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Quality Assurance Terms Glossary/K

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Kaizen - A Japanese term meaning continual improvement involving everyone. Said by some, to be one of the most important concepts in "Japanese management", it is working each and every day to make improvements in the processes of the organization. Such incremental, but continuous improvement may reap great gains over time. It is contrasted with the western world's pattern of relying on major "breakthrough" to gain needed improvement. The term was used by Masakai Imai.

Kaizen Event (or Kaizen Blitz) - A kaizen event occurs when an operation team works together to improve a specific operation. It typically involves a detailed description of the current state of the selected operation, developing the kaizen plan for improvement, implementing the plan, following-up to confirm that the plan was carried out fully and correctly, and reporting to management on the event and its accomplishments.

Kanban - Pulling a product through the production process. This method of manufacturing process-flow-control only allows movement of material by pulling from a preceding process. Inventory is kept low. Then quality errors are detected, there is less product affected.

Key Business Factors aka KBF - Those measures or indicators that are significantly related to the business success of a particular firm.

KJ Method - See Affinity Diagram

Key Performance Indicator - See KPI

Key Process Input Variable aka KPIV - Factors within a process correlated to an output characteristic(s) important to the internal or external customer. Optimizing and controlling these is vital to the improvement of the KPOV.

Key Process Output Variable aka KPOV - Characteristic(s) of output of a process that are important to the customer. Understanding what is important to the internal and external customer is essential to identifying KPOV.

Knowledge-Growth Systems - A compensation system that increases an employee’s pay as he or she establishes competencies at different levels relating to job knowledge in a single job classification.

Knowledge Work - Jobs that consist primarily of working with information.

KPI - Key Performance Indicator