Ideal State

The condition of a process or series of a process at or near perfection "as it should be" to fulfill customer demands on-time, safely, with high quality, one at a time, at a low cost.

Impact vs. Effort Matrix

Improvement Kata

A repeating four-step pattern for practicing continuous improvement through the scientific method and the PDCA cycle. The improvement kata consists of:

  1. determining a vision or direction
  2. grasping the current condition
  3. defining the next target condition
  4. moving toward the target

The first three steps are the Plan phase of the PDCA cycle. The repetition of improvement kata cycles helps to remove obstacles between us and the challenge, while building habits of continuous improvement.

Improve Phase

The DMAIC phase in which we think of countermeasures to the root causes of our problem, identify solutions or improvements, and apply these ideas in practice.

Income Statement

One of the financial statements of a company that shows the company's revenues and expenses during a particular time period. Also called profit and loss statement, or P&L.


A signal used to understand or predict a behaviors of a process, system or individual. Leading indicators are measured before and event and lagging indicators are measured after an event.

See also Leading Indicators

See also Lagging Indicators

See also Key Performance Indicators

Indirect Costs

Cost that are not directly related to the completion of a process or deliver of value. For a production process, indirect costs may include administration, personnel, IT, finance and so forth. Indirect costs may be fixed or variable. Some indirect costs may be overhead.

Information Flow, general

The movement of information between people and systems in support of service delivery, decision making, communication, execution of processes, problem solving and so forth.

Information Flow, VSM

The signal of customer needs or requests that begins at the customer and moves to each process that needs instructions for material flow and/or the start of work.

In-process Inspection

The integration of instruments, tools, software, procedures, and activities into the process in order to allow of the measurement, confirmation of quality or detection of errors within the process.

Internal Customer

The next or downstream process in a series of processes. The person or process within the organization which uses the output of your process.

Internal Setup

The time during a setup or changeover when the work can only be performed when the machine is stopped. Examples include changing tools and dies in a machine or making adjustments.

Interrelationship Diagram

A graphic representation of the relationship between factors in a complex situation. The interrelationship diagram can reveal cause-and-effect relationships that are not not easily recognizable in complex systems. The diagram is a series of boxes connected with arrows, labeled with the number of inputs and outputs to and from each box. It is one of the seven Management & Planning Tools.


The materials, components, parts or ingredients within an operation. Inventory includes unprocessed raw material, partially processed WIP (work in process) or finished goods. Inventory beyond the minimum necessary to perform the operation indicates a problem such as workload imbalance, buffering for variable quality or delivery, batching due to long changeover times, or other. Inventory is considered one of the seven types of waste because the storage, handling, damage, and carrying cost all add cost but not value to the customer.

Inventory Turns

A measure of the number of times inventory is sold or used in a time period. Inventory turns are calculated to determine whether a business is carrying excessive inventory compared to its level of sales.

Ishikawa Diagram

Isolated Islands

Isolated Jobsite

A process that is physically separated and disconnected from its upstream and downstream processes.

Issue Board

The visual board used during Issue Breakdown to raise issues, identify whether action is required, track their resolution, and record the capture or reusable knowledge.

See also Issue Breakdown

Issue Breakdown

The process of visually listing, organizing and prioritizing the design, engineering or other technical challenges we must resolve to achieve a target. These challenges are called "issues" and are typically comprised of multiple component issues or themes which must be identified and addressed one by one.