Glossary

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A

Acceptance quality limit (AQL):In a continuing series of lots, a quality level that, for the purpose of sampling inspection, is the limit of a satisfactory process average.

Acceptance number: The maximum number of defects or defectives allowable in a sampling lot for the lot to be acceptable.

Acceptance sampling: Inspection of a sample from a lot to decide whether to accept that lot. There are two types: attributes sampling and variables sampling. In attributes sampling, the presence or absence of a characteristic is noted in each of the units inspected. In variables sampling, the numerical magnitude of a characteristic is measured and recorded for each inspected unit; this involves reference to a continuous scale of some kind.

American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI): Released for the first time in October 1994, an economic indicator and cross industry measure of the satisfaction of U.S. household customers with the quality of the goods and services available to them. This includes goods and services produced in the United States and imports from foreign firms that have substantial market shares or dollar sales. ASQ is a founding sponsor of the ACSI, along with the University of Michigan Business School and the CFI Group.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI): A private, nonprofit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. It is the U.S. member body in the International Organization for Standardization, known as ISO.

American Society for Quality (ASQ): A professional, not-forprofit association that develops, promotes and applies quality related information and technology for the private sector, government and academia. ASQ serves more than 108,000 individuals and 1,100 corporate members in the United States and 108 other countries.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): Not-forprofit organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems and services.

Appraisal cost: The cost of ensuring an organization is continually striving to conform to customers’ quality requirements.

Audit: The on-site verification activity, such as inspection or examination, of a process or quality system, to ensure compliance to requirements. An audit can apply to an entire organization or might be specific to a function, process or production step.

Average sample number (ASN): The average number of sample units inspected per lot when reaching decisions to accept or reject.

Average total inspection (ATI): The average number of units inspected per lot, including all units in rejected lots (applicable when the procedure calls for 100% inspection of rejected lots

B

Baseline measurement: The beginning point, based on an evaluation of output over a period of time, used to determine the process parameters prior to any improvement effort; the basis against which change is measured.

Batch and queue: Producing more than one piece and then moving the pieces to the next operation before they are needed.

Board of Standards Review (BSR): An American National Standards Institute board responsible for the approval and withdrawal of American National Standards.

C

Calibration: The comparison of a measurement instrument or system of unverified accuracy to a measurement instrument or system of known accuracy to detect any variation from the required performance specification.

Capability maturity model (CMM): A framework that describes the key elements of an effective software process. It’s an evolutionary improvement path from an immature process to a mature, disciplined process. The CMM covers practices for planning, engineering and managing software development and maintenance to improve the ability of organizations to meet goals for cost, schedule, functionality and product quality.

Certified manager of quality/organizational excellence (CMQ/OE): An ASQ certification; formerly certified quality manager (CQM).

Certified quality auditor (CQA): An ASQ certification.

Certified quality inspector (CQI): An ASQ certification; formerly certified mechanical inspector (CMI).

Classification of defects: The listing of possible defects of a unit, classified according to their seriousness. Note: Commonly used classifications: class A, class B, class C, class D; or critical, major, minor and incidental; or critical, major and minor. Definitions of these classifications require careful preparation and tailoring to the product(s) being sampled to ensure accurate assignment of a defect to the proper classification. A separate acceptance sampling plan is generally applied to each class of defects.

Code of conduct: Expectations of behavior mutually agreed on by a team.

Company culture: A system of values, beliefs and behaviors inherent in a company. To optimize business performance, top management must define and create the necessary culture.

Complaint tracking: Collecting data, disseminating them to appropriate persons for resolution, monitoring complaint resolution progress and communicating results.

Conformance: An affirmative indication or judgment that a product or service has met the requirements of a relevant specification, contract or regulation.

Consultant: An individual who has experience and expertise in applying tools and techniques to resolve process problems and who can advise and facilitate an organization’s improvement efforts.

Consumer: The external customer to whom a product or service is ultimately delivered; also called end user.

Consumer’s risk: Pertains to sampling and the potential risk that bad products will be accepted and shipped to the consumer.

Continuous quality improvement (CQI): A philosophy and attitude for analyzing capabilities and processes and improving them repeatedly to achieve customer satisfaction.

Continuous sampling plan: In acceptance sampling, a plan, intended for application to a continuous flow of individual units of product, that involves acceptance and rejection on a unit-by unit basis and employs alternate periods of 100% inspection and sampling.

Control chart: A chart with upper and lower control limits on which values of some statistical measure for a series of samples or subgroups are plotted. The chart frequently shows a central line to help detect a trend of plotted values toward either control limit.

Control limits: The natural boundaries of a process within specified confidence levels, expressed as the upper control limit (UCL) and the lower control limit (LCL).

Corrective action: A solution meant to reduce or eliminate an identified problem.

Customer relationship management (CRM): A strategy for learning more about customers’ needs and behaviors to develop stronger relationships with them. It brings together information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends. It helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behavior of customers and the value of those customers.

Customer-supplier model (CSM): A model depicting inputs flowing into a work process that, in turn, add value and produce outputs delivered to a customer. Also called customer-supplier methodology.

D

Data: A set of collected facts. There are two basic kinds of numerical data: measured or variable data, such as “16 ounces,” “4 miles” and “0.75 inches;” and counted or attribute data, such as “162 defects.”

Defect: A product’s or service’s nonfulfillment of an intended requirement or reasonable expectation for use, including safety considerations. There are four classes of defects: class 1, very serious, leads directly to severe injury or catastrophic economic loss; class 2, serious, leads directly to significant injury or significant economic loss; class 3, major, is related to major problems with respect to intended normal or reasonably foreseeable use; and class 4, minor, is related to minor problems with respect to intended normal or reasonably foreseeable use. Also see “blemish,” “imperfection” and “nonconformity.”

Defective: A defective unit; a unit of product that contains one or more defects with respect to the quality characteristic(s) under consideration.

E

Efficiency: The ratio of the output to the total input in a process.

Equipment availability: The percentage of time during which a process (or equipment) is available to run. This can sometimes be called uptime. To calculate operational availability, divide the machine’s operating time during the process by the net available time.

Error detection: A hybrid form of error proofing. It means a bad part can be made but will be caught immediately, and corrective action will be taken to prevent another bad part from being produced. A device is used to detect and stop the process when a bad part is made. This is used when error proofing is too expensive or not easily implemented.

Ethics: The practice of applying a code of conduct based on moral principles to day-to-day actions to balance what is fair to individuals or organizations with what is right for society.

Expectations: Customer perceptions about how an organization’s products and services will meet their specific needs and requirements.

External customer: A person or organization that receives a product, service or information but is not part of the organization supplying it. Also see “internal customer.”

F

Facilitator: A specifically trained person who functions as a teacher, coach and moderator for a group, team or organization.

Failure: The inability of an item, product or service to perform required functions on demand due to one or more defects.

First in, first out (FIFO): Use of material produced by one process in the same order by the next process. A FIFO queue is filled by the supplying process and emptied by the customer process. When a FIFO lane gets full, production is stopped until the next (internal) customer has used some of that inventory.

First time quality (FTQ): Calculation of the percentage of good parts at the beginning of a production run.

Function: A group of related actions contributing to a larger action.

Functional layout: The practice of grouping machines (such as grinding machines) or activities (such as order entry) by type of operation performed.

Functional verification: Testing to ensure a part conforms to all engineering performance and material requirements.

G

Gage repeatability and reproducibility (GR&R): The evaluation of a gauging instrument’s accuracy by determining whether its measurements are repeatable (there is close agreement among a number of consecutive measurements of the output for the same value of the input under the same operating conditions) and reproducible (there is close agreement among repeated measurements of the output for the same value of input made under the same operating conditions over a period of time).

Gain sharing: A reward system that shares the monetary results of productivity gains among owners and employees.

Gantt chart: A type of bar chart used in process planning and control to display planned and finished work in relation to time.

Gap analysis: The comparison of a current condition to the desired state.

Gatekeeper: A timekeeper; in team meetings, a designated individual who helps monitor the team’s use of allocated time.

Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T): A set of rules and standard symbols to define part features and relationships on an engineering drawing depicting the geometric relationship of part features and allowing the maximum tolerance that permits full function of the product.

George M. Low Trophy: The trophy presented by NASA to NASA aerospace industry contractors, subcontractors and suppliers that consistently maintain and improve the quality of their products and services. The award, which was formerly called the NASA Excellence Award for Quality and Productivity, is given in two categories: small business and large business. George M. Low was the NASA administrator for nearly three decades.

Goal: A broad statement describing a desired future condition or achievement without being specific about how much and when.

Go/no-go: State of a unit or product. Two parameters are possible: go (conforms to specifications) and no-go (does not conform to specifications).

Good laboratory practices (GLP) or 21 CFR, part 58: 144 requirements that control the procedures and operations of toxicology laboratories.

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) or 21 CFR, parts 808, 812 and 820: Requirements governing the quality procedures of medical device manufacturers.

Green Belt (GB): An employee who has been trained in the Six Sigma improvement method and will lead a process improvement or quality improvement team as part of his or her full-time job.

Group dynamic: The interaction (behavior) of individuals

H

Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP): A quality management system for effectively and efficiently ensuring farm to table food safety in the United States. HACCP regulations for various sectors are established by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

I

Inspection: Measuring, examining, testing and gauging one or more characteristics of a product or service and comparing the results with specified requirements to determine whether conformity is achieved for each characteristic.

Inspection cost: The cost associated with inspecting a product to ensure it meets the internal or external customer’s needs and requirements; an appraisal cost.

Inspection lot: A collection of similar units or a specific quantity of similar material offered for inspection and acceptance at one time.

Inspection, normal: Inspection used in accordance with a sampling plan under ordinary circumstances.

Inspection, 100%: Inspection of all the units in the lot or batch.

Inspection, reduced: Inspection in accordance with a sampling plan requiring smaller sample sizes than those used in normal inspection. Reduced inspection is used in some inspection systems as an economy measure when the level of submitted quality is sufficiently good and other stated conditions apply. Note: The criteria for determining when quality is “sufficiently good” must be defined in objective terms for any given inspection system.

Inspection, tightened: Inspection in accordance with a sampling plan that has stricter acceptance criteria than those used in normal inspection. Tightened inspection is used in some inspection systems as a protective measure when the level of submitted quality is sufficiently poor. The higher rate of rejections is expected to lead suppliers to improve the quality of submitted product. Note: The criteria for determining when quality is “sufficiently poor” must be defined in objective terms for any given inspection system.

ISO 14000: An environmental management standard related to what organizations do that affects their physical surroundings.

ISO 9000 series standards: A set of international standards on quality management and quality assurance developed to help companies effectively document the quality system elements to be implemented to maintain an efficient quality system. The standards, initially published in 1987, are not specific to any particular industry, product or service. The standards were developed by the International Organization for Standardization (see listing). The standards underwent major revision in 2000 and now include ISO 9000:2005 (definitions), ISO 9001:2008 (requirements) and ISO 9004:2009 (continuous improvement).

J

Judgment inspection: A form of inspection to determine nonconforming product. Also see “informative inspection.”

Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing: An optimal material requirement planning system for a manufacturing process in which there is little or no manufacturing material inventory on hand at the manufacturing site and little or no incoming inspection.

L

Layout inspection: The complete measurement of all dimensions shown on a design record.

Lot: A defined quantity of product accumulated under conditions considered uniform for sampling purposes.

Lot, batch: A definite quantity of some product manufactured under conditions of production that are considered uniform.

Lot quality: The value of percentage defective or of defects per hundred units in a lot.

Lot size (also referred to as N): The number of units in a lot.

M

Maintainability: The probability that a given maintenance action for an item under given usage conditions can be performed within a stated time interval when the maintenance is performed under stated conditions using stated procedures and resources.

Measurement uncertainty: The result of random effects and imperfect correction of systemic effects in obtaining a measurement value that results in variation from the actual true value; also known as measurement error.

MIL-STD-105E: A military standard that describes the sampling procedures and tables for inspection by attributes.

Mistake proofing: Use of production or design features to prevent the manufacture or passing downstream a nonconforming product; also known as “error proofing.”

Mutual recognition agreement (MRA): A formal agreement providing reciprocal recognition of the validity of other organizations’ deliverables, typically found in voluntary standards and conformity assessment groups.

N

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): An agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that develops and promotes measurements, standards and technology, and manages the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Nonconformity: The nonfulfillment of a specified requirement. Also see “blemish,” “defect” and “imperfection.”

Norm (behavioral): Expectations of how a person or persons will behave in a given situation based on established protocols, rules of conduct or accepted social practices.

O

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM): A company that uses product components from one or more other companies to build a product that it sells under its own company name and brand. Sometimes mistakenly used to refer to the company that supplies the components.

Out of spec: A term that indicates a unit does not meet a given requirement or specification.

P

Performance standard: The metric against which a complete action is compared.

Policy: An overarching plan (direction) for achieving an organization’s goals.

Preventive action: Action taken to remove or improve a process to prevent potential future occurrences of a nonconformance.

Probability (statistical): The likelihood of occurrence of an event, action or item.

Probability of rejection: The probability that a lot will be rejected.

Procedure: The steps in a process and how these steps are to be performed for the process to fulfill a customer’s requirements; usually documented.

Process capability: A statistical measure of the inherent process variability of a given characteristic. The most widely accepted formula for process capability is 6 sigma.

Process control: The method for keeping a process within boundaries; the act of minimizing the variation of a process.

Production part approval process (PPAP): A Big Three automotive process that defines the generic requirements for approval of production parts, including production and bulk materials. Its purpose is to determine during an actual production run at the quoted production rates whether all customer engineering design record and specification requirements are properly understood by the supplier and that the process has the potential to produce product consistently meeting these requirements.

Product or service liability: The obligation of an organization to make restitution for loss related to personal injury, property damage or other harm caused by its product or service.

Product warranty: An organization’s stated policy that it will replace, repair or reimburse a buyer for a product if a product defect occurs under certain conditions and within a stated period of time.

Project management: The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to a broad range of activities to meet the requirements of a particular project.

Q

Quality: A subjective term for which each person or sector has its own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: 1. the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; 2. a product or service free of deficiencies. According to Joseph Juran, quality means “fitness for use;” according to Philip Crosby, it means “conformance to requirements.”

Quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC): Two terms that have many interpretations because of the multiple definitions for the words “assurance” and “control.” For example, “assurance” can mean the act of giving confidence, the state of being certain or the act of making certain; “control” can mean an evaluation to indicate needed corrective responses, the act of guiding or the state of a process in which the variability is attributable to a constant system of chance causes. (For a detailed discussion on the multiple definitions, see ANSI/ISO/ASQ A3534-2, Statistics—Vocabulary and Symbols—Statistical Quality Control.) One definition of quality assurance is: all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfill requirements for quality. One definition for quality control is: the operational techniques and activities used to fulfill requirements for quality. Often, however, “quality assurance” and “quality control” are used interchangeably, referring to the actions performed to ensure the quality of a product, service or process.

Quality audit: A systematic, independent examination and review to determine whether quality activities and related results comply with plans and whether these plans are implemented effectively and are suitable to achieve the objectives.

Quality control: See “quality assurance/quality control.”

Quality management (QM): The application of a quality management system in managing a process to achieve maximum customer satisfaction at the lowest overall cost to the organization while continuing to improve the process.

Quality management system (QMS): A formalized system that documents the structure, responsibilities and procedures required to achieve effective quality management.

Quality policy: An organization’s general statement of its beliefs about quality, how quality will come about and its expected result.

Quality tool: An instrument or technique to support and improve the activities of process quality management and improvement.

Queue time: The time a product spends in a line awaiting the next design, order processing or fabrication step.

R

Random sampling: A commonly used sampling technique in which sample units are selected so all combinations of n units under consideration have an equal chance of being selected as the sample.

S

Sample: In acceptance sampling, one or more units of product (or a quantity of material) drawn from a lot for purposes of inspection to reach a decision regarding acceptance of the lot.

Sample size [n]: The number of units in a sample.

Sampling at random: As commonly used in acceptance sampling theory, the process of selecting sample units so all units under consideration have the same probability of being selected. Note: Equal probabilities are not necessary for random sampling; what is necessary is that the probability of selection be ascertainable. However, the stated properties of published sampling tables are based on the assumption of random sampling with equal probabilities. An acceptable method of random selection with equal probabilities is the use of a table of random numbers in a standard manner.

Sampling, double: Sampling inspection in which the inspection of the first sample leads to a decision to accept a lot, reject it or take a second sample; the inspection of a second sample, when required, then leads to a decision to accept or to reject the lot.

Sampling, multiple: Sampling inspection in which, after each sample is inspected, the decision is made to accept a lot, reject it or take another sample. But there is a prescribed maximum number of samples, after which a decision to accept or reject the lot must be reached. Note: Multiple sampling as defined here has sometimes been called “sequential n sampling” or “truncated sequential e sampling.” The term “multiple sampling” is recommended.

Sampling, single: Sampling inspection in which the decision to accept or to reject a lot is based on the inspection of one sample.

Sampling, unit: Sequential sampling inspection in which, after each unit is inspected, the decision is made to accept a lot, reject it or to inspect another unit.

Scorecard: An evaluation device, usually in the form of a questionnaire, that specifies the criteria customers will use to rate your business’ performance in satisfying customer requirements.

Service level agreement: A formal agreement between an internal provider and an internal receiver (customer).

Specification: A document that states the requirements to which a given product or service must conform.

Standard: The metric, specification, gauge, statement, category, segment, grouping, behavior, event or physical product sample against which the outputs of a process are compared and declared acceptable or unacceptable.

Standardization: When policies and common procedures are used to manage processes throughout the system. Also, English translation of the Japanese word seiketsu, one of the Japanese 5S’s (see listing) used for workplace organization.

Statistical process control (SPC): The application of statistical techniques to control a process; often used interchangeably with the term “statistical quality control.”

Statistical quality control (SQC): The application of statistical techniques to control quality. Often used interchangeably with the term “statistical process control,” although statistical quality control includes acceptance sampling, which statistical process control does not.

Statistics: A field that involves tabulating, depicting and describing data sets; a formalized body of techniques characteristically involving attempts to infer the properties of a large collection of data from inspection of a sample of the collection.

Supplier: A source of materials, service or information input provided to a process.

Supplier quality assurance: Confidence a supplier’s product or service will fulfill its customers’ needs. This confidence is achieved by creating a relationship between the customer and supplier that ensures the product will be fit for use with minimal corrective action and inspection.

T

Tolerance: The maximum and minimum limit values a product can have and still meet customer requirements.

Total quality: A strategic integrated system for achieving customer satisfaction that involves all managers and employees and uses quantitative methods to continuously improve an organization’s processes.

U

Unit: An object for which a measurement or observation can be made; commonly used in the sense of a “unit of product,” the entity of product inspected to determine whether it is defective or nondefective.

V

Validation: The act of confirming a product or service meets the requirements for which it was intended.

Validity: The ability of a feedback instrument to measure what it was intended to measure; also, the degree to which inferences derived from measurements are meaningful.

Variation: A change in data, characteristic or function caused by one of four factors: special causes, common causes, tampering or structural variation (see individual entries).

Verification: The act of determining whether products and services conform to specific requirements.

Voluntary standard: A standard that imposes no inherent obligation regarding its use.

W

Work in process: Items between machines or equipment waiting to be processed.

World-class quality: A term used to indicate a standard of excellence: best of the best.

Z

Zero defects: A performance standard and method Philip B. Crosby developed; states that if people commit themselves to watching details and avoiding errors, they can move closer to the goal of zero defects.

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