4 Ms

Man/woman, machine, method, and material.

affinity diagram

A tool for gathering and grouping ideas; one of the new seven quality tools; used in hoshin planning.


A Japanese martial art founded by Morehei Ueshiba.


A line stop; typically a cord that a worker can pull to stop the assembly line when he or she detects a defect; an example of jidoka.


"Morning market" in Japanese; a quality activity that entails reviewing the previous day's most important defects and doing on-the-spot problem solving.

batch production

The practice of making large batches of a particular item so as to realize (supposed) efficiencies of equipment, materials, and map-power.


An arrangement of people, machines, materials, and methods such that processing steps are adjacent and in sequential order so that parts can be processed one at a time (or in some cases in a consistent small batch that is maintained through the process sequence). The purpose of a cell is to achieve and maintain efficient continuous flow.

change over time

The time it takes for a piece of equipment to change over from one product to another; usually measured from the last good previous part or service to the first subsequent good part or service.

continuous flow

In its purest form continuous flow means that items are processed and moved directly to the next process one piece at a time. Each processing step completes its work just before the next process needs the item, and the transfer batch size is one. Also known ...

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