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Quality Assurance Terms Glossary/A

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A

Abilene paradox - based on a story of a group of people that ended up agreeing to go to Abilene, when in reality none of them wanted to go.

Acceptable Quality Level - aka AQL - The maximum percentage or proportion of non-conformities in a lot or batch that can be considered satisfactory as a process average.

Acceptance Sampling - Statistical quality control technique used in deciding to accept or reject a shipment of input or output.

Accountability - Holding an individual or group subject to blame or penalty for the results of specified tasks, functions or results. The risk can be that the individual or group, while having responsibility to make a contribution to the task or result, cannot control all of the factors affecting the outcome and may be blamed (or credited) undeservedly for effects of other factors.

Accreditation - Certification by a duly recognized body of the facilities, capability, objectivity, competence, and integrity of an agency, service or operational group or individual to provide the specific service(s) or operation(s) needed.

Accredited Registrars - Qualified organizations certified by a national body (e.G., The registrar accreditation board in the U.S.) To perform audits to the qs-9000 and to register the audited facility as meeting these requirements for a given commodity.

Accuracy - The degree of agreement of the results of a measurement process with an established standard (see "precision"). Assumes the measurement process is in statistical control.

Active Data Gathering - A method for gathering data that involves approaching respondents to get information.

Actively Solicited Customer Feedback - Proactive methods for obtaining customer feedback such as calling customers on the telephone or inviting customers to participate in focus groups.

Activity Network Diagram - Also known as a PERT diagram, an activity network diagram is a tool used in controlling projects.

Advanced Product Quality Planning - aka APQP - Tool of automotive industry sponsored by the Big 3 (GM, Ford, Daimler Chrysler)which includes investigating and managing all requirements of the customer in developing the product and manufacturing process

Aesthetics - A term used to describe appearance attributes; more often referred to as “cosmetics,” it deals with subjective criteria used to evaluate how well a thing conforms to customer requirements for pleasing or unobtrusive appearance.

Affinity Diagram - A tool that is used to help groups identify the common themes that are associated with a particular problem. A process to organize disparate language information by placing it on cards and grouping the cards that go together in a creative way. “Header” cards are then used to summarize each group of cards.

aka - Abbreviation of "Also Known As".

Algorithm - A procedure for carrying out a task.

Alignment - Term that refers to optimal coordination among disparate departments and divisions within a firm.

Alternative Hypothesis - A null hypothesis (typically that there is no effect) is compared with an alternative hypothesis (typically that there is an effect, or that there is an effect of a particular sign).

Andon - A Japanese term that refers to the warning lights on an assembly line that light up when a defect occurs. When the lights go on, the assembly line is usually stopped until the problem is diagnosed and corrected.

Annuity Relationship - This occurs when a business receives many repeat purchases from a customer. The income is received steadily over time from a single customer.

Appraisal Costs - Expenses associated with the direct costs of measuring quality.

AS9100 - SAE AS9100 is the quiding document for quality system requirements for suppliers to the aerospace industry.

Assurance - A dimension of service quality that refers to the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence.

Attribute - A binomial state of being.

Anova - ANalysis Of Variance - A statistical method for understanding the similarities and differences between different distributions.

Anova Studies - Similar to t tests, except that more statistical information is obtained about the components of product and process variation.

APQP - Advanced Product Quality Planning: Tool of automotive industry sponsored by the Big 3 (GM, Ford, Daimler Chrysler)which includes investigating and managing all requirements of the customer in developing the product and manufacturing process

AQL - Acceptable Quality Level: the maximum percentage or proportion of non-conformities in a lot or batch that can be considered satisfactory as a process average.

Assignable Cause - (1) Outside influences on the process's performance that change the nature and add variation to a process. One should look for assignable causes for points outside the control limits or points inside the limits with unnatural patterns. (2) (also special cause) A source of variation that is not part of the inherent variation for which it is often possible to assign the reason for the variation.

Assurance - A dimension of service quality that refers to the knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and confidence.

Attribute - A characteristic that can take only one value..

Attribute Data - (1) (also discrete data) can be described as the number of times something happens or not and is therefore an integer quantity. Attribute data cannot be logically subdivided; you cannot have 0.4 Of a ‘defect’. (2) data arising by classifying the individual outcomes of a process into two or more categories or by counting the number of occurrences per unit of time, area or volume.

Attrition - The practice of not hiring new employees to replace older employees who either quit or retire.

Assessment - An evaluation process including a document review, an on-site audit and an analysis and report.

Audit – (1) An on-site verification activity used to determine the effective implementation of a supplier's documented quality system. (2) Systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled.

Audit Conclusion - Outcome of an audit provided by the audit team after consideration of the audit objectives and all audit findings.

Audit Criteria - Set of policies, procedures or requirements used as a reference (while conducting an audit).

Auditee - Client organization or person requesting an audit.

Audit Evidence - Records, statements of fact or other information which are relevant to the audit criteria and verifiable.

Audit Findings - Results of the evaluation of the collected audit evidence against audit criteria.

Auditor - Person with the competence to conduct an audit.

Audit Program - set of one or more audits planned for a specific time frame and directed towards a specific purpose.

Audit Team - one or more auditors conducting an audit.

Average - Aka Arithmetic Average when dealing with numbers (Data).

Average Outgoing Quality - aka AOQ - the expected average quality level of 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 in 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).

Award Audits - Site visits relating to award programs.

Axioms of Probability - There are three axioms of probability: (1) chances are always at least zero. (2) The chance that something happens is 100%. (3) If two events cannot both occur at the same time (if they are disjoint or mutually exclusive), the chance that either one occurs is the sum of the chances that each occurs.