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quality glossary
includes business excellence, lean & Six Sigma terminology
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library search

sponsored by
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Pinnacle Partners, Inc., Oak Ridge, TN
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5 Whys
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Refers to the practice of asking, five times, why the failure has occurred in order to get to the root cause/causes of the problem.
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5S
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5S is the Japanese concept for House Keeping
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1.) Sort (Seiri) … determine what is needed and what is not
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2.) Straighten or Set in Order (Seiton) … a place for everything and everything in its place
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3.) Shine (Seiso) … clean everything
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4.) Standardize (Seiketsu) … create the rules to monitor the first 3 S’s
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5.) Sustain (Shitsuke) … teach the work force how to clean and stay organized
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7 (or 8) Wastes of Lean
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The 7 (or 8) wastes are at the root of all unprofitable activity within your organization.
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The 8 wastes consist of:
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1. Defects
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2. Overproduction
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3. Waiting
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4. Not Utilizing People
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5. Transportation
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6. Inventory
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7. Motion
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8. Excess Processing
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Any or all of these create “downtime”.
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Andon
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A tool of visual management originating from the Japanese for "Lamp". A light that provides a signal or has meaning. Andon at many manufacturing facilities is an electronic device: audio and/or color-coded visual display. Lights placed on machines or on production lines to indicate operation status.
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Balanced Scorecard
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The scorecard balances traditional performance measures with more forward-looking indicators in four key dimensions:.
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• Financial
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• Integration/Operational Excellence
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• Employees
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• Customers
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Batch-and-Queue
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Processing more than one item and then moving those items forward to the next operation before they are all actually needed there…thus items need to wait in a queue. Also called “Batch-and Push.” Contrast with continuous flow.
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Batch Size Reduction
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Lean concept or tool. Striving to reduce batch size to the optimal level to meet the customer demand at the next step of the process. The goal is One Piece Flow. However, when One Piece Flow is not possible, the goal should be to reduce the batch size as far as possible and still be able to respond to customer demands and expectations.
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Benchmarking
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The concept of discovering what is the best performance (in a particular area or process) being achieved, whether in your company, by a competitor, or by an entirely different industry. Once this is determined, use this information to improve your own processes.
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Best Practice
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A way or method of accomplishing a business function or process that is considered to be superior to all other known methods.
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Black Belt
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Six Sigma team leaders responsible for implementing process improvement projects (DMAIC or DFSS) within the business -- to increase customer satisfaction levels and business productivity (top-line growth and bottom-line results). Black Belts are knowledgeable and skilled in the use of the Six Sigma methodology and tools. Black Belts run the Six Sigma projects.
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Business Excellence
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A level of performance in which a company achieves and sustains “best in industry (world-class) results”, for critical factors deemed to be vital to business success, as defined by the key stakeholders of the business.
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Business Process Quality Management
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The concept of defining macro and micro processes, assigning ownership, and creating responsibilities of the owners.
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Business Value Added
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A step or change made to the product which is necessary for future or subsequent steps but is not noticed by the final customer.
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Capability
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The capability of a product, process, practicing person or organization is the ability to perform its specified purpose based on tested, qualified or historical performance, to achieve measurable results that satisfy established requirements or specifications.
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Cause
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A factor (X) that has an impact on a response variable (Y); a source of variation in a process or a product or a system. Anything that adversely affects the nature, timing, or magnitude of an adverse effect.
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Cell
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Operating a true continuous flow on workstations placed close together in the order of processing, sometimes in a “U” shape. Cell staff may handle multiple processes, and the number of employees is changed when the customer demand rate changes. The “U” shaped equipment layout is used to allow more alternatives for distributing work elements among staff, and to quite often permit the leadoff and final operations to be performed by the same employee.
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Cellular Processing and Decision
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Linking of operations into the most efficient combination to maximize value-added content while minimizing waste.
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Champion
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Business leaders and senior managers who ensure that resources are available for training and projects, and who are involved in project tollgate reviews. There are different levels of Champions. Two types are Organizational Champions and Project Champions. Project Champions own the Six Sigma or Lean projects.
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Changeover
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When a piece of software, machine or staff member has to stop processing in order to change and process a different item. For example, an accounting clerk is processing accounts payable and must stop, file A/P claims, pull A/R records, change software screens and then process accounts receivable items.
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Change Agent
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A person who leads a change project or business-wide initiative by defining, researching, planning, building business support and carefully selecting volunteers to be part of a change team. Change Agents must have the conviction to state the facts based on data, even if the consequences are associated with unpleasantness.
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Change Management
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The process responsible for controlling and managing requests to effect changes to the business infrastructure or any aspect of business services to promote business benefits and results. Change Management also controls and manages the implementation of the changes.
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Charter (Project)

A document or sheet that clearly scopes and identifies the purpose of an improvement project. Items specified include, but are not limited to, background case, purpose, team members, scope, timeline, financial benefits, expected results and additional benefits, etc.
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Content Time
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See Work Content Time
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Continuous Flow Processing
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Items are processed and moved from one processing step to the next one-piece-at-a-time. Each step processes only the one piece that the next step needs, and the transfer batch size is one. Sometimes called “single-piece-flow” or “one piece flow.” Contrast with batch-and-queue.
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Continuous Improvement
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Adopting new activities and eliminating those which are found to add little or no value. The goal is to increase effectiveness by reducing inefficiencies, frustrations, and waste (rework, time, effort, material, etc). The Japanese Lean term is Kaizen.
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Control Chart
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(Process Behavior Charts)

A graphical tool for monitoring changes that occur within a process, by distinguishing variation that is inherent in the process (common cause or routine variation…predictable process) from variation that yields a change to the process (special cause or exceptional variation…unpredictable process).
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Control Plan
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The intent of a process control plan is to control the product characteristics and the associated process variables to ensure capability (around the identified target or nominal) and stability of the product over time.
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Cost of Quality
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Cost of quality is the amount of money a business loses because its product or service was not done right in the first place or was not produced as close to target as possible.
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Critical to Quality (CTQ)
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CTQs are the key measurable characteristics of a product or process whose performance standards or specification limits must be met in order to satisfy the customer. They align improvement or design efforts with customer requirements.
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Customer
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A person who purchases the end product or service that a business produces.
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Customer Demand
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Product needed based upon the amount a customer requires at any given time.
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Customer Focus
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The concept that the customer is the only person qualified to specify what Quality means. This leads to detailed analyses of who are the customers…what are their needs, what features (or new) are required of our products/services, how do customers rate our products/services versus our competitors and why, how can we keep our customers satisfied?
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Customer Requirements
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The wants and needs of the customer (Voice of Customer) in Stated or Implied Terms.
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Cycle Time
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Cycle time is the total time from the beginning to the end of your process, as defined by your business and your customer. Cycle time includes process time, during which a unit is acted upon to bring it closer to an output, and delay time, during which a unit of work is spent waiting to take the next action. It is the total elapsed time to move a unit of work from the beginning to the end of a physical process.
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Dashboard
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A dashboard is a tool used for collecting and reporting information about vital customer requirements and/or your business' performance for key customers. Dashboards provide a quick summary of process and/or product performance.
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Data
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Data are factual information or measures used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation. The “right” data and its analysis are critical to achieve quality improvement.
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Defect
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Any type of undesired result is a defect. A failure to meet one of the acceptance criteria of your customers. A defective unit may have one or more defects.
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Defects per Million (DPMO)
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The average number of defects per unit observed during an average production run divided by the number of opportunities to make a defect on the product under study during that run normalized to one million.
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Demand
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Amount needed as defined by the customer.
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Deming Cycle (PDSA)
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(Also known as PDCA) A continuous quality improvement model consisting of a logical sequence of four repetitive, fluid steps for continuous improvement and learning: Plan, Do, Study (Check) and Act.
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Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
An integral part of a Six Sigma Quality Initiative structure for designing or redesigning products and processes. Uses DMADV framework which consists of five interconnected phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify (DMADV). Design for Six Sigma is used for new product/service introduction.
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Design of Experiments (DOE)
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A Design of Experiment (DOE) is a structured, organized method for determining the relationship between factors (Xs) affecting a process and the output of that process (Y). Used in the Improve phase of Six Sigma to determine best improvement strategy.
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DMAIC
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An acronym for five interconnected phases: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. Incremental process improvement using Six Sigma methodology. Pronounced (Duh-May-Ick). DMAIC refers to a data-driven quality strategy for improving processes, and is an integral part of the company's Six Sigma Improvement Initiative.
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Drift
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As components age and equipment undergoes changes in temperature or sustains mechanical stress, critical performance gradually degrades. This is called drift. When this happens your test results become unreliable and both design and production quality suffer. While drift cannot be eliminated, it can be detected and contained through the process of calibration.
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Effect
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An effect is that which is produced by a cause; the impact a factor (X) has on a response variable (Y).
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EPE
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Refers to the “every-part-every” interval which is a measure of process size and length. For example, if a computer system is able to change over and produce all required checks, regardless of type (accounts payable, payroll, etc.), during a three week cycle, then the batch size for each individual check type is three weeks. Thus this process is covering every part every (EPE) three weeks.
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Excess Inventory
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Any product supply in excess of the absolute minimum requirement to meet customer demand.
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FIFO
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Stands for “first in, first out,” which means that items processed by one step is used up in the same order by the next step. FIFO is one way to regulate a queue between two decoupled processes when a supermarket or continuous flow are impractical. A FIFO queue is filled by the supplying process and emptied by the customer process. When a FIFO queue gets full, the supplying process must stop producing until the customer process has used up some of the inventory.
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Financial Metrics
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Used to measure the gains of a Project. Financial metrics convert the process improvements (measured through the primary process metric) in to Hard or soft dollars.
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Flow
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A main objective of the entire lean processing effort, and one of the key concepts that passed directly from Henry Ford to Taiichi Ohno (Toyota’s production manager after WWII) in the manufacturing world. Ford recognized that, ideally, production should flow (or move) continuously all the way from raw material to the customer and envisioned realizing that ideal through a production system that acted as one long conveyor.
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Flowchart
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A graphical representation (picture) of a process, depicting inputs, outputs and units of activity. It represents the entire process at a high or detailed (depending on your use) level of observation, allowing analysis and optimization of workflow. Current state flowcharts show a picture of the process as it currently operates. Future state flowcharts can be drawn to show desired process flow.
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Focused Kaizen
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Improvements made within a Value Stream using kaizen techniques…the events usually last two to three days. Also see Kaizen
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Goal
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A goal is a targeted value by a design team while building a quality process/product.
A goal can also be defined as a customer voice…what the customer is asking for or specifying.
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Green Belt
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An employee of an organization who has been trained on the improvement methodology of Six Sigma and will lead a process improvement or quality improvement team as *part* of their full time job. Their degree of knowledge and skills associated with Six Sigma is less than that of a Black Belt or Master Black Belt. Extensive product knowledge in their company is a must in their task of process improvement. The Green Belt usually serves as a Six Sigma Team Member or leads smaller less complex projects requiring less advanced tools and analysis.
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Group Products/Services
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Products/services with similar process tasks can be grouped into a product family.
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Hard Savings
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Six Sigma or Lean project benefits that provide you with bottom-line profitability results that can be measured in dollars saved.
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Heijunka
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The act of leveling the variety and/or volume of items processed at a task step over a period of time. Used to avoid excessive batching of product types and/or volume fluctuations, especially at a pacemaker process.
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ISO
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ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.

ISO is a non-governmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. On the one hand, many of its member institutes are part of the governmental structure of their countries, or are mandated by their government. On the other hand, other members have their roots uniquely in the private sector, having been set up by national partnerships of industry associations. Therefore, ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.
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ISO Certification

ISO Certification refers to a written assurance (the certificate) by an independent external body (Certification Body; CB; Registrar) that it has audited your quality management system and verified that it meets the specific ISO requirements for that specific standard that you are requesting certification.
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In-Control
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An "In-Control" process is one that is free of special causes of variation. Stable, in-control, with random variation only, all mean the same thing which is, the process behaves equally over the time. Such a condition is most often evidence on a control chart which displays an absence of exceptional variation. In control refers to a process unaffected by special causes. A process that is In Control is affected only by common causes or routine variation (Predictable Process). A process that is Out of Control is affected by special causes in addition to the common causes affecting the mean and/or variance (Unpredictable Process).
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Inventory
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Product supply on hand.
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Inventory (Excess)
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Any product supply in excess of the absolute minimum requirement to meet customer demand.
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JIT
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(Just-in-Time Manufacturing)- A planning system for manufacturing processes that optimizes availability of material inventories at the manufacturing site to only what, when & how much is necessary.
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Kaizen
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Japanese term that means continuous improvement.

Continuously improving in incremental steps. The word translated from Japanese and embracing the cultural use in Japan is: Rapid, continuous, good change.
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Kanban
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The actual term means "signal". It is one of the primary tools of JIT system. It signals a cycle of replenishment for production and materials. It maintains an orderly and efficient flow of materials throughout the entire manufacturing process. It is usually a printed card that contains specific information such as part name, description, quantity, etc. that gives instruction for production or conveyance of items in a pull system. Can also be used to perform kaizen by reducing the number of kanban in circulation, which highlights line problems.
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Lead Time
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The time required for one piece to move all the way through a process or value stream, from start to finish. Envision timing a marked item as it moves from beginning to end.
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Lean Enterprise
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(Principles)- Principles of Lean Enterprise:

marker Zero waiting time marker Zero Inventory marker Scheduling — internal customer pull instead of push system marker Batch to Flow — cut batch sizes marker Line Balancing marker Cut actual process times.
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Lean Manufacturing
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Initiative focused on eliminating all waste in manufacturing processes.
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Lean Six Sigma
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An integrated methodology, infrastructure and the tools, techniques and skills from Lean and Six Sigma necessary to optimize your processes. Lean focuses on process speed and eliminating waste, Six Sigma focuses on process quality and eliminating defects and reducing variation in processes.
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Lean Thinking
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A way of thinking which specifies value, lines up all value-creating activities along a value stream to make value flow smoothly at the pull of the customer in pursuit of perfection. Elimination of non-value added activity (waste). Lean focuses on process speed (speed and efficiency, process flow, elimination of waste).
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Lean Tool Box
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A set of tools, techniques, and activities used to accomplish Lean Thinking. Some of these include Pull Systems, Work Cells, TPM, Performance Measurement, Setup Reduction, Quality at the Source, Continuous Flow, Batch Size Reduction, Standardized Work, Teams, POUS, Visual Controls, Value Stream Mapping, 5S System, Layout, SMED, CEDAC, Poka-Yoke, etc.
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Low Hanging Fruit
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Those improvements and innovations that can be suggested and implemented immediately when they become apparent.
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Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
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The annual self-evaluation for organizations covers the following seven categories of criteria:

· Leadership
· Strategic Planning
· Customer and Market Focus
· Information and Analysis
· Human Resource Focus
· Process Management
· Business Results

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a federal agency within the Department of Commerce, is responsible for managing the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) administers the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award under a contract with NIST.
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Master Black Belt
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Master Black Belts are Six Sigma experts. Master Black Belts main responsibilities may include training and mentoring of Black Belts and Green Belts; helping to prioritize, select and charter high-impact projects; maintaining the integrity of the Six Sigma measurements, improvements and tollgates; and developing, maintaining and revising Six Sigma training materials. The Master Black Belt should be a resource for utilizing statistical process control and advanced design of experiments tools (typically just outside the Black Belt's knowledge base) within processes.
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Milk Run
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Routing a delivery vehicle in a way that allows it to make pickups and drop-offs at multiple locations on a single travel loop, as opposed to making separate trips to each.
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Motion (Excess)
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Any movement of product or machine, or employee movement that does not add value to the product or service.
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Muda
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See waste
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Noise
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Process input that consistently causes variation in the output measurement that is random, common and expected and, therefore, not controlled is called noise. Noise also is referred to as routine variation or common cause variation.
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Non-Value-Added Time
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The time for those work elements that adds no value to the product or service from the customer’s point of view.
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Not Utilizing People
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Not using your employees’ mental, creative and physical abilities
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Operational Definitions
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Definitions which assure measurements are made consistently.

Three parts:

The criterion…what you are measuring

The method…how you are measuring (i.e. measuring device)

The specific instructions…rounding of final answer, etc.
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Output
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The result of a process. The deliverables of the process; such as products, services, processes, plans, and resources.
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Overproduction
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Making or producing more, sooner or faster than is required by the next step in the process.
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Paced Withdrawal
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A timed sequence of withdrawal of finished product from the pacemaker process. Paced withdrawal is a tool for pacing a process and becoming aware of processing problems within a pitch increment.
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Pacemaker Process
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A series of production steps, frequently at the down-stream (customer) end of the value stream in a facility, that are dedicated to a particular product family and respond to orders from external customers. The pacemaker is the most important process in a facility because how you operate or “set the pace” here determines how well you can serve the customer, and what the demand pattern is like for upstream processes.
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Point Kaizen
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Improvements made at an individual process step. Usually completed in less than one day. Also see Kaizen.
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Poka-Yoke
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Japanese term which means mistake proofing…simple device used to prevent errors in the process. A poka yoke device is one that prevents incorrect parts from being made or assembled, or easily identifies a flaw or error.
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Procedures
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Procedures are the largest volume of instructional content representing practical knowledge; they include all types of human decision making such as guides, help text, methods, instructions, policies, regulations, standards and technical practices. A procedure is a set of conditional instructions that affects the human interactions involving customers, information workers and service suppliers.
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Process
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A series of steps or actions that lead to a desired result or output. A set of common tasks that creates a product, service, process, or plan that will satisfy a customer or group of customers. A sequential series of steps leading to a desired outcome.
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Processes are largely affected by one or more of the following factors: spacer
5S is the Japanese concept for House Keeping
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a.) personnel who operate the processes
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b.) materials which are used as inputs (including information)
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c.) machines or equipment being used in the process (in process execution or monitoring/measurement
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d.) methods (including criteria and various documentations used along the process)
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e.) work environment
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Understanding how these factors interact and affect processes is a key consideration in process studies.
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Process Behavior Charts
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See Control Chart
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Process Control
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The features or mechanisms that control the execution of a *Process*, including process initiation, selection of process steps, selection of alternative steps, iteration of steps within a loop, and process termination.
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Process Control Plan
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The Process Control Plan assures that the good improvements established by your project will not deteriorate once the improved process is returned to the process owners.
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Processing (Excess)
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Any effort that adds no value to the product or service from the customer’s point of view.
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Process Kaizen
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Improvements made at an individual process or in a specific area. Also See Kaizen.
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Process Lead Time
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Door-to-door time for the process, usually measured in days and weeks.
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Process Management
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The concept of defining macro and micro processes, assigning ownership, and creating responsibilities of the owners.
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Process Map
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A hierarchical method for displaying processes that illustrates how a product or transaction is processed. It is a visual representation of the work-flow either within a process - or an image of the whole operation. Process Mapping comprises a stream of activities that transforms a well-defined input or set of inputs into a pre-defined set of outputs.
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Process Owner
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The individual(s) responsible for process design and performance. The process owner is accountable for sustaining the gain and identifying future improvement opportunities on the process.
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Processing Time
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The time a product is actually being worked on in a machine or work area.
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Product
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A product is an outcome of a process or activity which could be a defined object or service.
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Project Scope
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Defined and specific project beginning and end points…sets the boundaries of the project. The more specific the details (what's in-scope and what's out of scope), the less a project may experience "scope creep".
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Project Selection
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Means by which projects are selected in an organization. Selection criteria should be defined and tied directly to achieving the organization’s strategic goals and objectives.
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Pull System
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An alternative to scheduling individual processes, where the customer process withdraws the items it needs from a supermarket, and the supplying process produces to replenish what was withdrawn. Used to avoid push. A method of controlling the flow of resources by replacing only the amount that has been consumed. See also kanban.
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Push System
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Resources are provided to the customer based on your business’ forecasts or schedules.
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Quality
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Continuous and dynamic adaptation of products and services to fulfill or exceed the requirements or expectations of all parties in the organization, the customer, and the community as a whole.
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Quality Control
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Also called statistical quality control. The managerial process during which actual process performance is evaluated and actions are taken on unusual or unacceptable performance.
It is a process to ensure whether a product meets predefined standards and requisite action taken if the standards are not met.
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Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
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A structured methodology and mathematical tool used to identify and quantify customers' requirements and translate them into key critical parameters which are then tied back to the capabilities of your process. In Six Sigma, QFD helps you to prioritize actions to improve your process or product to meet customers' expectations.
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Quality Improvement
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A systematic and continuous activity to improve all processes and systems in the organization to achieve optimal level of performance. The organized creation of beneficial changes in process performance levels.
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Quality Management
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A systematic set of activities to ensure that processes create products with maximum *Quality* at minimum *Cost of Quality*.
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Queue Time
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The time a product spends waiting in line for the next processing step.
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Reengineering
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Reengineering is focused on achieving dramatic, breakthrough improvements often by the application of new technologies.
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Rework
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Work that is done to correct defects in products or services.
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Root Cause
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An identified reason for the presence of a defect or problem. The most basic reason, which if eliminated, would prevent recurrence. The source or origin of an event.
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Root Cause Analysis
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Study of original reason for nonconformance with a process. When the root cause is removed or corrected, the nonconformance will be eliminated.
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Scope
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Generally, the extent to which a process or procedure applies. Project Scope defines the boundaries of a project.
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Scorecard
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An evaluation device, usually used to evaluate how well your business is performing. Can also be in the form of a questionnaire, that specifies the criteria your customers will use to rate your business's performance in satisfying their requirements.
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Sigma
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The Greek letter “s” (sigma) refers to the standard deviation of a population.
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Sigma Level
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Determining sigma levels of processes (one sigma, six sigma, etc.) allows process performance to be compared throughout an entire organization, because it is independent of the process. It is merely a determination of opportunities and defects; however the terms are appropriately defined for that specific process.

Sigma is a statistical term that measures how much a process varies from perfection, based on the number of defects per million units.

One Sigma = 690,000 per million units
Two Sigma = 308,000 per million units
Three Sigma = 66,807 per million units
Four Sigma = 6,210 per million units
Five Sigma = 233 per million units
Six Sigma = 3.4 per million units
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Signal
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Process input that sometimes causes variation in the output measurement that is specific and unexpected and, therefore, called a signal. Signals also are referred to as exceptional variation or special cause variation.
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SIPOC
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Stands for Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Output, and Customers. You obtain inputs from suppliers, add value through your process, and provide an output that meets or exceeds your customer's requirements. Visually depicted it includes product and information flow.
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Six Sigma
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A strategy-driven, process-focused, project-enabled organizational improvement initiative. The goal of Six Sigma is to increase profits by reducing variability and defects and eliminating waste that undermines customer loyalty…leading to bottom-line profitability and top-line growth. Six Sigma is a methodology that provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation leads to defect reduction and vast improvement in profits, employee morale and quality of product. Six Sigma focuses on process quality.
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Spaghetti Diagrams
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Visual layout and flow of the process as if you would walk though it…following it from beginning to end.
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Soft Savings
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Six Sigma and Lean project benefits such as reduced time to market, cost avoidance, lost profit avoidance, improved employee morale, enhanced image for the organization and other intangibles may result in additional savings and benefits to your organization, but are harder to quantify or measure.
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Stakeholder
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People who will be affected by the project or can influence it but who are not directly involved with doing the project work.
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Stakeholder Analysis
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A tool used to identify and enlist support from stakeholders. It provides a visual means of identifying stakeholder support so that you can develop an action plan for your project.
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Standard Operating Procedures
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Documents which capture best practices (both in written words and in visual graphics) for meeting standard work.
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Standardized work
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Doing the same thing, the same way, each and every time, with as little non-value-added time/task.
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Statistical Process Control (SPC)
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The application of statistical methods to identify and eliminate the special cause or exceptional variation in a process.
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Statistical Thinking
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The process of using wide ranging and interacting data to understand processes, problems, and determine best solutions.
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Statistics
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The mathematics of the collection, organization, and interpretation of numerical data.
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Strategic Planning
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A disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future. Determines the strategic goals and objectives of the organization, short and long term.
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Supermarket
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A controlled inventory that is used to schedule production at an upstream process.
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Supply Chain Management
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Managing the movement of goods from raw materials to the finished product delivered to customers. Supply Chain Management aims to reduce operating costs, lead times, and inventory and increase the speed of delivery, product availability, and customer satisfaction.
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Synchronous Flow
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The concept of “flowing” an item through a process in time with the steps downstream to avoid bottlenecks. Acting differently than Continuous Flow, which relies upon kanbans and one-piece flow, synchronous flow regulates the process through balanced work, minimal handling of the item, and timing of tasks and deadlines.
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System Kaizen
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Improvement aimed at an entire value stream. Also see Kaizen
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System of Profound Knowledge

Deming advanced the System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK) which he said consisted of four main subheadings:
1. Knowledge of Variation…a knowledge of common (routine) cause and special (exceptional) cause variation;
2. Knowledge of Systems…understanding that all the parts of a business are related in such a way that if you focus on optimizing one part, other parts may suffer;
3. Knowledge of Psychology…what motivates people;
4. Theory of Knowledge…how we learn things:
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Systems Thinking
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Seeing interrelationships rather than linear cause-effect chains, and seeing processes of change rather than snapshots at a single point in time (Peter Senge’s book, The Fifth Discipline).
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Takt Time
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Lean Production uses Takt Time as the rate or time that a completed product is finished. Takt Time established is defining the customers’ buying rate (the rate at which the customer buys your product).

Responding to the rate of customer demand. How often the customer requires one finished item. Takt time is used to design pacemaker processes, to assess process conditions, to develop material handling containerization, process routing, to determine problem-response requirements, and so on. Takt is the heartbeat of a Lean system.

Takt time is calculated by dividing Available Time by the quantity the customer requires
in that same amount of time.

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Team Leader
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The person who leads or directs a team of people to complete a task or project.
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Throughput
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Output or production over a period of time.
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Total Content Time
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The cumulative labor time used to complete production of 1 unit through each step of the process…doesn’t include wait time, travel times, or other non-value-added activities.
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Total Cycle Time
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The observed cycle times at each step in a process added together. Cumulative time of all process steps and cycle times throughout the process.
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Total Quality Management
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A conceptual and a philosophical context which requires management and human resources commitment to adopt a perpetual improvement philosophy, through succinct management of all processes, practices and systems throughout the organization to achieve effectiveness in the organizational performance.
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Total Work Content Time
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The observed work content times at each step in a process added together.
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Travel/Transportation
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The unnecessary or excess travel of people, product, forms or parts around a facility or organization.
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Value
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Value is the exchange for which a customer pays.

A product or service’s capability provided to a customer at the right time, at an appropriate price, as defined in each case by the customer.
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Value-added
To be a value-added action, the action must meet all three of the following criteria:

1) The customer is willing to pay for this activity.

2) It must be done right the first time.

3) The action must somehow change the product or service in some manner.
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Value-Added Time
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The time for those work elements that adds value to the product or service from the customer’s point of view.
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Value Chain
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A graphical representation of an organization’s structure… the chain depicts those processes that actually produce the product or service…these are at the heart or center of the picture. Every other process (including management) is shown as a support process or function. Key is to optimize the value chain by aligning the Voice of the Process to the Voice of the Customer.
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Value Proposition
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The proposition that states that:

Businesses have a right to produce and offer products and services that yield the highest possible profits.

Customers have a right to expect the highest quality products and services at the lowest possible cost.

The “Value Proposition” establishes this strategic alignment between organizations and their customers as critical to all improvement efforts.
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Value Stream
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All the steps (both value added and non-value added) in a process that the customer is willing to pay for in order to bring a product or service through the main flows essential to producing that product or service. All activities, both value added and non-value added, required to bring a product from raw material into the hands of the customer, a customer requirement from order to delivery, and a design from concept to launch. Value stream improvement usually begins at the door-to-door level within a facility, and then expands outward to eventually encompass the full value stream.
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Value Stream Loops
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Segments of a value stream whose boundaries are typically marked by supermarkets. Breaking a value stream into loops is a way to divide future state implementations into manageable pieces.
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Value Stream Manager
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Person responsible for helping to determine the current state map and creating a future state map and leading door-to-door implementation of the future state for a particular product family. Makes change happen across departmental and functional boundaries.
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Value Stream Mapping
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A paper and pencil tool that helps you to see and understand the flow of material and information as a product or service makes its way through the value stream. Value stream mapping is typically used in Lean, it differs from the process mapping of Six Sigma in four ways:>
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1) It gathers and displays a far broader range of information than a typical process map.
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2) It tends to be at a higher level (5-10 boxes) than many process maps.
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3) It tends to be used at a broader level, i.e. from receiving of raw material to delivery of finished goods.
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4.) It tends to be used to identify where to focus future projects, subprojects, and/or kaizen events.

Involves two stages:

a) Follow a product’s production path from “end” to “beginning” and draw a visual representation of every process in the material and information flows. (This creates the picture of the current state of the process or the Current State Map).

b) Then draw a Future State Map of how value should flow. The most critical map is the Future State Map which shows proposed, improved process design.
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Variation
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The fluctuation or movement over time in process output. Can be seen visually by using Process Behavior (Control) charts.
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Visual Controls
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Simple signals that provide an immediate understanding of a situation or condition.
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Voice of the Customer (VOC)
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Describes the stated and unstated needs or requirements of the customer. The voice of the customer can be captured in a variety of ways: Direct discussion or interviews, surveys, focus groups, customer specifications, observation, warranty data, field reports, complaint logs, etc.
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Voice of the Process (VOP)
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Term used to describe what the process is telling you. What it is capable of achieving, whether it is predictable or unpredictable and what significance to attach to individual measurements. Key is to align the Voice of the Process to the Voice of Customer.
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Waiting or Wait Time
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Any amount of time spent waiting for anything…when the process cannot flow.
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Waste
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Any activity that consumes resources but creates no value for the customer.
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WIP
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Stand for “work in process.” Any inventory between raw material and finished goods.
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Work Content Time
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The actual amount of labor time an item or product requires to be completed by a process step, as timed by direct observation.
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Work Flow
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Steps in the process.

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The Quality Glossary is provided by Pinnacle Partners, Inc., an association of business professionals that have implemented successful change initiatives and improvement strategies in corporate, business unit, and operations functions ... (source). Business card for Pinnacle Partners contact: Sheila Poling.

Quality Glossary Copyright © 2011 Pinnacle Partners, Inc.

The glossary is a part of the Enterprise & Economic Development Library, the .network resource center. Click on the resources tab above for a .network user guide. The header above the tab is linked to the glossary search tool. In the event that you arrived at this page after having already searched, you should now page search.

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