Essential Reading

Basic quality. It’s not nearly as simple as it sounds. The terminology alone—poka-yoke, Pareto chart, kanban, kaizen—can leave you tongue-tied, to say nothing of the alphabet soup of acronyms: PPM, PDCA, DMAIC, CPI, TQM, TQC, PIP.

Beginning on page 39, you will find Quality Progress’ updated, expanded and one-of-a-kind quality glossary. We believe it’s worthwhile to publish it every few years (the last time was in 2002) as a reference for those new to quality. Seasoned readers can also turn to these pages for a refresher on a familiar term, or to look up a word they just heard for the first time. (There are 137 new entries in this version.)

This glossary is considered a work in progress, and our editors add to and update the definitions on an ongoing basis, all in the name of CI (which stands for continuous improvement, of course). Additionally, we asked three veteran ASQ members to review the section. They added to, modified and double checked our listings.

The glossary isn’t comprehensive, and that’s by design. Rather, it provides a good basic overview of the vocabulary and terms you’ll inevitably encounter in this profession. It’s also available on our website year-round, at www.asq.org/glossary.

In addition to the glossary, we compiled a unique collection of narratives explaining—in a nutshell—quality’s core tenets: concepts such as vision, leadership, standards and statistics. We asked 10 trusted authors and subject matter experts in their fields to each write 500 words on the significance of their given topic. The task wasn’t an easy one for many of our authors. We repeatedly heard the question: “How can I possibly cover this topic in only 500 words?” But, they did it (more or less). “10 Quality Basics” begins on page 25.

Boiling these important topics down into easily digestible chunks gives you just a taste of where each fits into the greater quality body of knowledge. We’ve also provided a book list and references for further study (page 37).

I hope this issue serves as the ultimate survival guide—one you’ll keep around for a while—wherever your career takes you.


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