The act of making the work of a group easier or more effective through coaching, instruction or guidance. Facilitation is typically process-focused rather than content-focused. A facilitator is not responsible for the attainment of results by the team, but for providing structure, keeping the team on track, and providing feedback on their progress.


A person who makes an activity, project or process easier through instruction, coaching, and guidance, rather than a direct leadership or hands-on role. For example, a facilitator may provide guidance for a group to follow a decision-making process to achieve consensus, but the facilitator does not have a vote or direct influence on the decision.


Any unwanted event such as a machine fault, equipment breakdown, system malfunction or process error that results in lost time. Failures can be a repairable breakdown or a non repairable one.

Failure Map

A visual method to visualize where and how often failures are occurring. A failure may is typically a plant layout diagram with markings at the locations of equipment failures and unwanted events. It is similar to a defect map or defect location check sheet.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

Abbreviated FMEA, this is a structured approach for identifying sources of potential failures, their severity, their probability and ease of detection, with the aim to implement corrective and preventive actions.

Failure Rate

An indicator of how often a machine, a component or an engineered system fails. This is expressed in failures per unit of time.

Fault Tree Analysis

A method to determine the probability that an unwanted event will occur. This is done by systematically investigating what happens to a system when the status of one or more elements of that system changes.

Feeder Lines

A line or process that supports a main process or assembly line. Feeder lines are useful for moving variation off-line from the main process so that it can run more stably.


A physical or painted area indicating the First In First Out (FIFO) sequence of incoming work.

First In First Out

A system of keeping track of the order in which information or materials need to be processed. The goal of FIFO is to prevent earlier orders from being delayed unfairly in favor of new orders.

First in, Still Here

A system in which information or material produced first is not consumed first. This results in earlier orders being delayed unfairly in favor of new orders.

First Pass Yield

Abbreviated FPY, first pass yield is the percentage of items moving through a series of processes without any rework, correction or defects.


Fishbone Diagram

Five Whys

See 5 Why

Fixed Position Stop System

A method of jidoka, or build-in-quality, for manual processes on moving assembly lines. Fixed-position stops are set within assembly lines so that if a problem is detected that cannot be solved during the work cycle, the line stops. The problem may be an issue with parts, tools, materials supply, safety conditions, instructions etc. When a worker discovers a problem, she signal the line leader or supervisor by pulling a cord or pushing a button. The leader assesses whether the problem can be addressed before the end of the current work cycle. If so, the line does not stop. If not, the line stops at the end of the work cycle. The fixed-position stop system reduces the need to immediately stop a production line for small problems that can be addressed within cycle.

Fixed Time Variable Quantity

The preferred method of conveyance when processes are disconnected and distances are long.

Fixed Quantity Variable Time

The preferred method of conveyance when processes are connected and distances are short, also when lot sizes are large.


The ideal way to add value for the customer is through a continuous movement of material, information, and process steps. Flow is designed by creating process steps and handing off work one at a time or in small lots. This exposes delays, work-in-process queues, errors, excessive movement or transportation and other types of waste. Achieving flow requires addressing the root causes of these wastes, balancing workloads, and measuring the effectiveness of the whole process flow rather than individual processes.


A diagram of the steps of a process in sequential order. Flowcharts use a standard set of symbols to represent types of actions and connect them with arrows. One of the seven quality control tools.

Flow Process Chart

Focused Improvement

A set of activities, methods and tools designed to increase the Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or OEE, of plants and processes. One of the eight pillars of TPM. It is “focused” by breaking down the problem and addressing individual factors of OEE one at a time. Focused Improvement targets the six big losses by employing a narrow-and-deep approach.

See also 8 Pillars of TPM

See Also OEE

See Also 6 Big Losses

Force Field Analysis

A brainstorming method which compares the forces that positively drive and negatively restraining an idea. The Force Field Analysis often takes the form of a two-column pros & cons chart. It may include a ranking system of the strength of each force for or against. The purpose of the analysis is to identify and counter negative forces with positive ones in order to achieve the objective.


Abbreviation for full time equivalent. A way to determine staffing needs when people perform multiple tasks, across multiple functions, or different number of hours per week. A full-time equivalent for a 40-hour week could be one person working the same job for forty hours or two people working part-time for a combined 40 hours.

Full Work System

A method used in jidoka (autonomation) to limit overproduction by switching a machine or automated line on or off by detecting whether the line is full of work pieces or not.

See also A-B Control

Functional Deployment Diagram

Functional Layout

A workplace design in which processes are organized by the type of work or function. In a functional layout, the processes and equipment of the same type are in one location. While this may simplify the management of the individual process, it often harms the overall flow. Functional layouts are the opposite of cellular layouts.

Future State Map

A drawing of the target condition of a business process map. The future state map acts as a guide for the direction of continuous improvement. A future state map is typically not the long-term ideal, but a step in that direction, imaged three to six months out.