Technical terms of quality management: A



American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.



Average Amount of Inspection.



Activity-based costing. User-based distribution of overhead costs to the performances (reference value is the performance or the process). Tool to analyze and control overhead costs. The result makes it possible to show the relationship between resources and products in terms of economic performance.


ABC analysis

Business management procedure to support planning and decisionmaking. Certain classification methods or schemes are used tom rate operational objects or factors according to their significance/importance and subsequently group them into A, B and C classes. This indicates the portion of the business volume held by important customers or the percentage of high-quality products on stock. The ABC analysis provides a rough idea of the ACTUAL situation and serves as a basis for more precise analyses of problematic areas.


ABC-XYZ analysis

In materials management, the XYZ analysis first means a classification of procurement objects with regard to their consumption characteristics (e.g., constant, seasonal, sporadic). In general, unlike the ABC analysis which groups according to significance, the classification here is according to other criteria (e.g., required quantitative material or resource usage: high, medium, low). In order to improve the effectiveness of an ABC analysis or a purely XYZ analysis, the two are combined into an ABC-XYZ analysis. This shows that, for example, lower value articles constitute a high proportion of the inventory and at the same time demand high resource usage for their storage. The advantage of this analysis method is that it remains limited to a few dimensions and consequently makes it comparatively easy to recognize weak points that can then be considered in more detail. See ABC analysis, XYZ analysis.


Absolute liability

Absolute liability (also strict liability) is liability for damages that result from an allowed hazard. Liability for damages arises regardless of guilt.



Acceptance number.


Acceptable risk

See Limiting risk.



Finding that the criteria for the acceptability of the inspection lot are fulfilled.
(DGQ Volume 11-04:2009)


Acceptance inspection

Quality inspection to determine whether or not a product is acceptable as supplied or delivered. (On the basis of DIN 55350-17)


Acceptance number

Maximum number of nonconforming units or nonconformities in a sample that still allows an inspection lot to be accepted. This applies in the context of an acceptance sampling plan for inspection by attributes. (On the basis of ISO 3534-2)


Acceptance quality limit (AQL)

Maximum percentage of nonconforming units in an inspection lot sample and, therefore, worst tolerable quality level. (On the basis of ISO 3534-2)


Acceptance sampling plan

Method based on statistical principles. This method is used to determine whether or not a lot will be accepted.



Confirmation by an acknowledging body (accreditation body) that an organization (conformity assessment body) demonstrably fulfils the requirements to perform conformity evaluations (e.g., test, inspection, certification of management systems, people and products). The term “accreditation” is derived from the Latin word “accredere“ which means “to give credibility”. (On the basis of ISO/IEC 17000:2005).
In Germany, all accreditation tasks have been concentrated at the DAkkS (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH) since January 1, 2010.



Measure of the agreement between a test (or measurement) result and the accepted reference value (true value). (On the basis of DIN 55350-13)


Action limit

Maximum or minimum value that is entered into a quality control chart. Action must be taken if a characteristic value falls above or below this value. (On the basis of DIN 55350-33)


Active listening

See Indirect communication behavior.


Activity network diagram

The activity network diagram is a management tool (M7) that is used to show the sequential relationships of activities. Mutual dependences of events can be shown in a structured manner in order to simplify the (time) planning and monitoring of a project.


Added-value performance

Activity (performance) that leads to value enhancement from the customer‘s point of view. It increases the value of a product for the customer.



Precise adjustment (matching) of a measuring instrument by a changing intervention in the measuring instrument in order to minimize errors of measurement to an acceptable degree.


Affinity diagram

The affinity diagram (also called the K-J method) is a management tool (Seven Management and Planning Tools, M7) for processing (future) problems. In particular, it is used when the available information is not transparent and not ordered. Affinity means that the available data are compared and organized into groups that are contextually similar. These clusters are given a generic name and evaluated with regard to their relevance to the problem. This leads to an ordered, clear pool of facts.



Association Française de Normalisation. Official French authority for standardization. www.afnor.org


Agenda 21

Development and environmental policy action plan for the 21st century. More than 170 countries adopted this guidance paper for sustainable development at the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Meanwhile Agenda 21 (sustainable development) is also seen as the guideline for public action.



Automotive Industry Action Group. Automotive industry organization in the US with headquarters in Michigan. www.aiag.org



Law from August 1, 2009 regarding the accreditation body. This regulates such aspects as the tasks and authorities of the national accreditation body and of the accreditation advisory board. It is based on Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008, which provides for the establishment of a single national accreditation body in every member state of the EU by January 1, 2010.



Central display panel for the problem site and visual inspection. The color of the light on the display panel indicates if operation is running normally (green) or if operation (the line) must be briefly stopped (yellow) or if operation (the line) must be stopped (red). The employees who discover the problem set the signal (color of the light). Japanese quality engineering.



Associazione Nazionale Filiera Industria Automobilistica. Organization of the Italian automotive industry with headquarters in Turin, Italy. www.anfia.it



= Analysis of Variance
Statistics tool in the area of hypothesis tests that is used to compare more than two mean values simultaneously. Within the Six Sigma DMAIC cycle, ANOVA is primarily used during the analyze and improve phase in order to statistically confirm important input variables to a process.
Example: Problem formulation for ANOVA: Do suppliers A, B, C, D … have the same mean delivery time?



American National Standards Institute, Washington D.C., www.ansi.org



Average Outgoing Quality.



Average Outgoing Quality Level.



Automatic Process Control.



Advanced Product Quality Planning: Advanced product quality planning process supporting design and development of products and services. (On the basis of IATF 16949:2016)



Allied Quality Assurance Publications. NATO standards for quality assurance systems. They contain requirements for companies who supply products to the military sector.



Acceptance quality limit. See Acceptance quality limit.



Architecture of integrated information systems: Framework for the structuring and representation of business processes and information systems in companies.


Arithmetic mean

Simple statistical parameter (mean, average). It is formed by dividing the sum of all values in a collection by the number of values. The arithmetic mean is susceptible to “outliers“ (individual values in a sample that greatly differ from the average). Therefore it is useful to identify a sample by including further measures of locations and measures of dispersion.



Average Run Length. Average number of samples.



American Society for Quality, Milwaukee, U.S.A., www.asq.org



American Society for Quality Control. Earlier name of the ASQ


Assembly inspection

The assembly inspection can be conducted as an in-process or final inspection. See In-process inspection or Final inspection.


ASTM International

American Society for Testing and Materials, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. www.astm.org



Average Total Inspected. Average number of units inspected.


Attributive data

See Qualitative data.



Systematic, formal, independent and documented examination in order to evaluate the extent to which a system, process or product fulfills the requirements placed on it. The term “audit“ is derived from the Latin word “audire“, which means “to hear“. ISO 19011 (Guidelines for auditing management systems) distinguishes between internal and external audits. Internal audits are carried out by the organization itself or on its behalf (see “first party audit“), for example, for a management review or as the basis of a conformity declaration for the company. In this case, independence can be ensured by an auditor or auditors who do not have any responsibility for the area that is being audited or by the absence of conflicts of interest. Internal audits are also called first party audits. External audits are also called second or third party audits. Audits conducted by customers are examples of second party audits (supplier audits). Third party audits are audits by independent organizations such as certification or accreditation companies. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit client

Party (organization or person) requesting an audit. For internal audits, the audit client can also be the organization that is being audited. External audits can be requested by other organizations (e.g., regulators, contracting parties actual or potential clients). (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit conclusion

Result of an audit that takes into account the audit objectives and audit findings. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit criteria

Criteria that are used for an audit. Criteria are requirements that serve as a reference or benchmark for an audit. The objective evidence is compared to these standards (target status). Requirements may cover policies, procedures, work instructions, legal requirements or contractual obligations. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit evidence

Objective information in the form of records and statements of fact (actual status) which are collected during the audit and which are relevant to the audit criteria (target status). (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit findings

Result of the comparison of the audit criteria (target status) with the audit evidence (actual status). Audit findings can either demonstrate the agreement (conformity) with the audit criteria, deviations [nonconformity], or potential improvement (conformity). (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit leader

Auditor who leads the audit team. He or she has the overall responsibility for the audit. An audit (team) leader‘s fundamental tasks are: Audit planning and resource usage in the audit; representing the audit team with respect to the client and the auditee; forming the audit team and assigning the tasks; leading the audit team in order to gather objective audit results and draw audit conclusions; preventing or solving conflicts including stopping the audit if the auditee is not providing support; time management for the performance of the audit; and preparing the audit report and deviation reports.


Audit management

Control of the use of competent auditors in the different audit types and the review of the effectiveness of the audit system.


Audit plan

Detailed specification of the audit procedure and the activities for an audit. An audit plan is used to define the audit objectives, audit scope, auditors and areas or people to be audited. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit principles (principles of auditing)

Principles that constitute the basis for an effective audit. ISO 19011 lists the following seven principles: Integrity, fair presentation, due professional care, confidentiality, independence, evidence-based approach and risk-based approach. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit programme

One or more audits planned for a specific time frame with a specific purpose in mind. An audit program also includes the planning (including resources), organization and performance of audits. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit questioning method

Questioning technique in the audit. This refers to how the auditor engages people to talk. Open questions (WH questions: who, what, where, when, why and how questions) result in a great deal of information and are therefore preferable. Suggestive questions can interfere with the atmosphere of the talk, and alternative questions allow for incorrect answers. Closed questions limit the possible answers and the auditee cannot freely structure the answer. Chain questions are problematic. The person being interviewed is flooded with questions, looks for the simplest one and no longer responds to the others.


Audit record

Documentation from audit: e.g., completed checklists or handwritten records.


Audit report

Report that contains the outcome of an audit. As a rule, the outcome is delivered to the client after the audit. The report contains the audit objectives and audit scope, audit number with date, audited location, client, type of audit, audit basis, audit participants, audit representative, auditor, auditor team, audit findings, audit conclusions, remark about the follow-up audit, summarizing assessment, signature of the lead auditor and date.


Audit scope

Description of the extent and boundaries of an audit, such as physical and virtual locations, functions organizational units, processes, activities, and time period covered. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit team

An audit team leader and one or more additional auditors constitute the audit team. Where necessary, they are supported by technical experts with specific knowledge in the sector or the subject. Auditors-in-training can also supplement the audit team. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Audit type

Character of an audit. There are many types of audits that are specific to a company. The normal distinctions are between first, second and third party audits and between system, process and product audits.



Organization or parts thereof being audited. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)



Person who conducts an audit. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)
Average outgoing quality.
Expected number of defective parts in a lot according to a sampling inspection.



See EFQM Excellence Award, Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, Ludwig-Erhard-Preis.

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