddhist point of view.

The book can be downloaded in Dutch here: http://www.blomconsultancy.nl/monozukuri


Kata: Literally ‘Form’ or ‘Pattern’;

-> a sequence of steps or movements, repeated over and over again to create ‘muscle memory’. (see: ShuHaRi)

The Japanese term ‘Kata’ originates from martial arts.
It is a training method to internalize a series of movements (a ‘form’) in such a way that the student can apply them ‘in a reflex’ without actually thinking about the form it selves, so he can focus on the effect the form should have.

It is a typical Shu stage of learning: The teacher tells you what and how to do and the student practices until the teacher is satisfied. At that point it is internalized, it has become an automatism.

A typical kata in most martial arts takes about 1 or 2 minutes and consists of 12 to 54 or even more steps. The number of steps has links to the Taoist spirituality where the number of 108 identifies the number of states of mind. A typical kata is a division of 108 steps.

Behind all kata there rule some basic principles that have to be understood to fully benefit the kata, otherwise it could end in a form of gymnastic, a dance (which is not the purpose of a kata).

So when applying a kata in our improvement effort it is not just a matter of putting some steps in a sequence. A kata cannot just be constructed by defining some steps and call them a kata!

A kata is a sublimation of deep understanding and evolution of the process that should be achieved with the kata.

The kata, in most martial arts, is used for its martial purpose. But it can also be used therapeutically. This can be experienced in Taiji (or Tai Chi) were a series of steps, each potentially lethal movements, are performed to cure and shape the body and creating a harmonious energy balance.
The kata in our Lean-effort similarly can have a martial effect (the elimination of a loss) and a therapeutically effect (group-cohesion, better understanding, collective wisdom etc.)


Hitozukuri: Literally hito= ‘people’ and zukuri (tsukuru) ‘process of making’;

-> the process of educating and forming people.

Just as with monozukuri, the literal translation does not convey the real connotation of hitozukuri.

Prof. Kozo Saito (mechanical engineering at the university of Kentucky) describes Hitozukuri as a continous process that is more than just following education. It is a life long process that shows the ingredients of a personal maturation and the maturation of ones craftsmanship.

Saito quotes Confucius: ‘when I (Confucius) was fifteen years old, I decided to study; at thirty I became independent; at forty I focused; at fifty I realized my mission in my life; at sixty I became able to listen to people without bias and prejudice; finally at seventy I attained the stage that my thinking and action are harmonized with nature.’


The design process according to the monozukuri method has an integral architecture; the whole production column supports it actively.
This vertically integrated design process goes beyond the borders of the factory and stretches into suppliers- and customers companies, who cooperate from the early design stages on.

This integration of (mainly) middle and small size companies into large companies is called KEIRETSU

Obeya – Obeyaka (Obeya Room)

Big room for cooperation. The term is used to describe the method of getting affected people to work together cooperatively to solve problems.

Obeya literally means “Big Room”.

An ‘Obeya Room’ therefore is more or less the same word twice, however (maybe because it sounds like “Obey You”) it is used for a (dedicated) room where the higher management of a lean-company is performing the top-level PDCA cycle of the company. If the company progresses aggressively on their lean journey, it is also referred to as ‘the war room’.

‘Working in One Room’ is maybe a better interpretation of the word: meaning a multidisciplinary team works together in one physical environment on a specific task or project, instead of each person being located in his or her separated office.
In this way, the communication is much faster and effective, especially if the process is supported with visual aids and all relevant data, plans, drawings and graphics are attached to the walls in the room around them.

Resilience Design

What are Resilient processes and systems?

Resilience processes accept that real Life is never ‘standard’. External factors will always try to destabilize whatever is going on right now. Whether it is the supply-chain, the internal logistic flow, the quality parameters of our product or the safety of our customer, our personnel; anything that can go wrong will go wrong, even when that is never supposed to be.

So if disturbance is a given; what does that mean for the design of a process?

It means the process should be able to cope with that! It should either avoid, or shield the negative influence, or it should be able to absorb it and to automatically return to its normal state.

a resilience system is self centering
a resilient system:

Absorbing destabilizing energy and naturally moving back to its normal state. This last mechanism is called ‘resilience’. Like a punch ball, no matter how hard you punch it, it will always return to its center point, waiting to be punched again.
So in stead of assuming our processes are basically safe or stable, in a safe and stable world, we rather assume things will try to happen, but we do not want them to destabilize our system. What ever happens, the system will never go out of control, and will have a natural tendency to re-center.
This goes beyond the traditional ‘Poke Yoka’ concepts (it CAN not go wrong); here we assume ‘Even if It WILL go wrong it will not escalate and will correct automatically, as a natural behaviour’.
Well designed kanban-systems have this natural tendency –within a certain range- to absorb deviant situations and as a natural behavior return to its normal state. In the contrary we see the effect of push systems. A constant energy is needed to keep them going. Its natural behavior is to drop dead, to go out of control.

Read Monozukuri Kata to find out how to create resilience organisations

Lean Manufacturing

What is the Nature of Lean Manufacturing?

The concept of Lean Manufacturing is a continuation of the mass production system, known in the twenties as the ‘conveyor belt’ of automotive manufacturer Ford. Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda, two employees of the automotive manufacturer Toyota in Japan, developed Lean Manufacturing after the Second World War. Lean Manufacturing became known worldwide thanks to the best seller “The machine that changed the world”, in which the aspects leading to the success of the Toyota production system are described. In the eighties Lean Manufacturing also got a basis in America. This was partly caused by the co-operation between Toyota and General Motors, who build a factory together. It lasted until end of the eighties, beginning of the nineties before American companies also wanted to be so-called ‘Lean Manufacturers’.

What Does ‘Lean’ Mean?

Lean gives the idea of skinny or slim. The word skinny has a negative connotation for a lot of people. There can also be a positive interpretation: ‘free of burden, healthy, a lot of freedom of movement, muscles, etc.’ With this specific vision in mind, people went looking for techniques that would allow a production system to function faster, cheaper, and better. Lean Manufacturing is distinguished by: a minimum changeover time, Just-In-Time (JIT) production, KanBan systems, a minimum of supplies and last but not least a “zero waste” attitude with each employee.

Lean Manufacturing

The aim of Lean Manufacturing is to shorten the time between the moment that the client places an order and the moment of delivery by eliminating all losses from this chain.

This is accomplished by:

  • Realization of minimal changeover times (SMED)
  • One Piece Flow implementation
  • Implementing pull production planning
  • Small Group Activity improvement teams
  • eliminating defects
  • Establish client-supplier partnerships

Lean Manufacturing: Example of achievements

  • Increase of productivity by 20% within 4 months
  • Reduction of the time to market by 20% within 4 weeks
  • Decrease in production in progress by 57% within 10 months
  • Increase of delivery reliability from 35 to 95% within 5 months
  • Decrease in stock by 18% within 6 months

Among other things, these parameters are documented with the aid of Value Stream Mapping, whereby the figures are registered in the so-called Current State, so that the so-called Future State can be visualized and be monitored as to whether the improvements are developing in the right direction.

Implementation of Lean Manufacturing

When implementing Lean Manufacturing we use a number of steps. Central to those steps is the fact that all changes have the aim to improve services to our clients. During the implementation process, it is important to know the demands and wishes that the customer has with regard to the product. It becomes possible then to document the value adding process for a product. Among other things, this can be done with the aid of a Value Stream Map. We strive to eliminate all losses from the present process chain. That actually implies that the flow of materials and information from the previous process into the next is without delay and intermediate storage.  In order to achieve this, we definitely require a very reliable and effective production with a continuously high Overal Equipment Effectiveness (availability rate*, performance rate*, and quality rate*). This can be achieved by implementing Total Productive Maintenance. By having a reliable and effective production process, the time span between placing an order and delivery becomes considerably shorter. It is, therefore, no longer necessary to produce based on what one has in stock, and one can produce a quantity the customer wants and at the moment he wants it. This is also called the transition from Push to Pull production. The production process makes then another step in the direction of the ideal process.

OEE – Overall Equipment Effectiveness

What is Overall Equipment Effectiveness?

How to define OEE for optimal Loss visualization: OEE Industry Standard

Questions about OEE? Ask your free OEE Academy!

In an ideal factory, equipment would operate 100 percent of the time at 100 percent capacity, with an output of 100 percent good quality.
In real life, however, this situation is rare.

The difference between the ideal and the actual situation is due to losses. Calculating the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) rate is a crucial element of any serious commitment to reduce equipment- and process-related wastes through total productive maintenance (TPM) and other lean manufacturing methods like Operational Excellence, Six Sigma or World Class Manufacturing.




Total productive maintenance (TPM) was first defined in 1971 by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM). TPM is a company wide strategy to increase the effectiveness of production environments, especially through methods for increasing the effectiveness of equipment.

TPM became more broadly known in the Western world in the late 1980s when Productivity, Inc. published English editions of two books by JIPM expert Seiichi Nakajima: Introduction to TPM and TPM Development Program. TPM implementation involves applying continuous improvement methods to reduce losses. Because the actual process of adding value to products usually involves machines and equipment, TPM focuses its improvement activities on equipment-related losses.

In an ideal factory, equipment would operate 100 percent of the time at 100 percent capacity, with an output of 100 percent good quality.

In real life, however, this is rare. The difference between the ideal and the actual situation is due to losses. Equipment operators face the results of these losses on a daily basis. TPM gives them the tools to identify the losses and make improvements.

A key strategy in TPM is identifying and reducing what we call the six big losses.


Looking at machine operation, we distinguish six types of waste we refer to as losses, because they reflect lost effectiveness of the equipment

These six big losses are grouped in three major categories: downtime, speed losses, and defect losses.

The Six Big Losses

Loss Categories The Six Big Losses


(lost availability)

Equipment failures

Waiting (i.e.Setup and adjustments)

Speed losses

(lost performance)

Idling and minor stoppages

Reduced speed operation

Defect losses

(lost quality)

Scrap and rework

Startup losses

(Currently, JIPM identifies cutting blade losses as a seventh loss. Since this is not a common loss to all machines, cutting blade losses should be categorized as either performance or downtime losses)


Downtime refers to time when the machine should be running, but it stands still. Downtime includes two main types of loss: equipment failures, and all kinds of waiting, like setup and adjustments, no raw material.

Equipment Failures

Sudden and unexpected equipment failures, or breakdowns, are an obvious cause of loss, since an equipment failure means that the machine is not producing any output.

Setup and Adjustments

Most machine changeovers require some period of shutdown so that internal tools can be exchanged. The time between the end of production of the last good part and the end of production of the next good part is downtime. This downtime loss often includes substantial time spent making adjustments until the machine gives acceptable quality on the new part.

Speed Losses

A speed loss means that the equipment is running, but it is not running at its maximum designed speed. Speed losses include two main types of loss: idling and minor stoppages, and reduced speed operation.

Idling and Minor Stoppages

When a machine is not running smoothly and at a stable speed, it will lose speed and obstruct a smooth flow. The idling and stoppages in this case are caused not by technical failures, but by small problems such as parts that block sensors or get caught in chutes. Although the operator can easily correct such problems when they occur, the frequent halts can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the equipment.

Reduced Speed Operation

Reduced speed operation refers to the difference between the actual operating speed and the equipment’s designed speed (also referred to as nameplate capacity). There is often a gap between what people believe is the “maximum” speed and the actual designed maximum speed. The goal is to eliminate the gap between the actual speed and the designed speed. Significant losses from reduced speed operation are often neglected or underestimated.

Defect Losses

A defect loss means that the equipment is producing products that do not fully meet the specified quality characteristics. Defect losses include two major types of loss: scrap and rework, and startup losses.

Scrap and Rework

Loss occurs when products do not meet quality specifications, even if they can be reworked to correct the problem. The goal should be zero defects —to make the product right the first time and every time.

Startup Losses

Startup losses are yield losses that occur when production is not immediately stable at equipment startup, so the first products do not meet specifications. This is a latent loss, often accepted as inevitable, and it can be surprisingly large.


Implementing TPM means striving toward a vision of the ideal manufacturing situation, a vision that encompasses

  • zero breakdowns
  • zero abnormalities
  • zero defects
  • zero accidents

The path to this ideal situation is a process of continuous improvement that requires the total commitment of everyone in the company, from operators to top management.

In the West, the measure of whether an improvement process is succeeding often rests on the ultimate result of the process: the money it makes or loses. This seems rational, since making money is the ultimate goal of industry. The financial bottom line, however, provides little or no information about what is actually going on within the process; thus it gives little real feedback and focus to the things we actually need to do to improve the process.

If there is a gap between our daily process and the ideal situation, it makes sense to focus on this gap and look for ways to eliminate it.

TPM helps us do this by focusing on the six big losses —the gaps— to improve the effectiveness of the equipment. By applying a gauge that measures the six big losses, we can focus on improving the right things—the losses we want to eliminate.

The Overall Equipment Effectiveness Metric

Most industries have some kind of gauge system on their equipment that measures quantities such as uptime, units produced, and sometimes even the production speed. These are appropriate things to look at if the focus is on what’s coming out of the machine.

TPM takes a slightly different approach. Besides what’s coming out of the machine, we also want to know what could have come out, and where we are losing effectiveness. Overall equipment effectiveness, or OEE, offers a simple but powerful measurement tool to get inside information on what is actually happening.

The OEE calculation is a metric that gives us daily information about how effectively the machine is running and which of the six big losses we need to improve. Overall equipment effectiveness is not the only indicator to assess a production system, but it is certainly very important if our goal is improvement.


The three main categories of equipment-related losses —downtime, speed loss, and defect or quality loss— are also the main ingredients for determining the overall equipment effectiveness. Overall equipment effectiveness is calculated by combining three factors that reflect these losses: the availability rate, the performance rate, and the quality rate.

The availability rate is the time the equipment is really running, versus the time it could have been running.

A low availability rate reflects downtime losses:

  • Equipment failures
  • Setup and adjustments
The performance rate is the quantity produced during the running time, versus the potential quantity, given the designed speed of the equipment.

A low performance rate reflects speed losses:

  • Idling and minor stoppages
  • Reduced speed operation
The quality rate is the amount of good products versus the total amount of products produced.

A low quality rate reflects defect losses:

  • Scrap and rework
  • Startup losses

To calculate OEE, we multiply the three factors together:

OEE = Availability Rate x Performance Rate x Quality Rate

The inverted stair step diagram above shows graphically how the losses in availability, performance, and quality work together to reduce the overall effectiveness of a machine. The top bar, total operating time, shows the total time a machine is available to make a product. This is usually considered to be 480 minutes per 8-hour shift.

Bars A and B show availability. Bar A represents the net operating time, which is the time available for production after subtracting planned downtime (no scheduled production) such as a holiday, no orders, or no personnel.

Bar B shows the actual running time after subtracting downtime losses such as equipment failures and setup and adjustments.

Bars C and D show performance. Bar C represents the Target Output of the machine during the running time, calculated at the designed speed of the machine. Below it, a shorter fourth bar, D, represents the actual output, reflecting speed losses such as minor stoppages and reduced operating speed.

Bars E and F show quality. As you can see, the actual output (E) is reduced by defect losses such as scrap and startup losses, shown as the shaded portion of bar F.

As this diagram shows, the bottom-line good output is only a fraction of what it could be if losses in availability, performance, and quality were reduced. The diagram also suggests that to maximize effectiveness —to grow the good output on the bottom line— you must reduce not only quality losses, but also availability and performance losses. The three factors work together, and the lowest percentage is usually the constraint that most needs addressing.

The Goal and Benefits of OEE Measurement

The goal of measuring OEE is to improve the effectiveness of your equipment. Since equipment effectiveness affects shopfloor employees more than any other group, it is appropriate for them to be involved in tracking OEE and in planning and implementing equipment improvements to reduce lost effectiveness. Let’s look at some of the benefits of OEE measurement for operators and shift leaders or line managers.

We recommend that the operator collect the daily data about the equipment for use in the OEE calculation. Collecting this data will;

  • teach the operator about the equipment
  • focus the operator’s attention on the losses
  • grow a feeling of ownership of the equipment.

The shift leader or line manager is often the one who will receive the daily operating data from the operator and process it to develop information about the OEE. Working hands on with the data will;

  • give the leader/manager basic facts and figures on the equipment
  • help the leader/manager give appropriate feedback to the operators and others involved in equipment improvement
  • allow the leader to keep management informed about equipment status and improvement results

New OEE Industry Standard Now Available!

Questions about OEE? Ask your OEE Coach!

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

What is Business Process Reengineering (BPR):

Reengineering is about radical change. Business process reengineering (BPR) differs from continuous (incremental) improvement programs that place emphasis on small, gradual changes, of which the object is to improve on what an organization is already doing. It is not about ‘ Kaizen’ (small steps) but about ‘ Kaikaku’  (break-through improvement) in more or less the same way as Makigami is. In the traditionally incremental change to improve business performance, typically one of several forms are taken, e.g., quality (total quality management), automation, reorganization, downsizing, and rightsizing. In contrast, BPR is:

  1. Not just automation, although it often uses technology in creative and innovation ways.
  2. Not just reorganization, although it almost always requires organizational change.
  3. Not just downsizing, although it usually improves productivity.
  4. Not just quality, although it is almost always focused on customer satisfaction and processes that support it.

BPR is a balanced approach that may contain elements of more traditional improvement programs with which it is often confused. However, BPR is much more than that.

First, BPR seeks breakthroughs in important measures of performance rather than incremental improvements.

Second, BPR pursues multifaceted improvement goals, including quality, cost, flexibility, and speed, accuracy, and customer satisfaction concurrently. To accomplish these outcomes, BPR, like lean, TPM, Makigami etc.  adopts a process perspective of the business, while other programs retain functional (departmental) perspectives. It also involves a willingness to rethink how work should be done, even if it means totally discarding current practices if that should prove necessary.

BPR also takes a holistic approach to business improvement, leveraging technology and empowering people, which encompasses both the technical aspects of process (technology, standards, procedures, systems, and controls) and other social aspects (organization, staffing, policies, jobs, career paths, and incentives)

(adapted from Manganelli R.L. and Klein M.M., The Reengineering Handbook, 1994).

A magnificent technique to use in such a BPR process is the makigami process analysis.