List of Selected Operational Excellence Buzzwords

Cycle Time

The average time from a unit entering the process until it is completed as a finished good.


  1. Anything that results in customer dissatisfaction
  2. Anything that results in non-conformance to the customer’s requirements
  3. Any variation of a requirement or feature of a product or service which prevents the product from fulfilling the functional and physical requirements of the customer
  4. Anything that causes a person or product to go outside the normal process to rework or correct a step in the process

Defect Opportunity

Any opportunity that may arise that would produce a defect on a product or service at any point of of a process.  Defect opportunities exist from vendor selection and qualification to incoming inspection of raw materials on the manufacturing floor to shipping product to the customer to after sales technical support not resolving a problem on the first call.

Executive Team

The Executive team enables and supports the cross-functional culture and must demonstrate the same cooperation, toward a common goal, at their level.

Five “whys”

A technique for discovering the root cause of a problem and showing the relationship of causes by repeatedly asking the question \”Why?\” five times.

KPI – (Key Process Indicator or Key Process Input) – not the same as progress indicator.  See metric.


A structured approach that addresses all aspects (who, what, when, where, why, and how) of incorporating improvements into the process or system.


The organized creation of beneficial change; the attainment of unprecedented levels of performance. Levels of improvement range from incremental to major; e.g., \”breakthrough\” improvement.

Internal failures

Product failures that occur before the product is delivered to external customers.  Internal failures contribute to the Cost of Poor Quality


Lean is about maximizing value and eliminating waste.  A lean organization understands customer value and focuses its key processes to continuously increase it. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to the customer through a perfect value creation process that has zero waste.