QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Lean Manufacturing?


  1. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) incorporates established maintenance procedures with team-based maintenance.
  2. Just-in-Time (JIT) relies on many things going right. It is difficult to achieve and plan for JIT.
  3. Six Sigma is a means of using continuous improvement to further enhance and increase productivity and product quality.
  4. Kaizen is a lean manufacturing term, based on team effort, where only members from the direct product line may participate.
  5. Muda is a Japanese term that focuses on identifying, reducing, and eliminating waste in the production process.



Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a lean method that focuses on optimizing the effectiveness of manufacturing equipment. Total Productive Maintenance builds upon established equipment management approaches and focuses on team-based maintenance that involves employees at every level and function.


Just-in-Time is a production scheduling concept that calls for any item needed at a production operation, whether raw material, finished item, or anything in between, to be produced and available precisely when needed. It is achieved with careful planning and analysis.


Six Sigma denotes a target level of quality that is six times the standard deviation. This means that defects only occur approximately 3.4 times per million opportunities, representing high quality and minimal process variability. Six Sigma methods are used to support and guide organizational continual improvement activities.

By using Six Sigma statistical tools, companies are able to diagnose the root causes of performance gaps and variability, thereby improving productivity and product quality. Six Sigma borrows martial arts ranking terminology to define practitioner roles.


Many different functional members may participate in Kaizen.  Kaizen refers to the incremental and continual improvement of production activities aimed at reducing waste, and designed around planned, structured worker-oriented events. Kaizen is a combination of two Japanese words meaning “to take apart” and “make good.”


Muda is a Japanese term meaning "waste" and focuses on any activity or process that absorbs resources, but creates no real value (i.e., waste; activities and results to be eliminated). Categories of waste in Lean include: defects, overproduction, transport of materials, unnecessary movement, waiting, inventory, and over-processing.

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Kevin Bryan


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