Call to cash

The time elapsed and/or the scope of activity from initial customer contact, receipt of order, fulfillment of the order and collection of payment.


Cleanup, Arranging, Neatness, Discipline and Ongoing Improvement An industrial housekeeping program developed at the Ford Motor Company circa 1922.


An acronym for corrective and preventive action, this is a document which includes actions to eliminate the cause of an existing problem or non-conformity and also actions to prevent recurrence of the same or similar problems.

Capital Linearity

A concept in designing and buying production equipment or capital assets such that small amounts of capacity can be added or removed with changes in demand. This allows the amount of capital needed per increment of additional capacity to very nearly the same, or linear, rather than a stepwise increase.

Cardboard Engineering

The design of products, equipment or processes using cardboard boxes or other inexpensive and temporary materials to rapidly simulate the objects in actual size in three dimensions. Often an entire production line is created prior to finalizing design, purchase or layout change decisions.

See also Moonshining

See Also Production Preparation Process


A method to refine the details of project plans, seek frontline input to top-down goals, promote buy-in on initiatives, Catchball is an iterative process similar to playing catch, in which an idea is thrown back and forth with each side adding their thoughts and comments in the process. Catch ball fosters a dialogue between leadership and project teams about the resources and time needed and available to achieve the targets. This helps to ensure that ambitious plans are also realistic and attainable.

Cause and Effect Diagram

A tool for structured brainstorming of potential causes for a specific undesirable effect. Causes are typically arranged by labor, material, method, equipment, environmental, measurement or other categories, in vertical spurs along horizontal axis. It is also known as an Ishikawa Diagram after its creator, and as a Fishbone Diagram due to its shape.


Acronym for Cause and Effect Diagram with the Addition of Cards. CEDAC involves a team of people contribute ideas written on 3 x 5 cards or Post-it notes to the diagram. The aim is to generate a high volume of ideas by involving many people at once. The cards allow ideas on to be rearranged as the diagram develops. See Cause and Effect Diagram.


The arrangement or processes and equipment for production of a specific product, or family of products, close to each other and in their sequence of flow. The proximity of processes allows for flowing product in small lots or one at a time, for cross training workers between processes, reduced transportation effort, better utilization of space, and the immediate detection of problems or defects.

Cellular Layout

See also U-shaped cell

Center Line

The horizontal reference line on a control chart that is the average value of the charted quality characteristic. The center line is used to observe how the process performs compared to the average. If a process is in control, the points will vary randomly around the center line.


A method for reducing product and process variability and increasing equipment efficiency in industrial processes. Centerlining begins with identifying the key variables for the equipment, determining an acceptable range for all variables, identify how the variables affect the output, and ensuring that these optimal, or centerlining settings, are always used during production.

Central Tendency

A statistics term that describe where the middle of a data set lies. There are three common ways to describe the center of data.

  1. Mean or average. The sum of all data points divided by the number of data points
  2. Median. The data point with an equal number of data points above and below it
  3. Mode. The most frequent data point

Chaku-Chaku Line

A load-load production line where the only human activity is to 'chaku' or 'load' the machines. The machines eject the finished parts automatically using automatic eject devices, so that the operators do not have to wait.


A person in a leadership position who sponsors an improvement project, supports a Green Belt or a Black Belt by securing resources or removing obstacles. Champions meet regularly with project teams to provides guidance and support in the pursuit of project goals. Champions have a professional interest in the process, project or outcome.

Change Agent

A person who helps an organization, or part of an organization, to transform how it operates.


The process of changing a machine or production from the production of one product or to another product. Depending on the process this may include changing materials, packaging, parts, dies, molds, fixtures, etc. The term Changever is often used interchangeably with Setup, although some organizations may use these terms for specific activities on their equipment.

Changeover Time

The time elapsed when changing from the last good part of product run to the first good part of the next production run after the changeover.

Change Management

A collection of activities to prepare, communicate, support, and help individuals, teams, and entire organizations successfully navigate significant changes.

Change Point

Any change that can affect the quality of the output of a product or service. Change points are categorized by the 5M1E set, namely

  • Machine: changes to equipment conditions
  • Manpower: staffing changes or introduction of new workers
  • Materials: variation in materials due to supplier or process changes
  • Methods: new tools or procedures
  • Measurement: changes in methods, tools or reliability of measurement
  • Environmental: factors such as temperature, humidity, dust etc.

See also 5M1E

Change Point Management

The act of identifying the relevant Change Points for a product, service or process, determining the correct standards and settings for these Change Points, setting visual controls for these Change Points, and establishing routines to monitor the adherence to these standards.

See also Change Point


A definable or measurable feature of a process, product, or service.


A person who actively helps an organization transform itself by promoting ideas, teaching concepts, fostering discussion, demonstrating success, leading by example and so forth.

Check sheet

A document used to collect data on the frequency of an occurrence. Check sheets are commonly kept at the place where particular incidents happen so that they can be quickly tallied. Check sheets are often simple grids with rows containing types of occurrences and columns representing time periods.

Chi-Square Test

Written as χ² test, this is a statistical hypothesis test to determine whether a sample data matches a population. A chi-square test for independence compares two variables in a contingency table to see if they are related. A very small chi-square test statistic means the observed data fits the expected data extremely well, and that there is a relationship. A very large chi-square test statistic means the data does not fit very well, and that there is no relationship.

Chronic Loss

Process failures or deviations from normal operations that are small, frequent, and that have been accepted as normal.

Chief Engineer

A term used Toyota for the program manager responsible for the development of a product line. Chief engineers have strong technical backgrounds enabling them to lead and coordinate the technical work of engineers, designers, and other developers on the project while integrating the work of the development team around a unified product vision. Chief engineers lead teams that develop the product concept, the business case, the technical design of the product, coordinates with production engineering and sales/marketing, manages the overall development process and takes the product into production. Chief engineers do not directly supervise most of the developers who work on their products, instead they report to their functional unit managers.

Coaching Kata

The routine for leaders and managers teach the Improvement Kata to people in their organization. The coach gives the learner guidance on the process rather than solutions. These are based on a series of coaching questions. See also 5 Toyota Kata Coaching Questions

Common Cause Variation

Variation that is natural and inherent to a process. Common Causes act randomly and independently of each other, are difficult to eliminate, and often require changes to the system. Common Cause variation generally conforms to a normal distribution and is stable over the time.

Concurrent Engineering

A method of designing and developing products or services in which the different development stages run simultaneously, rather than consecutively. This reduces product development time and the time to market.


Anything that prevents a system from achieving its goal. All systems have one or more constraints. They can be internal or external to the system, physical, material, informational, policy, human, market, technical or other.

Continuous Data

Data that is measured on a continuum of an infinitely divisible scale. In continuous data, half of a unit, such as half a minute, half a mile, or half of a kilogram, makes sense. Continuous data cannot be counted but require a gauge or meter such a clock, thermometer or scale, to measure.

Continuous Flow

The act of moving work through the process from start to finish without stopping. In an ideal continuous flow process, the work never sits and waits in queue, so the cycle time equals the lead time. Continuous flow keeps product moving, limiting inventory and storage losses.

Continuous Improvement

The ongoing, incremental efforts to improve products, services and processes, based on the conviction that there is always a better way.

Continuous Quality Improvement

A management philosophy and methodology aimed at enhancing processes and systems within an organization to achieve better quality and performance. CQI involves an ongoing cycle of planning, doing, checking, and acting (PDCA) to continually improve the quality of products, services, or processes. It emphasizes employee involvement and teamwork, systematic data collection and analysis, and a sustained commitment to making incremental improvements over time. While applicable across various sectors, CQI has gained significant prominence in healthcare, where it focuses on systematically evaluating and improving clinical practices, administrative processes, and patient outcomes. In healthcare, it plays a crucial role in enhancing patient care, safety standards, and operational efficiencies.

Control Chart

A statistical process control tool used to determine whether a process is in control. It is a graph used to study how a process changes by plotting data in time order. Control charts alway have a central line for the average, an upper line for the upper control limit, and a lower line for the lower control limit. These are determined from historical data. By comparing current data to these lines we can judge whether the process variation is predictable (in control) or is unpredictable, and out of control, therefore affected by special causes of variation.

Control Limits

The horizontal lines drawn on a Control Chart, normally at a distance of ±3 standard deviations of the plotted statistic from the statistical mean.

Control Phase

The final phase of the DMAIC approach. Control phase activities insure that improvements are sustained and reliably meet the customer's’ expectations. Control phase activities include finalizing documentation, establishing monitoring plans, and putting in systems for abnormality response.

Control Plan

A documented guide for the ongoing monitoring of the process, tracking of indicators, and responding to deviations in the performance metrics.


Abbreviation for Constant Work In Process. Another way of setting up a FIFO (first in first out) inventory system.


Abbreviation for Customer, Output, Process, Inputs, Supplier. A way of creating a SIPOC Diagram beginning at the customer.

See also SIPOC Diagram

Corrective Action

Actions to eliminate causes of non-conformities, improve defective processes or otherwise prevent recurrence of undesirable situations.

Corrective Action Report

A written record of the investigation into the root cause of a problem and the actions required to eliminate the underlying cause.

Corrective Maintenance

Work to return a piece of equipment to normal function after discovery of a fault, failure or deterioration of capability. Corrective maintenance can be unplanned and reactive to a breakdown, or based on a maintenance plan.


A statistical term describing the relationship between two separate measurable factors. Correlation may be positive, so that when one goes up, the other goes up, as in temperature and the number of people in a room. Correlation may be negative, so that when one goes up the other goes down, as in temperature and the number of people wearing coats.

Cost of Quality

Cost of Poor Quality

A metric to capture the costs an organization bears due to poor quality, beyond the direct cost of defective products. COPQ is often quantified as a dollar amount comprised of prevention costs, such as quality planning, training, preventive maintenance, housekeeping etc.; appraisal costs, such as testing, inspection, audits, reviews and surveys, etc.; and failure costs, such as scrap, rework, returned goods, product recalls, lost sales, complaints handling, expediting, equipment downtime, injuries, etc.

Counterclockwise Flow

A basic principle of cellular layout that the flow of material and the motion of people should be from right to left, or counterclockwise. This originates from the fact that most people are right-handed, and as they move through the cell, their dominant hand is closer to the work piece or machine. Race tracks are also designed counterclockwise, due to the fact that the right brain and left eye process spatial information, making people more comfortable when leading with our left eye while moving.


An action taken to offset or counter another action. In problem-solving terms, countermeasures address root causes. Countermeasures suggest an experimental nature, rather than a permanent one-time solution. Multiple countermeasures are often necessary to address complex problems. When an experiment determines that a countermeasure is insufficient, others are developed and tried.


Process capability index (Cpk) is a statistical measure of a process ability to produce output within customer’s specification limits. Cpk is used to estimate how close the process is to a given target and how consistent the process is around the average performance. Cpk also estimate future process performance, providing performance is consistent over time.

Creative Idea Suggestion System

The name for the employee idea suggestion system at Toyota.

Creativity Over Capital

A continuous improvement principle that encourages spending money to solve a problem only after using simple, low-cost ideas and human ingenuity.

Critical Path

The sequence of activities in a project, process series or system which must be completed on time for the project to complete on time. Activities on the critical path cannot be started until its predecessor activity is complete. The critical path is determined by identifying the longest stretch of dependent activities and totaling the times to complete them from start to finish.

Critical to Quality Characteristic

The key measurable characteristics of a product, service or process that customers have determined are important.

Cross Dock

Abbreviated DC, this is a facility that receives, sorts, recombines and ships a variety of items from many suppliers to many customers. A cross dock differs from a warehouse in that it does not store goods. In a DC, goods are unloaded from inbound vehicles and moved to shipping lanes for outbound vehicles in one step.

Cross-functional flowchart

Cross-functional team

Complex problem solving often require complex thinking to get to simple, effective, easy to implement solutions. When a team is very homogenous, they tend to think very rigidly and one-dimensionally.

Consider a football team. Coaches understand the need for a well-balanced set of skills. A team needs big guys for the offensive line. It needs a quick thinker who can throw well for its quarterback. It needs strong players for running backs and linebackers, and fast players as receivers. With only big guys, or just fast guys, a team would fail.

A cross-functional team in the workplace follows the same principle. It uses people with a variety of skills and experience to round out the team and match its abilities to the needs of the project.


Training people to in skills and tasks outside of their original role for the purpose of increasing coverage of critical processes, succession planning, creating flow or improving overall flexibility. For example, person A learns to do the tasks for person B, and person B learns to do the tasks of person A.

Cross-training Matrix

Customer Journey Mapping

A visual representation of every experience your customers have with the organization. A customer journey map helps to tell the story of a customer's experience with your brand from original engagement and into a long-term relationship.

Cycle Stock

The inventory available to meet normal customer demand during a given period.

Cycle Time

The time it takes to complete a specific task, process or work element from start to finish.