If you haven’t worked in the manufacturing industry before, some terms may be confusing. Every industry uses its own jargon and unique way of communicating, and manufacturing does as well.
Here are some basic manufacturing terms and what they mean, to help you shine in a job interview, or just for general manufacturing training knowledge that might help you understand the world of manufacturing.
Basic Manufacturing Terms #1: Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is the name given to the concept of smart factories that can do all the production work and even plan productions all on its own. The term was first coined in Germany, as the German government strongly supports the computerization and further automation of the manufacturing industry. Industry 4.0 is also sometimes referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Basic Manufacturing Terms #2: Kaisen
Similar to lean manufacturing, Kaisen is a Sino-Japanese word (Japanese words originated in or derived from Chinese speech) that means “improvement.” In a manufacturing context, it means to continuously improve the production process, from CEO to line worker. Kaisen is notably mentioned in The Toyota Way, the management and production philosophy that guides the Toyota Motor Corporation and is credited for much of the company’s success.
Basic Manufacturing Terms #3: Automation
“Automation” is a word that’s thrown around a lot when discussing the future of manufacturing. Automation means a procedure or process performed with either minimal or no human interaction. Many people fear automation will take away jobs, which it does sometimes, but often forget automated processes also create new roles, either to run a process, to program a process, or to repair machines that have broken down.
Basic Manufacturing Terms #4: Bottleneck
You may have heard of “bottlenecking” used to describe traffic jams, but the same term is used in manufacturing to describe a similar concept. A bottleneck is any time in a production line when parts arrive at a process faster than the machine or employee at that point in the line is able to process the parts.
Basic Manufacturing Terms #5: Supply Chain
A supply chain is a system of organizing the entire supply process from the gathering of raw materials, to the manufacturer of a product to the wholesaler, retailer, and finally the sale to the customer. Supply chain systems describe software that is used to organize complex supply chains for easier management.
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