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Quality Glossary - O


Objective: A specific statement of a desired short-term condition or achievement; includes measurable end results to be accomplished by specific teams or individuals within time limits.

One-piece flow: The opposite of batch and queue; instead of building many products and then holding them in line for the next step in the process, products go through each step in the process one at a time, without interruption. Meant to improve quality and lower costs.

One-touch exchange of dies: The reduction of die setup to a single step. Also see “single-minute exchange of dies,” “internal setup” and “external setup.”

Operating characteristic curve (OC curve): A graph to determine the probability of accepting lots as a function of the lots’ or processes’ quality level when using various sampling plans. There are three types: type A curves, which give the probability of acceptance for an individual lot coming from finite production (will not continue in the future); type B curves, which give the probability of acceptance for lots coming from a continuous process; and type C curves, which (for a continuous sampling plan) give the long-run percentage of product accepted during the sampling phase.

Operating expenses: The money required for a system to convert inventory into throughput.

Operations: Work or steps to transform raw materials to finished product.

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM): A company that uses product components from one or more other companies to build a product that it sells under its own company name and brand. Sometimes mistakenly used to refer to the company that supplies the components.

Out-of-control process: A process in which the statistical measure being evaluated is not in a state of statistical control. In other words, the variations among the observed sampling results cannot be attributed to a constant system of chance causes. Also see “in-control process.”

Out of spec: A term that indicates a unit does not meet a given requirement or specification.

Outputs: Products, materials, services or information provided to customers (internal or external), from a process.

Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE): The product of a machine’s operational availability, performance efficiency and first-pass yield.