1. Translating Transformation

  1. Aimai

    Vague, ambiguous. Used to describe a situation, layout or instruction that is unclear and non-specific causing confusion.


    Peace of mind. Used to describe the condition where things are made clear and a person's mind can rest easy from worry. 


    Quality; it also means natural. Quality is a natural or normal state. Defects are an abnormal state.


    Pull, drag, draw stretch. The condition of completed work creating a vacuum that draws the next unit to be worked on only when it is needed.


    Abnormal. Used to describe a condition that is out of standard, or non-compliant.


    Kai means to change, fix, make new, improved attitude. Zen means the ideal state, correct, the natural way of things, good, to make better. Loosely translated means continuous improvement. 

    Keiken Ga Nai 

    Keiken = experience, maturity. Ganai = does not have. Keiken ganai =does not have experience or maturity. Often used to describe people who think they know but whose kaizen understanding is shallow and mechanical rather than deep and spiritual. 


    Function, by truly understanding the function of something, one can reduce it to its simplest form. 


    To produce things. 


    Without packaging. All I want is the meat of the nut not the shell. Just the meat of the banana not the peel. The same applies to work. I only want the thing, not the box or crate that surrounds it. 


    To make visible, for better management and control, to expose the reality for kaizen opportunities. 


    Stop a problem before it exists. To organize work so that if a problem is going to occur it is detected before it happens and countermeasures automatically take place to avoid the problem. 


    Wasteful, futile useless. Activities that provide no value and only raise cost. 


    Unevenness, inconsistent, irregular. Mura exists when workflow is out of balance and workload is inconsistent and not incompliance with the standard.

  2. Muri 

    Unreasonable, impossible, overdoing and overburdened. For people, Muri means too heavy a mental or physical burden. For machinery Muri means expecting a machine to do more than it is capable of or has been designed to do. 


    Flow, flowing like a stream. In Kaizen the target is to make things flow in a natural way, to make the work place come alive where you can see its heart beat and feel its tempo. 


    Strong spirit. Netsui is required to implement Kaizen as the organization will naturally resist. To be successful requires a strong spirit. 

    Nige Kojo 

    Evasive excuse. It describes the condition when one doesn't want to say no and instead gives a response that is non-committal, knowing full well they are not going to comply with a request. 


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


    Rough, sketchy unclear. Typically used to describe work instructions or workplace flow that is non-specific and lacking standard work. 


    Shoving, pushing. The condition that pushes work in advance of demand and creates waste. 


    Normal. Used to describe a condition that is behaving as planned. 


    Teacher, Master, or Instructor. 




    A chart that shows work balance among operators. It is used to make sure work is evenly distributed and each operator has a full day's work. 


    Ready set go. Much like the start of a race. Often used to start the timing of a simulation. This method is specificially used to find the process bottleneck. 


    Good, okay. Usually used in simulations at the point of go-no-go to signify a good workpiece can be transferred from one transformational step to the next one. Yoshi is said with vigor and strong spirit. 


    Customs house. Used in a derogatory way to describe activities that add no value but impose costs, much like duty or taxes.

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