Machine Cycle Time

The time it takes for a machine actually to complete one cycle of its process. The machine cycle time is comprised of the machine cycle which may be automatic or manually-driven, the time to load the part and the time to unload the part. In addition, for shared equipment with changers, a per-piece changeover time may be added to determine capacity.

Make one, move one

Makigami Analysis

A detailed business process mapping method uses large sheets of paper on the wall. Sometimes called "brown paper mapping". The makigami format is structured in four sections. The top section is a swim lane map showing how the process flows across organizational functions. The section below this displays actual documents, screen shots and other artifacts used at each process. The third section lists the value added time, non value-added time and lead times. The bottom section of the map is to summarized the problems, losses and wastes at each of the process steps above it. Makigami is the Japanese term for "roll of paper".

Maintenance Prevention

The consideration of maintenance information and new technologies during planning, construction, installation and use of new equipment. The purpose of maintenance prevention activity is to design highly reliable, easy to maintain, low cost, ease to operate, safe, high quality equipment.

Management & Planning Tools

Problem solving tools used for kaizen and Hoshin Kanri activities. They are:

  1. matrix diagram
  2. interrelationship diagrams
  3. process decision program charts
  4. activity network diagrams
  5. radar charts
  6. tree diagrams
  7. affinity diagrams

Mann-Whitney Test

A hypothesis test to determine whether there is a statistically significant difference between the medians of two independent sets of non-normally distributed continuous data. Mann-Whitney tests are useful for determining whether a particular strata or group of data provides insight into the root cause of a problem.

Master Black Belt

A person who is responsible for strategic planning of improvement projects, leading projects, training and coaching Black Belts and Green Belts. Master Black Belts are certified black belts with at least five years of practice in Lean and Six Sigma methods.

Material and Information Flow Diagram

Material Presentation

Bringing materials needed to a process in the right quantity, at the right time, in the right orientation, in such a way to make the work easier. Material presentation aims to move variable or time-consuming work of unpackaging and rearranging parts off-line so that the main process can flow smoothly.

Material Replenishment

The reordering, receipt and presentation of regularly stocked products. Material replenishment involves the identification of a need for materials, communication of the need to the supplier, and fulfillment by the supplier.

Matrix Diagram

A visual tool for identifying the presence and strengths of relationship between two or more sets of items. Matrix diagrams provide a compact way of visualize many-to-many relationships of varying degrees.


A measure of the central tendency of a sample. Also called arithmetic mean. A way of describing what an average representative item from a group would look like. The arithmetic mean is calculated by dividing the sum of the samples by the number of samples.

Mean Time Between Failures

Abbreviated MTBF, this is the average time between failure events. It’s an indicator of the expected amount of time that will pass between one previous failure of a system to the next failure. MTBF is used as a predictor of breakdowns and failures that we assume will happen.

Mean Time To Failure

Abbreviated MTTF, this is the length of time that an item is expected to be in operation before it fails. It is the mean, or average time, between the individual failures of items that cannot be repaired and must be replaced, such as broken light bulbs or torn belts. MTTF is a basic indicator of reliability of non-repairable systems.

Mean Time to Repair

Abbreviated MTTR, this is the average amount of time it takes to complete a repair on a piece of equipment. The clock starts for MTTR when the repair starts and it goes until operations are restored.

Measure Phase

The DMAIC phase whose purpose is to measure the process, determine its current performance and quantify the problem. The measure phase includes validating the measurement system and establishing a baseline sigma level of process capability.

Measurement Systems Analysis

Abbreviated MSA, this is an experimental and mathematical method to determine how much variation within the measurement equipment and measurement processes contribute to overall process variability. MSA investigates the five parameters of bias, linearity, stability, repeatability and reproducibility.

See also Gage R&R


The midpoint or the middle value of the data set. The median is the average of the middle two values when a data set has an even count. This measure is for skewed or non-normal data.

MIF Diagram


Specific, defined points on a learning journey or achievements during a project that are used to indicate progress. Named after the stone markers along roads that told travelers how many miles they had traveled.

Milk run

A route taken by a supply or delivery vehicle to make multiple pickups and/or drop-offs at different locations. Milk runs enable flexibility since each load contains small quantities of many different parts.

Mind mapping

A method to graphically represent ideas, concepts and thoughts. It is a simple visual tool for note-taking, analyzing the relationship between ideas, or structuring information. The main idea, topic or theme is written in the center hub, with related ideas creating their own branches and hubs.

Minimum Viable Product

The smallest usable product, service, business model or other deliverable to begin testing and validating the idea. The MVP is the very first increment of the build-measure-learn cycle. The MVP helps to demonstrate whether a market exists for a particular idea.

Mistake Proofing

Efforts to eliminate defects by preventing errors by people, machines and processes before they occur, or by creating alarms when detecting conditions leading to defects. Mistake-proofing begins by understanding the ways a process can fail. Ideally, mistake-proofing devices, mechanisms, actions or methods physically prevent errors.

See also pokayoke



The most value in a given data set that occurs most frequently. The mode is the tallest bar in a Histogram. The mode is a measure of central tendency in a data set.


Equipment or processes that are often large, fixed in place, or otherwise inflexible, causing flow to be interrupted or batched. Information systems and other non-physical investments can become monuments when leaders decide they spent too much money on them to replace them even when they are not working.

Moonshine shop

A place where rapid prototyping, experimentation and iteration is done.

See also Moonshining


The development of processes, equipment and tools through low-cost, rapid prototyping and iteration. Moonshining is often started informally, with materials available to create mockups and without relying on normal engineering channels. Named after the illegal alcohol stills that were operated in secret under the moonlight.


The movements people make as part of performing a job or task. Motions such as searching, arranging, sorting, lifting, reaching etc. take time and effort but do not add value to the customer. Motion is one of the seven types of waste.


The Japanese word for waste.

Multi-machine Handling

The practice of assigning machine operators to run more than one machine, typically of the same type within a functional layout. Multi-machine handling requires that people do not need to monitor machines, that human work has been separated from machine work, and that machines have a degree of jidoka and auto-eject capability.

Multiple Regression Test

A hypothesis test to determines whether there is a correlation between two or more values of X and the output Y for continuous data. Multiple regression tests help determine the degree to which changes in Y can be attributable to one or more Xs. Multiple Regression tests produce “prediction equations” that calculate the value of Y that can be expected for the values of one or more X values within the range of the data set.

Multi-process Handler

A worker who has been cross-trained to be capable of multi-process handling.

Multi-process Handling

The practice of assigning workers to handle more than one process within a continuous flow operation. Multi-process handling requires cross-training so that people can handle different types of equipment, tools, and so forth.

Multi-skilled Worker

A worker who has been cross-trained to handle multiple processes, equipment, tools and skills.


A way for a group to narrow down a list of choices down to a manageable few.

See also N/3


The Japanese word for overburden, strain or sometime unreasonable.


The Japanese word for variation or unevenness.