Quality Glossary Click here to go to the homepage
Abilene Paradox
observed by management expert Jerry B. Harvey in his 1988 book "The Abilene Paradox and other Meditations on Management" Abilene Paradox (same as groupthink).

Accredited Registrars
Accredited Registrars are qualified organizations certified by a national body to perform audits to the QS9000 standard and to register the audited facility as meeting these requirements for a given commodity.

Acceptable Quality Level(AQL)
AQL is limit of a satisfactory process average at a particular quality level when a continuing series of lots is considered.

Acceptance Sampling
Inspection of a sample from a lot to decide whether to accept or not accept that lot. There are two types - attributes sampling and variables sampling.

The closeness of agreement between an observed value and an accepted reference value. Also see Precision.

Activity-based costing(ABC)
A system for making business decisions based on cost information of fundamental business activities as tasks related to product design, development, quality, manufacturing, distribution, customer acquisition, service and support. ABC is sometimes considered a form of business process re-engineering as it insists on surfacing a manageable number of cost drivers that can be used to trace variable business costs to customer, products and processes.

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
Generally speaking APQP is a structured method of defining the steps necessary to ensure that a product satisfies the customer. In the automotive industry, APQP is a systematic product introduction process that aims to facilitate supply chain communication and ensure quality throughout the vehicle development process.

Affinity Diagram
A way to organize facts, opinions, ideas and issues into natural groupings as an aid to diagnosis on a complex problem. A large number of ideas are generated and then organized into groupings to reveal major themes. (more)

Agile Manufacturing
Tools, techniques, and initiatives that enable a plant or company to thrive under conditions of unpredictable change. Agile manufacturing not only enables a plant to achieve rapid response to customer needs, but also includes the ability to quickly reconfigure operations and strategic alliances to respond rapidly to unforeseen shifts in the marketplace. More from Case Western Reserve U.

Automotive Industry Action Group

A type of visual control that displays the current state of work (i.e., abnormal conditions, work instructions, job progress info). It is one of the main tools of Jidoka.

Analysis of Means (ANOM)
Developed by Ellis R. Ott in 1967 (later enhanced by Edward Schilling), ANOM is a statistical procedure for troubleshooting industrial processes and analyzing the results of experimental designs with factors at fixed levels. It provides a graphical display of data. Ellis R. Ott developed the procedure in 1967 because he observed that non-statisticians had difficulty understanding analysis of variance. 

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
a basic statistical technique for analyzing experimental data. It subdivides the total variation of a data set into meaningful component parts associated with specific sources of variation in order to test a hypothesis on the parameters of the model or to estimate variance components. ANOVA is used to test whether the means of many samples differ but it does so using variation instead of mean. It compares the amount of variation within the samples to the amount of variation between the means of samples. If the 'between variation' is significantly larger than the 'within variation', we conclude that the mean of our response has changed. Click here for more.

Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)
Developed by Thomas Saaty, AHP provides a proven, effective means to deal with complex decision making and can assist with identifying and weighting selection criteria, analyzing the data collected for the criteria and expediting the decision-making process.

Appearance Item
Is a product that is visible once the vehicle is completed. Certain customers will identify appearance items on the engineering drawings. In these cases, special approval for appearance (color, grain, texture, etc.) is required prior to production part submissions.

Synonymous with the term Reliability Apportionment, which is the assignment of reliability goals from system to subsystem in such a way that the whole system will have the required reliability.

Approved Drawing
Is an engineering drawing signed by the engineer and released through the customer's system.

Approved Material
Approved Materials are materials governed either by industry standard specifications (e.g., SAE, ASTM, DIN, ISO) or by customer specifications.

Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a structured method of defining and establishing the steps necessary to assure that a product satisfies the customer.

An evaluation process including a document review, an on-site audit and an analysis and report. Customers may also include a self-assessment, internal audit results and other materials in the assessment.

Atari mae hinshitsu (japanese term)
taken for granted quality

The property a unit has of being either bad or good. That is, the quality characteristic of a unit is either within the specified requirements or it is not.

Attribute Data
Attributes data are qualitative data that can be counted for recording and analysis. Examples include the presence or absence of a required label, the installation of all required fasteners. Attributes data are not acceptable for production part submissions unless variables data cannot be obtained. The control charts based on attribute data are percent chart, number of affected units chart, count chart, count-per-unit chart, quality score chart, and demerit chart.

Audit (Quality)
An independent review conducted to compare some aspect of quality performance with a standard for that performance. (Juran, Quality Control Handbook)

Average Outgoing Quality (AOQ)
The expected average quality level of outgoing product for a given value of incoming product quality. Click here for more.

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.

A3 Report
The A3 report is a tool used for problem solving in the course of work. The name "A3" describes the size of paper on which the report is written. The steps of the report include identifying a problem, understanding the current condition, determining the root cause, developing a target condition, implementation plan, and follow-up plan. These steps are all written and drawn (not typed) out on a single piece of A3 paper. Click here for more. 

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