Oba Gauge

This principle aims to limit the height of racks, shelves and equipment to less than 4 feet or 1.3 meters within a workplace in order not to limit visibility. Named after Mr. Oba, a Japanese kaizen consultant who stood about 4 feet tall in height


A method of communication, cross-functional cooperation, and decision-making that specifies the space, time, and visual organization of information. The obeya is a large room set up with a specific purpose. Typically it’s to share information about a project, strategy or overall business operation in a way that enables rapid decision-making and collaboration. Obeya is a Japanese word for “big room” meaning an open office working space with no interior walls.

Occasional Work

Tasks that are not part of every cycle, but required periodically.

Ohno Circle

A chalk circle that Taiichi Ohno, Vice President at Toyota, drew on the factory floor. Engineers and managers were instructed to stand in the circle and observe a process or area in order to understand the process and appreciate the daily challenges people faced.

Ohni, Taiichi

One-Piece Flow

Working on and moving along on item or task at a time continuously through a series of processes. Each step only creates and hands off what the next step needs, avoiding the creation and handling of work in process. Achieving one-piece flow requires the shortening of distances between processes, balancing of work loads, stabilization of quality, and other measures to streamline the work. One-piece flow makes the progress of work visible, highlighting problems and delays, due to a lack of buffer. One of the three elements of just-in-time.

One-point Lesson

A visual format for teaching specific information about a single topic. One Point Lesson are on a single page, with typically one key point per one-page lesson. The lessons are visuals, including many pictures, dagrams, charts and a few words. One-point lessons clearly shows right vs. wrong, dos vs. don'ts, through lessons teachable in 5 to 10 minutes at or near the place of work. There three main types of one point lessons are the basic information sheet, problem briefing and Improvement idea sharing. One-point lessons began as part of a TPM program to teach operators about their equipment and processes, but this format is widely used today.

One-Touch Exchange of Dies

The reduction of die set-up activities down to a single step.

Operations Process Chart

Operational Availability

Also called availability, this is a measure of the percentage of time when a machine or process is able to run when there is a need to run it.

Operational Excellence

A business strategy to develop the capabilities to excel in areas of flexibility, on-time delivery, quality and reliability while maintaining lower operating costs, thus increasing customer satisfaction and competitiveness.

Operator Cycle Time

The total time it takes for an operator to perform one complete cycle of work for a process or series of processes.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness

Abbreviated OEE, it is a measure of how well a process is making use of its facilities or equipment compared to its full potential. The three components of Availability, Performance and Quality relate directly to the six big losses of equipment. The formula is OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality. OEE measures the ability to run equipment when there is demand and it is scheduled to run. OEE does not measure downtime of equipment that is not running due to lack of customer demand.

Overall Optimization

Increasing the efficiency or effectiveness of the total system even at the cost of making individual processes slower, less efficient or underutilized.

Overall Plant Effectiveness

Abbreviated OPE, this is a measure of the ability of equipment to produce good products at the designed speed when there is demand and when it is scheduled to run. Unlike OEE, OPE includes planned downtime in the calculation. Like OEE, OPE does not account for or equipment idled due to lack of customer demand. In terms of potential, one hundred percent OPE for a machine would mean running without any losses, planned or unplanned, across the entire shifts that it’s scheduled to run.


Producing more, sooner or faster than is required by the next process or customer. One of the seven types of waste.