Quality management is a critical aspect of any organization's operations. It involves planning, organizing, and controlling activities and resources to ensure that products and services meet or exceed the required quality standards. There are many terms and concepts in the field of quality management, and understanding these can help organizations improve their performance and achieve their goals. This blog post will briefly define some key lean six sigma terms and quality glossary.
A3 thinking: A problem-solving approach based on the plan-do-check-act cycle, often written on an A3 size paper (11 x 17 inches)
A3 report: A ledger-sized sheet of paper that includes all relevant information about a problem, as well as diagrams, charts, and other visual aids to help clarify the data and improve communication
Acceptance sampling: A statistical method used to evaluate a sample of products or services to determine whether they meet the required specifications
Action plan: A plan that outlines the steps that need to be taken to achieve a specific goal or objective
Affinity diagram: A tool used to organize ideas and information into logical groups or categories
Agile methodology: A project management approach that emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and adaptability
APQP: Advanced product quality planning, a methodology used to ensure that a product meets or exceeds customer requirements and expectations
ASQ: American Society for Quality, a professional organization that provides education, training, certification, and networking opportunities to quality professionals
Auditing: The process of evaluating a system, process, or organization to determine whether it complies with established standards or requirements
Autonomation: The process of automating a manufacturing process while still allowing operators to intervene and adjust the process as needed
Average: A measure of central tendency that represents the value that is most typical of a set of data
Average cycle time: The average amount of time it takes to complete a process or task
Balanced scorecard: A performance measurement tool that uses a combination of financial and non-financial metrics to evaluate an organization's performance
Benchmarking: The process of comparing an organization's processes, products, or services against those of other organizations considered to be best-in-class
Beta testing: The process of testing a product or service by a group of users before it is released to the general public
Black belt: A lean manufacturing term for an expert in Six Sigma methodology who is trained to lead and facilitate improvement projects
Brainstorming: A group activity that involves generating as many ideas as possible without judging or evaluating them
Breakdown maintenance: The process of repairing a machine or equipment only after it has failed or stopped working
Business process reengineering (BPR): The process of redesigning an organization's processes to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and competitiveness
Business Value-added Activities: These activities are required to stay in business but do not add value from the customer's perspective.
Capacity: The maximum amount of work that a process or system can handle within a specific period
Capability: The ability of a process or system to produce conforming products or services within specified limits
Cause and effect diagram: A tool used to identify and organize the causes of a problem or issue. This is also called the Fishbone diagram or Ishikawa Diagram.
Certification: The process of verifying that an individual or organization meets a specific set of standards or requirements
Change management: The process of planning, implementing and controlling changes to an organization's processes, products, or services.
Charter: A document that outlines the purpose, goals, and objectives of a project or initiative, as well as the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the team members involved.
Control phase: The final step in the DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, control), where the solutions implemented in the improve phase are put into place on a long-term basis and monitored to ensure that the problem does not reoccur
Control chart: A graphical representation of process data over time that is used to identify patterns, trends, and special causes of variation
Control plan: A document that outlines the measures and methods that will be used to ensure that a product or process remains within specified limits
Corrective action: A specific course of action taken to correct a problem or deviation from established standards or requirements to avoid the recurrence of the problem.
Cost of quality (COQ): The total cost of all activities that are associated with ensuring that a product or service meets the required quality standards
Customer satisfaction: The degree to which a product or service meets or exceeds a customer's expectations
Data: The facts, figures, or information that are collected and analyzed to support decision making
Data collection: The process of gathering, organizing, and recording data for a specific purpose
Data mining: The process of extracting useful or meaningful information from a large dataset
Data visualization: The process of using graphical techniques, such as charts, graphs, and maps, to represent and communicate data in a clear and concise manner
Design for six sigma (DFSS): A methodology used to design and develop new products, processes, or services that meet or exceed customer requirements and expectations, focusing on reducing defects and variability.
DMAIC: Define, measure, analyze, improve, control, a problem-solving approach used in Six Sigma methodology
Documentation: The process of creating, organizing, and maintaining records or documents that provide evidence of an organization's processes, products, or services
Effective: The degree to which a product or service meets or exceeds the intended purpose or objective
Efficiency: The relationship between the output of a process or system and the input of resources, such as time, money, or materials
Employee engagement: The degree to which employees are committed to the success of an organization and are motivated to contribute to its goals and objectives
Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA): A systematic method used to identify and evaluate a product's or process's potential failure modes and the effects of those failures on the overall system. Related term: Risk Priority Number (RPN)
Flowchart: A diagram that represents the steps or tasks in a process, as well as the relationships between those steps or tasks
Focus group: A group of individuals who are selected and brought together to discuss a specific topic or issue
Force field analysis: A tool used to identify the forces that are driving or resisting change in a system or process
Gantt chart: A graphical representation of the planned and actual progress of a project, typically showing the tasks, resources, and dependencies involved in the project.
Gemba: A Japanese term that means "the real place" or "the place where the work is done," often used in lean manufacturing to refer to the factory floor or the place where value is created
Genchi genbutsu: Literally translated as "go see for yourself." In quality management, this refers to visiting a company's production facilities to observe how it actually makes things happen
Goal: A specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objective or target that an organization or individual strives to achieve
Governance: The policies, processes, and practices that are used to manage and control an organization or system
Green belt: A lean manufacturing term for a Six Sigma practitioner who has been trained in the basics of the methodology and is capable of leading and facilitating small improvement projects
Hoshin planning: A strategic planning and deployment method that aligns an organization's goals and objectives with its business plans and operational activities
House of quality: A tool used in new product development to identify the relationships between customer requirements, product characteristics, and technical requirements
Hypothesis: A testable statement or prediction that is made based on limited evidence or data and that can be confirmed or rejected through further testing or observation
Implementation: The process of putting a plan, solution, or strategy into action
Improvement: The process of making changes to a product, process, or system to increase its effectiveness, efficiency, or quality
Inspection: The process of evaluating a product or service to determine whether it meets the specified standards or requirements
Just in Time (JIT): An approach to production scheduling that emphasizes delivering products at just the right time to meet demand
Jidoka - automation with a human touch. See also Autonomation.
Kaikaku - radical change or innovation.
Kaizen: A Japanese term that means "continuous improvement," often used in lean manufacturing to refer to the process of making small, incremental improvements to processes, products, or services on an ongoing basis.
Kanban: A Japanese term that refers to a visual signal or symbol used to indicate what needs to be worked on next. Kanban boards are used to track the flow of materials throughout a manufacturing facility.
Key performance indicator (KPI): A metric that is used to measure the performance of an organization, process, or individual against specific goals or objectives
Lean manufacturing: A methodology that focuses on reducing waste and increasing value by eliminating or minimizing activities that do not add value to the end product or service
Learning organization: An organization that fosters continuous learning and development and can adapt and change in response to new information or challenges.
Level loading: The process of balancing the workload of a process or system over time to ensure that it operates at a consistent and optimal level
Limit: A maximum or minimum value that is used to define the acceptable range of a process or product characteristic
Lower specification limit (LSL): the minimum value or threshold that a product or process characteristic can have without being considered defective or out of specification.
Maintenance: The process of preserving, repairing, or replacing equipment, machinery, or facilities to ensure that they continue to operate at their intended level of performance
Management review: A systematic evaluation of an organization's processes, products, or services to determine whether they are meeting the intended goals and objectives and to identify opportunities for improvement
Matrix organization: An organizational structure that combines functional and project-based structures and that allows for cross-functional collaboration and coordination
Metric: A measure or indicator that is used to evaluate the performance of a process, product, or system against specific goals or standards
Mission: A statement that defines the purpose or reason for the existence of an organization and that guides its decision-making and actions
Mistake-proofing: See error proofing
Mura: Mura is the waste of unevenness or inconsistency.
Muri: Muri means overburdening, beyond one's power, excessive, or unreasonable.
Nemawashi - A Japanese word for informal consultation or consensus-building.
Non-value-added Activities: Activities that do not contribute directly to the creation of value for customers, such as administrative tasks, training, and meetings
Objective: A specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goal or target that an organization or individual strives to achieve
OEE (overall equipment effectiveness): A metric that is used to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of a manufacturing process, typically by calculating the percentage of planned production time that is productive
Operational definition: A clear and specific description of a term, concept, or measurement that is used in a study or experiment
Opportunity cost: The value of the next best alternative that is foregone as a result of choosing a particular course of action
Organizational culture: The shared values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that define an organization and shape its interactions with its employees, customers, and other stakeholders
Outcome: The result or impact of a particular course of action or decision
Outlier: A data point that is significantly different from the other points in a dataset
Pareto analysis: A tool used to prioritize a set of issues or problems by identifying the most significant ones that contribute to the majority of the overall impact or effect
Performance measurement: The process of collecting, analyzing, and reporting data on the performance of an organization, process, or individual against specific goals or standards
Poka-yoke: A method of preventing errors through the use of simple checks and procedures that have been designed to eliminate human error
Preventive Action: An action taken before a problem occurs to prevent the problem from happening
Process: A series of steps or activities that are carried out to achieve a specific result or outcome
Process capability: The ability of a process to produce conforming products or services within specified limits.
Process flowchart: A diagram that represents the steps or tasks in a process, as well as the relationships between those steps or tasks
Process mapping: The process of documenting, analyzing, and improving the flow of information, materials, or people within a process or system
Process improvement: The process of making changes to a process or system to increase its effectiveness, efficiency, or quality
Process performance: The degree to which a process meets or exceeds the intended goals or objectives
Productivity: The relationship between the output of a process or system and the input of resources, such as time, money, or materials
Project charter: A document that outlines the scope, objectives, and stakeholders of a project, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the project team
Project management: The process of planning, organizing, and controlling the resources and activities of a project to achieve its specific goals and objectives
Quality: The degree to which a product or service meets or exceeds the intended purpose or objective
Quality assurance (QA): The process of ensuring that a product or service meets the specified standards or requirements
Quality control (QC): The process of inspecting, testing, or evaluating a product or service to ensure that it meets the specified standards or requirements
Quality management: The process of planning, organizing, and controlling the activities and resources of an organization to ensure that its products or services meet or exceed the required quality standards.
Quality policy: A written statement describing how a company intends to implement and manage quality
Quality plan: A detailed description of how a company plans to improve its processes and procedures to ensure that they consistently produce high-quality products or services
Quality system: The policies, processes, and procedures used to manage and control the quality of an organization's products or services. This is also called Quality Management System (QMS)
RACI matrix: A tool used to clarify and communicate the roles and responsibilities of individuals or teams within a project or process
Reducing setup time: The process of reducing the time required to change over or set up a machine, process, or system from one product or operation to another. Also, see Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED)
Reliability: The ability of a product or system to function consistently and dependably over time
Requirements: The specific needs, specifications, or constraints that must be satisfied by a product, process, or system
Risk Priority Number (RPN): An estimate of the relative risk associated with each potential problem or failure. It is calculated by multiplying severity, likelihood and detection numbers.
Robust: The ability of a product or system to perform consistently and effectively under varying conditions or circumstances
Root cause analysis: The process of identifying the underlying or fundamental cause of a problem or issue, as opposed to the symptoms or surface-level causes
Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED): The process of exchanging dies in less than 10 minutes (single digit) to reduce downtime and improve productivity
SIPOC diagram: A tool used to map and document the suppliers, inputs, process, outputs, and customers of a process or system
Six Sigma: A methodology that uses data and statistical analysis to identify and eliminate defects or variations in a process or product. A Six Sigma process produces less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO).
Standard: A specific requirement, guideline, or criterion that is used to evaluate the performance of a product, process, or system
Strategic planning: The process of defining an organization's goals, objectives, and strategies and of allocating the resources and activities needed to achieve those goals
Sustainability: The ability of a system or process to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
Systems engineering: A discipline that focuses on the design and management of complex systems, processes, or products
Takt time: The rate of customer demand.
Target: A specific objective or goal that an organization, process or individual strives to achieve
Theory of constraints (TOC): A management philosophy that focuses on identifying and removing the constraints or bottlenecks that limit the performance of a process or system
Total productive maintenance (TPM): A maintenance strategy that involves all employees in the maintenance and improvement of equipment, machinery, or facilities
Total quality management (TQM): A management philosophy that focuses on achieving continuous improvement in the quality of products, services, or processes through the involvement and participation of all employees
Upper specification limit (USL): the maximum value or threshold that a product or process characteristic can have without being considered defective or out of specification.
Value: The benefit or utility that is derived from a product, service, or process
Value-added activities: Activities that add value to a product or service
Value stream mapping: A tool used to visualize and analyze the flow of materials, information, and activities in a process or system, from the beginning to the end, to identify opportunities for improvement.
Variation: The difference or deviation from the expected or average value of a process or product characteristic
Waste: Any activity, process, or resource that does not add value to the end product or service or that creates excess or unnecessary costs
Work breakdown structure (WBS): A tool used to decompose a project or process into smaller, more manageable units or tasks
World Class Manufacturing (WCM): A set of principles and practices that are used to improve the performance, efficiency, and quality of manufacturing processes and systems.
X-bar chart: a statistical control chart used to monitor the process mean or average over time.
Yield: the percentage or proportion of units or items that meet the required quality standards and specifications.
Zero defects: the goal of achieving perfect quality, with no defects or errors in products or processes.
In conclusion, quality management is a complex and multifaceted field that involves many different terms and concepts. Understanding these can help organizations improve performance, reduce waste, and increase customer satisfaction.