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Quality Assurance Terms Glossary/C

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C Chart - A chart used to monitor the number of defects in a production process.

CA - aka Corrective Action.

Calibration - Comparison of a measurement instrument or system of unverified accuracy to a measurement instrument or system of known accuracy to detect any variation from the required performance specification.

Calibration Verification - See Calibration

CAPA - aka Corrective Action and Preventive Action.

Capability - Likelihood a product will meet specification.

Capability Analysis - A study to determine the extent of the actual variation against that required or specified. See process capability

Capability Maturity Model Integration - See CMMI

Cartesian Management - Seeing events or causal factors as separate and independent and managing accordingly. System management, on the other hand, acknowledges the complex interrelationships among the various factors and the dynamics of cause and effect over time. This latter view is part of what Deming refers to when he speaks of appreciation for a system.

Catchball - Term used to describe the iterative nature of the Hoshin planning process.

Categorizing - The act of placing strengths and weakness into categories in generic internal assessment.

Causation - Causal relation two variables are causally related if changes in the value of one cause the other to change. Two variables can be associated without having any causal relation, and even if two variables have a causal relation, their correlation can be small or zero.

Cause and Effect Diagram - aka Fishbone Diagram or Ishikawa Diagram - (1) A diagram designed to help workers focus on the causes of a problem rather than the symptoms. (2) Tool for analyzing process dispersion.

Cause and Effect Matrix - A tool used to help quantify team consensus on relationships thought to exist between key input and key output variables. The results lead to other activities such as an FMEA, creating multi-vari charts, doing an ANOVA, regression analysis or doe.

Cedac - Cause and Effect Diagram with the addition of cards. Developed by Ryuji Fukuda, author of managerial engineering, this variation of the "fishbone" diagram is modified as needed simply by moving the cards (or "post-its") containing the information.

Central Limit Theorem - States that the probability histograms of the sample mean and sample sum of n draws with replacement from a box of labeled tickets converge to a normal curve as the sample size n grows

Certificate of Compliance - A document signed by an authorised party affirming that the supplier of a product or service has met the requirements of the relevant specifications, contract, or regulation.

Certificate of Conformance (certificate of conformity) - A document signed by an authorized party affirming that a product or service has met the requirements of the relevant specifications, contract, or regulation.

Certification - The procedure and action by a duly authorized body of determining, verifying, and attesting in writing to the qualifications of personnel, processes, procedures, or items in accordance with applicable requirements.

Certification Audits - Audits relating to registration (e.g., ISO 9000 audits).

Chain of Customers - A philosophy that espouses the idea that each worker’s “customer” is the next worker in the chain of people that produce a finished product or service.

Chance Variation, Chance Error - A random variable can be decomposed into a sum of its expected value and chance variation around its expected value. The expected value of the chance variation is zero; the standard error of the chance variation is the same as the standard error of the random variable---the size of a "typical" difference between the random variable and its expected value.

Change - In the context of quality management, this means to move from one state of operation to another state of operation.


Chebychev's Inequality - For every number k>0, the fraction of elements in a list that are k sd's or further from the arithmetic mean of the list is at most 1/k2. For random variables: for every number k>0, the probability that a random variable x is k ses or further from its expected value is at most 1/k2.

Check Sheets - Data-gathering tools that can be used in forming histograms. The check sheets can be either tabular or schematic.

Chi-Square Curve - A family of curves that depend on a parameter called degrees of freedom (df). The chi-square curve is an approximation to the probability histogram of the chi-square statistic for multinomial model if the expected number of outcomes in each category is large. The balance point of the curve is df, So the expected value of the corresponding random variable would equal df. The standard error of the corresponding random variable would be (2_df)_. As df grows, the shape of the chi-square curve approaches the shape of the normal curve.

Chi-Square Statistic - Used to measure the agreement between categorical data and a multinomial model that predicts the relative frequency of outcomes in each possible category.

Closure - To bring to a completion, as in a meeting, when a topic or task is finished and the group is ready to move on or to end the meeting.


CMMI - Capability Maturity Model Integration

Collaborative - An agreement or a relationship in which two or more parties work together (co-labor) on a task of mutual interest.

Common Cause - (1) A source of variation that is acting on or common to all outcomes of a process. It is constantly present but its influence may vary over time. (2)Natural or random variation that is inherent in a process over time, affecting every outcome of the process. If a process is in control it has common cause variation only.

Company Culture - A system of values, beliefs, and behaviours inherent in a company. To optimise business performance, top management must define and create the necessary culture.

Compensation - An organization's formal system of wages or salary and other benefits such as insurance, holidays, retirement, vacation, etc. [See also reward system].

Compensate - (1) To pay or remunerate for some work; (2) To make up for some lack of ability or acuity.

Competence - Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills (ISO 9000:2000 - 3.9.12)

Complaint - Recovery process, process associated with resolving complaints.

Complementary Products - Products that use similar technologies and can coexist in a family of products.

Compliance and Affirmative - Indication or judgment that the supplier of a product or service has met the requirements of the relevant specifications, contract, or regulation; also the state of meeting the requirements.

Component - Any raw material, substance, piece, part, software, firmware, labeling, or assembly which is intended to be included as part of the finished, packaged, and labeled device.

Component Reliability - The propensity for a part to fail over a given time.

Components Search - A approach to interchanging components in product in order to identify those that result in poor performance.

Computer-Aided Design - aka CAD - A system for digitally developing product designs.

Computer-Aided Inspection - aka CAI - A system for performing inspection through the use of technology. For example, some systems use infrared to detect defects.

Computer-Aided Testing - aka CAT - Technology for taking tests or examinations.

Computer-Based Training - A form of training that uses specialized software, known as courseware, to address specific topics.

Concept Design - The process of determining which technologies will be used in production and the product.

Concurrent Engineering - The simultaneous performance of product design and process design. Typically, concurrent engineering involves the formation of cross-functional teams. This allows engineers and managers of different disciplines to work together simultaneously in developing product and process designs.

Confidence Interval - A random interval constructed from data in such a way that the probability that the interval contains the true value of the parameter can be specified before the data are collected. An interval computed from sample values. Intervals so constructed will straddle the estimated parameter a certain percentage of the time in repeated sampling.

Conformance - (1) A dimension of quality that refers to the extent to which a product lies within an allowable range of deviation from its specification. (2) An affirmative indication or judgment that a product or service has met the requirements of the relevant specifications, contract, or regulation; also the state of meeting the requirements.

Consensus - Often used to describe a decision-making process in which formal rules or voting are not used. It usually means that everyone who wishes to, has spoken and has been heard, and while the "consensus decision" may not be everyone's first choice, they can agree to it and can support it.

Consultant Audits - Inspections that are performed by consultants to determine how an organization should be changed for improvement.

Consumer product safety commission - aka CPSC - An independent federal regulatory agency that helps keep american families safe by reducing the risk of injury or death from consumer products.

Consumer’s risk - The risk of receiving a shipment of poor quality product and believing that it is good quality.

Contact Personnel - The people at the “front lines” who interact with the public in a service setting.

Contingency Theory - A theory that presupposes that there is no theory or method for operating a business that can be applied in all instances.

Continuous Data - Data that uses some sort of measurement scale e.G. Length, time temperature. It can be broken down into smaller and smaller increments.

Continual Improvement -recurring activity to increase the ability to fulfil requirements (3.1.2) - acc ti ISO 9000:2005

Continuous Improvement - The ongoing improvement of products, services, or processes through incremental and breakthrough improvements.

Continuous Quality Improvement - See CQI

Contract - Binding agreement - acc to ISO 9000:2005 3.3.8

Contract Review - Contract review involves the steps associated with contracting with suppliers. These steps involve acceptance of the contract or order, the tender of a contract, and review of the contract.

Contrition - Forgiveness for error or mistake.

Control - Three commonly-used versions of this word: (supervision)- to influence or manipulate an employee's behavior through the threat of consequences or the promise of reward, whether these are explicit or implied; (engineering)- to influence or manipulate a process through feedback or feedforward; (statistical)- a description of behavior of the variation in the output of a process.

Control Chart - (1) A graphic comparison between the process's performance and computed limits know as control lines. This statistical method is used to decide when to take action and when to leave a process alone. The charts can identify when statistically unnatural patterns occur so their cause can be investigated. Tool for monitoring process variation. (2) A plot of the process output against time or observation order. The variation observed is used to determine and plot the process average and the upper and lower control limits set at three standard deviation from the average. Observations outside the control limits and other patterns indicate the presence of special cause variation.

Control Factors - Variables in a taguchi experiment that are under the control of the operator. These can include things such as temperature or type of ingredient.

Control Limits - Calculated values representing the expected variation in the process.

Controlled Experiment - An experiment that uses the method of comparison to evaluate the effect of a treatment by comparing treated subjects with a control group, who do not receive the treatment.

Controlled document - A document subject to controls that prevent the unintended use of defective versions of it.

Control Plan

Control Process - A process involving gathering process data, analyzing process data, and using this information to make adjustments to the process.

Conversion Process - Aligning the inputs of a process together to form a product or service.

Corporate Culture - Popularized in the early 1980's by a book of the same title, this term means the values, the assumptions, the organization's "legends" and heroes, the rituals and folklore that exist in most organizations and get passed along from one person to the next by example or word of mouth.

Corrective Action - aka CA - Corrective Action action to eliminate the cause of a detected nonconformity or other undesirable situation.

See also: PA ( Preventive Action )

Corrective Action Board aka CAB

Corrective Action Request aka CAR

Correlation - A measure of linear association between two (ordered) lists. Two variables can be strongly correlated without having any causal relationship, and two variables can have a causal relationship and yet be uncorrelated.

Correlation Coefficient r - A measure of how nearly a scatterplot falls on a straight line. The correlation coefficient is always between -1 and +1.

Cost Benefit Analysis - An assessment of the costs of a change against the projected benefits in order to quantify the timing and magnitude of the return on investment.

Cost of Poor Quality - aka COPQ

Cost of Quality (COQ) - (1) Often cited as "the cost of conformance (achieving quality) plus the cost of nonconformance (waste)". This measure of organizational "effectiveness" fails to take into account the unknown and unknowable costs (e.g., the cost of a dissatisfied customer, or the loss to the individual and to society of poor education) and narrowly defines quality as conformance to specifications. (2) Costs associated with providing poor quality products or service. There are four categories of costs: internal failure costs – costs associated with defects found before the customer receives the product or service, external failure costs – costs associated with defects found after the customer receives the product or service, appraisal costs – costs incurred to determine the degree of conformance to quality requirements, and prevention costs – costs incurred to keep failure and appraisal costs to a minimum.

Cp - A process capabilty index.

Cpk - An index of how the process is meeting capability with respect to the specification limits.


CQI - Continuous Quality Improvement - A term now used by some organizations, ( e.g., Hospitals) in place of TQM

See also: TQ, TQI, TQM, TQE.

Crawford Slip Method - Developed by E.C.Crawford, this is a form of brainstorming which attempts to draw from a group of people their ideas on a particular subject. Participants write down each idea on a separate piece of paper, writing as many as they can in a limited period of time. All the different ideas are then compiled into one greater list.

Criticality - A term that refers to how often a failure will occur, how easy it is to diagnose, and whether it can be fixed.

Critical Mass - Dr. Deming uses this term to refer to that stage when an organization has "recruited" enough of its personnel to a new idea or philosophy that the transformation or change process will now be self-sustaining. Enough people will be behind the idea and will help convert others that the new idea will "take hold".

Critical Value - The value of the test statistic beyond which we would reject the null hypothesis. The critical value is set so that the probability that the test statistic is beyond the critical value is at most equal to the significance level if the null hypothesis be true.

Cross-Functional Teams - Teams with members from differing departments and vocations.

Cross-Training - Training an employee to do several different jobs.

Cumulative sum control chart - A control chart on which the plotted value is the cumulative sum of deviations of successive samples from a target value. The ordinate of each plotted point represents the algebraic sum of the previous ordinate and the most recent deviations from the target.

Customer - (1) Anyone who is the receiver of the goods or services that are produced. (2) This term is now used to described those persons who receive and use products and/or services, whether they be customers outside the organization (external customers) or coworkers within the same organization...Usually referred to as "internal customers". See also supplier.

Customer Benefits Package - aka CBP - the package of tangibles and intangibles that make up a service.

Customer Contact - A characteristic of services that notes that customers tend to be more involved in the production of services than they are in manufactured goods.

Customer Co-Production - The participation of a customer in the delivery of a service product. For example, in many restaurants it is not uncommon for customers to fill their own drinks.

Customer Delight - The result of delivering a product or service that exceeds customer expectations.

Customer-Driven Quality - Term that refers to a pro-active approach to satisfying customer needs.

Customer Expectations - (1) what customers expect from a service provider; (2) a part of the servqual questionnaire.

Customer Future Needs - projection predicting the future needs of customers and designing products that satisfy those needs.

Customer Perceptions - (1) How customers view products or services; (2) The second part of the servqual survey.

Customer Rationalization - The process of reaching an agreement between marketing and operations as to which customers add the greatest advantage and profits over time.

Customer-Related Ratios - Ratios that include customer satisfaction, customer dissatisfaction, and comparisons of customer satisfaction relative to competitors.

Customer-Relationship Management - A view of the customer that asserts that the customer is a valued asset that should be managed.

Customer Retention - The percentage of customers who return to a service provider or continue to purchase a manufactured product.

Customer Satisfaction - Customer's perception of the degree to which the customer's requirements have been fulfilled.

Customer-Supplier Partnership - A long term relationship between a buyer and a supplier characterized by teamwork and mutual confidence. The supplier is considered an extension of the buyer’s organization. The buyer provides long term contracts and uses fewer suppliers. The supplier implements quality assurance processes so that incoming inspection can be minimized. The supplier also helps the buyer reduce costs and improve product and process designs.

Customer service surveys - Instruments that consists of a series of items (or questions) that are designed to elicit customer perceptions.