A3 report: The A3 report, developed by Toyota, is a problem-solving tool to define or clarify problems, suggest solutions, and record the results of improvement activities. The report is written on ledger-sized paper (11 x 17 inches) and includes text, pictures, diagrams, and charts broken into different sections, each clearly labeled and arranged in a logical flow to produce a desired outcome for a proposed process.
Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP): A forum for higher education institutions to review one another’s action projects.
Acceptance number: The maximum number of defects or defectives allowable in a sampling lot for the lot to be acceptable.
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 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.
Acceptance sampling plan: A specific plan that indicates the sampling sizes and associated acceptance or nonacceptance criteria to be used. In attributes sampling, for example, there are single, double, multiple, sequential, chain and skip-lot sampling plans. In variables sampling, there are single, double and sequential sampling plans. For detailed descriptions of these plans, see the standard ANSI/ISO/ASQ A3534-2-1993: Statistics—Vocabulary and Symbols—Statistical Quality Control.
Accreditation: Certification by a recognized body of the facilities, capability, objectivity, competence and integrity of an agency, service or operational group or individual to provide the specific service or operation needed. The term has multiple meanings depending on the sector. Laboratory accreditation assesses the capability of a laboratory to conduct testing, generally using standard test methods. Accreditation for healthcare organizations involves an authoritative body surveying and verifying compliance with recognized criteria, similar to certification in other sectors.
Accreditation body: An organization with authority to accredit other organizations to perform services such as quality system certification.
Accuracy: The closeness of agreement between an observed value and an accepted reference value.
ACLASS Accreditation Services: An ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board company that provides accreditation services for: testing and calibration labs in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025; reference material producers in accordance with ISO Guide 34; and inspection bodies in accordance with ISO/IEC 17020.
Activity-based costing: An accounting system that assigns costs to a product based on the amount of resources used to design, order or make it.
Activity network diagram: An arrow diagram used in planning.
Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP): A high-level automotive process for product realization, from design through production part approval.
Adverse event: A healthcare term for any event that is not consistent with the desired, normal or usual operation of the organization; also known as a sentinel event.
Affinity diagram: A management tool for organizing information (usually gathered during a brainstorming activity).
New! Agile: Shorthand for agile project management. This is a type of software project management that focuses on early delivery of business value, continuous improvement of a project’s product and processes, scope flexibility, team input and delivering well-tested products that reflect customer needs.
New! Agility: The ability for organizations to respond rapidly to changes in internal and external environments without losing momentum or vision.
Alignment: Actions to ensure that a process or activity supports the organization’s strategy, goals and objectives.
American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA): An organization that formally recognizes another organization’s competency to perform specific tests, types of tests or calibrations.
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 National Standards Institute-American Society for Quality (ANSI-ASQ): An organization that accredits certification bodies for ISO 9001 quality management systems, ISO 14001 environmental management systems and other industry specific requirements.
American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT): A technical society for nondestructive testing (NDT) professionals.
American Society for Quality (ASQ): A professional, not-for-profit association that develops, promotes and applies quality-related information and technology for the private sector, government and academia. ASQ serves individual and organizational members in more than 140 countries.
American Society for Quality Control (ASQC): Name of ASQ from 1946 through the middle of 1997, when the name was changed to ASQ.
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): Not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems and services.
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International: Not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems and services.
American Society for Training and Development (ASTD): A membership organization that provides materials, education and support related to workplace learning and performance.
American standard code for information interchange (ASCII): The basic computer characters accepted by all American machines and many foreign ones.
Analysis of means (ANOM): A statistical procedure for troubleshooting industrial processes and analyzing the results of experimental designs with factors at fixed levels. It provides a graphical display of data. Ellis R. Ott developed the procedure in 1967 because he observed that nonstatisticians had difficulty understanding analysis of variance. Analysis of means is easier for quality practitioners to use because it is an extension of the control chart. In 1973, Edward G. Schilling further extended the concept, enabling analysis of means to be used with non-normal distributions and attributes data in which the normal approximation to the binomial distribution does not apply. This is referred to as analysis of means for treatment effects.
Analysis of variance (ANOVA): A basic statistical technique for determining the proportion of influence a factor or set of factors has on total variation. It subdivides the total variation of a data set into meaningful component parts associated with specific sources of variation to test a hypothesis on the parameters of the model or to estimate variance components. There are three models: fixed, random and mixed.
Andon board: A production area visual control device, such as a lighted overhead display. It communicates the status of the production system and alerts team members to emerging problems (from “andon,” a Japanese word meaning “light”).
ANSI ACS X12: Transaction standards for electronic communication and shipping notification.
Appraisal cost: The cost of ensuring an organization is continually striving to conform to customers’ quality requirements.
Arrow diagram: A planning tool to diagram a sequence of events or activities (nodes) and their interconnectivity. It is used for scheduling and especially for determining the critical path through nodes.
AS9100: An international quality management standard for the aerospace industry published by the Society of Automotive Engineers and other organizations worldwide. It is known as EN9100 in Europe and JIS Q 9100 in Japan. The standard is controlled by the International Aerospace Quality Group (see listing).
Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC): A cooperative of laboratory accreditation bodies.
Assessment: A systematic evaluation process of collecting and analyzing data to determine the current, historical or projected compliance of an organization to a standard.
Assignable cause: A name for the source of variation in a process that is not due to chance and therefore can be identified and eliminated. Also called “special cause.”
Assn. for Quality and Participation (AQP): Was an independent organization until 2004, when it became an affiliate organization of ASQ. Continues today as ASQ’s Team and Workplace Excellence Forum.
Attribute data: Go/no-go information. The control charts based on attribute data include percent chart, number of affected units chart, count chart, count per unit chart, quality score chart and demerit chart.
Attributes, method of: A method of measuring quality that consists of noting the presence (or absence) of some characteristic (attribute) in each of the units under consideration and counting how many units do (or do not) possess it. Example: go/no-go gauging of a dimension.
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.
Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG): A global automotive trade association with about 2,600-plus member companies that focuses on common business processes, implementation guidelines, education and training.
Autonomation: A form of automation in which machinery automatically inspects each item after producing it and ceases production and notifies humans if a defect is detected. Toyota expanded the meaning of jidohka to include the responsibility of all workers to function similarly—to check every item produced and, if a defect is detected, make no more until the cause of the defect has been identified and corrected. Also see “jidohka.”
Availability: The ability of a product to be in a state to perform its designated function under stated conditions at a given time.
Average chart: A control chart in which the subgroup average, X-bar, is used to evaluate the stability of the process level.
Average outgoing quality (AOQ): The expected average quality level of an outgoing product for a given value of incoming product quality.
Average outgoing quality limit (AOQL): The maximum average outgoing quality over all possible levels of incoming quality for a given acceptance sampling plan and disposal specification.
Average run lengths (ARL): On a control chart, the number of subgroups expected to be inspected before a shift in magnitude takes place.
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).