One thing about Lean Manufacturing that scares many people is the slang. Some people are curious about what those words mean, others are sarcastic about why we need to use Japanese words and others are just scared. I have to admit that the first time I read a book about Lean was confused. I was intimidated for a few seconds: gemba, gembutsu, kaizen, kanban, jidoka, heijunka, and others.
Regardless that first shock, I decided to embrace the words and although I am still confused sometimes with those that I barely used, there are a lot more that I used very often. One of those that I used every day is gemba. Before the times on which the management team decided to learn more and practice lean; I was the only one who used that word. I remember one time on which our IT manager come to help me with some technical problems with my email and he was the word gemba on my calendar and was so curious about the meaning that he had to ask.
Lean does not use only Japanese words, there are a lot more of English terms and acronyms that sometimes are not easy to follow or the meaning is different to what we know: TPM, value-added, JIT, PDCA, pull system, visual management, 5S, A3, waste.
In 2012, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) started to work towards maximizing its value to customer agencies and the people of Oregon. They implemented an entrepreneurial management business model and using tools that contribute to continuous improvement. Those tools included the use of lean manufacturing principles. DAS employees started to systematically eliminate waste, improve quality, and increase customer satisfaction. They publish their transformation glossary, which I found very useful.
Get over the words, with the time you will get used to them and more than that, you will start using them without problems. The people around you will get used to them as well, although I have to tell you, not without give you weird looks first.