Saskatoon Health Region staff will learn to speak a whole new language – the language of Lean – and the language commonly used by our lean sensai, John Black, and his team. To help get started, here is a handy glossary of terms.

We will start with a Japanese Term/English Equivalent, next will be the English Equivalent and finally, the definition.

Japanese Term/English Equivalent – A3
English Equivalent – A3
Definition – The term A3 actually refers to a paper size (11×17) but A3 documents are used for planning purposes and to report problem solving, project status, metrics, analysis, target statements and implementation plans.

Japanese Term/English Equivalent – Catch-ball
English Equivalent – Catch-ball
Definition – Participative approach to decision-making in which information and ideas are thrown and caught back and forth, throughout the organization.

Japanese Term/English Equivalent – Flow
English Equivalent – Flow
Definition – Completion of tasks along a value stream so that a service or patient proceeds through the system smoothly and efficiently without wastes.

Japanese Term/English Equivalent – Gemba/genba
English Equivalent – Shop Floor
Definition – Where the daily work happens and where value is created for the customer.

Japanese Term/English Equivalent – Hoshin Kanri
English Equivalent – Strategy Deployment
Definition – Breakthrough initiatives to improve the health of all people in Saskatchewan, from residents and patients to health-care providers. For the first time, the strategic plans of each health region this year will align with the provincial health plan in a process known as strategy deployment.

Japanese Term/English Equivalent – Jidoka
English Equivalent – Mistake Proofing
Definition – Examines the root causes for mistakes and aims to prevent them before they create defects. Mistake proofing also eliminates rework and reduces costs.

Japanese Term/English Equivalent – Kaizen
English Equivalent – Continuous Improvement
Definition – Typically, a short burst of team effort aimed at improving part of a process.