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Quality Glossary - K

K

Kaizen: A Japanese term that means gradual unending improvement by doing little things better and setting and achieving increasingly higher standards. Masaaki Imai made the term famous in his book, Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success.

Kanban: A Japanese term for one of the primary tools of a justin- time system. It maintains an orderly and efficient flow of materials throughout the entire manufacturing process. It is usually a printed card that contains specific information such as part name, description and quantity.

Key performance indicator (KPI): A statistical measure of how well an organization is doing in a particular area. A KPI could measure a company’s financial performance or how it is holding up against customer requirements.

Key process: A major system level process that supports the mission and satisfies major consumer requirements.

Key process characteristic: A process parameter that can affect safety or compliance with regulations, fit, function, performance or subsequent processing of product.

Key product characteristic: A product characteristic that can affect safety or compliance with regulations, fit, function, performance or subsequent processing of product.

Key results area: Customer requirements that are critical for the organization’s success.

Kitting: A process in which assemblers are supplied with kits—a box of parts, fittings and tools—for each task they perform. This eliminates time consuming trips from one parts bin, tool crib or supply center to another to get necessary materials.

Kruskal-Wallis test: A nonparametric test to compare three or more samples. It tests the null hypothesis that all populations have identical distribution functions against the alternative hypothesis that at least one of the samples differs only with respect to location (median), if at all. It is the analogue to the F-test used in analysis of variance. While analysis of variance tests depend on the assumption that all populations under comparison are normally distributed, the Kruskal-Wallis test places no such restriction on the comparison. It is a logical extension of the Wilcoxon Mann- Whitney Test (see listing).