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Quality Glossary - 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.

Failure cost: The cost resulting from the occurrence of defects. One element of cost of quality or cost of poor quality. These costs can be categorized as internal or external.

Failure mode analysis (FMA): A procedure to determine which malfunction symptoms appear immediately before or after a failure of a critical parameter in a system or product. After all possible causes are listed for each symptom, the product is designed to eliminate the problems.

Failure mode effects analysis (FMEA): A systematized group of activities to recognize and evaluate the potential failure of a product or process and its effects, identify actions that could eliminate or reduce the occurrence of the potential failure and document the process.

Failure mode effects and criticality analysis (FMECA): A procedure performed after a failure mode effects analysis to classify each potential failure effect according to its severity and probability of occurrence.

Feedback: Communication of information from customers or users related to a process or performance. Feedback is used to make decisions directed toward improving or adjusting a process or performance as necessary.

Feeder lines: A series of special assembly lines that allow assemblers to perform preassembly tasks off the main production line. Performing certain processes off the main production line means fewer parts in the main assembly area, the availability of service ready components and assemblies in the main production area, improved quality and less lead time to build a product.

First in, first out (FIFO): An inventory management method in which the oldest materials put into storage are the next materials taken out of storage for use.

First pass yield (FPY): Also referred to as the quality rate, the percentage of units that completes a process and meets quality guidelines without being scrapped, rerun, retested, returned or diverted into an offline repair area. FPY is calculated by dividing the units entering the process minus the defective units by the total number of units entering the process.

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

Fishbone diagram: See “cause and effect diagram.”

Fitness for use: A term sometimes used to define the term “quality” to indicate the degree to which a product or service meets the requirements for its intended use.

Five-phase lean approach: A systematic method for implementing lean manufacturing that helps improve the production process and sustains gains made in the production cycle in an area or plant. The five phases are: 1) stability (provides an environment with controlled process variables, decreased waste and increased business impact); 2) continuous flow (characterized by reduced work in process inventory, time loss and defects, and increased process flexibility and repeatable processes between workstations); 3) synchronous production (characterized by disciplined process repeatability and synchronization between operations and customer requirements); 4) pull system (creates an environment in which material replenishment links operations with customer demand); and 5) level production (reduces response time or changes in demand and upstream schedule variability).

Five S's (5S): Five Japanese terms beginning with “s” used to create a workplace suited for visual control and lean production. Seiri means to separate needed tools, parts and instructions from unneeded materials and to remove the unneeded ones. Seiton means to neatly arrange and identify parts and tools for ease of use. Seiso means to conduct a cleanup campaign. Seiketsu means to conduct seiri, seiton and seiso daily to maintain a workplace in perfect condition. Shitsuke means to form the habit of always following the first four S’s. The Americanized version is “sort, straighten, scrub, standardize and sustain.” The 5S approach organizes the workplace, keeps it neat and clean, establishes standardized condition and maintains discipline to sustain the effort.

Five whys: A technique for discovering the root causes of a problem and showing the relationship of causes by repeatedly asking the question, “Why?” A repetitive questioning technique to probe deeper to surface the root cause of a problem. The number of times “why” is asked depends on when the true root cause is reached.

Flow: The progressive achievement of tasks along the value stream so a product proceeds from design to launch, order to delivery and raw to finished materials in the hands of the customer with no stoppages, scrap or backflows.

Flowchart: A graphical representation of the steps in a process. Flowcharts are drawn to better understand processes. One of the “seven tools of quality” (see listing).

Focus group: A qualitative discussion group, usually of eight to 10 people, that is invited from a segment of the customer base to discuss an existing or planned product, service or process, led by a facilitator working from predetermined questions.

Force field analysis: A technique for analyzing what aids or hinders an organization in reaching an objective. An arrow pointing to an objective is drawn down the middle of a piece of paper. The factors that will aid the objective’s achievement, called the driving forces, are listed on the left side of the arrow. The factors that will hinder its achievement, called the restraining forces, are listed on the right side of the arrow.

14 Points: W. Edwards Deming’s 14 management practices to help organizations increase their quality and productivity: 1) create constancy of purpose for improving products and services; 2) adopt the new philosophy; 3) cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality; 4) end the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier; 5) improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service; 6) institute training on the job; 7) adopt and institute leadership; 8) drive out fear; 9) break down barriers between staff areas; 10) eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce; 11) eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management; 12) remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system; 13) institute a rigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone; and 14) put everybody in the organization to work to accomplish the transformation.

Frequency distribution (statistical): A table that graphically presents a large volume of data so the central tendency (such as the average or mean) and distribution are clearly displayed.

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.

Funnel experiment: An experiment that demonstrates the effects of tampering. Marbles are dropped through a funnel in an attempt to hit a flat-surfaced target below. The experiment shows that adjusting a stable process to compensate for an undesirable result or an extraordinarily good result will produce output that is worse than if the process had been left alone.