Technical terms of quality management: C



Computer Aided Design.



Computer Aided Engineering.



Comparison of the measured value or expectation (expected value) of an output quantity with the true or correct value of an input quantity. The comparison is always made for a particular measuring system and under stipulated conditions – and does not change the measuring instrument. (On the basis of DIN 1319-1)


Calibration interval

Time between two calibrations.



Computer Aided Manufacturing



Computer Aided Planning



The capability of an object, in order to achieve a result that meets the requirements. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)



Computer Aided Quality Assurance: This term is used for the computer-supported planning and performance of actions related to quality in a company.


Cascade process

Breaking down objectives in an organizational unit. Performance indicators and performance figures are defined that can be measured and influenced for the particular unit and that ultimately are linked to the objectives of the company as a whole.



Committee on Conformity Assessment (ISO committee).



Computer Aided Software Engineering.


Cause and effect diagram

See Ishikawa diagram.



Comité des Constructeurs Français d‘Automobiles: Association of the French automotive industry, Paris. www.ccfa.fr



Communauté Européenne. See CE mark.


CE mark

CE (Communauté Européenne) is the French term for the European Community. The CE mark is an expression of the conformance with EU directives. The objective of the CE mark is to show that a product conforms to the general protection objectives stipulated in the EU directives. The CE mark is consequently a symbol for free trade of technical products in the European Union.



Cause-Effect Diagram with the Addition of Cards. Cause-effect diagram that uses cards or post-its (for the causes). See also Ishikawa diagram.



Comité Européen de Normalisation. European Committee for Standardization. Its primary job is to compose European standards (EN).



Comité Européen de Normalisation Electrotechnique, Brussels, Belgium



Conférence Européenne des Administrations des Postes et des Télécommunications: Coordinating body for telecommunications and postal organizations from 48 European states. The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations was established in 1959 and developed recommendations for telecommunication until 1988 (focus on services and networks). When the ETSI was founded in 1988 it took over many of these functions.



Document that is issued in accordance with the rules of a certification system in order to engender confidence that a uniquely described product or a uniquely described process conforms to a specified standard or to another normative document.
(DGQ Volume 11-04:2009)



Process to verify a management system‘s effectiveness and reliability performance. With the help of an audit, a neutral (certification) body examines whether or not, or the extent to which, certain requirements (on the basis of standards) are fulfilled. In a positive case, a certificate is issued. The term “certification“ is derived from the Latin “certus facere“, which roughly means to “make safe (reliable)”.


Certification body

Company that carries out certifications.



Key person in the top management of the Six Sigma organization: Champions are mentors. Their main function is to use the Six Sigma strategy to achieve the company‘s objectives.


Change management

Companies or organizations today act in a social environment that is strongly subject to change (technology, politics, globalization). The company‘s success is also determined by the extent to which changes are recognized early on and strategically implemented in the company. Change management analyzes such changes and possible future scenarios, attempts to control the change in certain cases and develops actions to adjust the company‘s structure (e.g., management, workflows) to changes that have already occurred or are expected to occur. Sometimes change management is also seen as simply a planned restructuring.


Change request

A request for a change in projects, particularly in software projects: formalized request for a change in the properties of a certain product characteristic.



Property that identifies a unit. Characteristics can be inherent (“existing as an essential constituent or characteristic of a unit“) or can be assigned to a unit. Characteristics can be of a quantitative or qualitative nature. Characteristics can furthermore be classified as follows: physical characteristics (e.g., mechanical, electric, chemical or biological); sensory characteristics (e.g., involving smell, touch, taste, vision, hearing); behavioral characteristics (e.g., courtesy, honesty, veracity); temporal (e.g., punctuality, dependability, availability); ergonomic characteristics (e.g., physiological or related to human safety); functional characteristics (e.g., a vehicle‘s maximum speed). (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Characteristic value

Qualitative or quantitative values of a characteristic. (On the basis of DIN 55350-12)



Data collection sheet which simplifies the systematic acquisition of data and recognition of principles. See also: Inspection list.



  1. Corporate Identity (totality of a company‘s characteristics).
  2. See Continual Improvement.


Computer Integrated Manufacturing.



Continual (or Continuous) Improvement Process.


CIP workshop

Kaizen tool used for complex, extensive, continuous improvement processes with higher priority in terms of time. The CIP workshop is initiated based on a current problem which needs to be solved, while quality circles are held regularly in order to achieve improvement.



Sub-domain of characteristic values that results from classification.



A characteristic’s range of values is divided into sub-areas (classes). These are mutually exclusive and completely cover the range of values. (On the basis of DIN 55350-23)


Closing talk

The closing talk or closing meeting takes place after the performance of an audit and summarizes the audit results (including the audit conclusions). This talk covers the following contents: Summary of the findings; Remark on the audit‘s sampling character; Mention of positive findings; Observations, recommendations and deviations; Clarification of misunderstandings; Documentation of any differences of opinion; Audit conclusions; And, where applicable, agreements, discussion regarding the type, scheduling, responsibilities for corrective and improvement actions.



Capability of machine. Machine capability index. It describes shortterm dispersion of the examined quantitative characteristic.



CEN Management Centre



Machine capability index. It describes the short-term variability of the examined quantitative characteristic and its distance to the specification limit.



Capability Maturity Model. Process model for judging the quality (“maturity“) of a company‘s software process and to determine improvement activities. At the end of 2003, CMM was replaced by Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI for short) in order to prevent uncontrolled growth of diverse CM models and to create a uniform model.



Professional support (motivation) in a work context: Consultation related to people, processes and organizations with the objective of effective task fulfillment through such measures as strengthening self-reflection.


Combined audit

Audit of two or more management systems of different disciplines (such as quality and environmental management) at a single auditee. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)



Suitability of different units to be used together under specific conditions for a stipulated purpose in order to fulfill the requirements that apply them.
(DGQ Volume 11-04:2009)



Demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in order to achieve a result. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015 and ISO 19011:2018)



Dissatisfaction expressed by the customer vis-à-vis an organization. Dissatisfaction may relate to a product, service or complaintshandling process, if a response or resolution is expected from the organization. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Complaint management

In the framework of customer focus, this term is used for all planning, strategies and actions that use the dissatisfaction of customers as articulated and documented in complaints to better achieve the corporate goals. Consequently, the reduction of stated demands for compensation is not the first objective; instead, the primary goal is the conversion of justified complaints into improvements in products, processes and services.



Term to be used in audit findings if the audit criteria were selected with a view to legal (including statutory or regulatory) requirements. (On the basis of ISO 19011:2018)


Compliance audit

Examination by internal or external auditors to ascertain whether or not legal requirements are fulfilled in a company. For example, this includes laws, ordinances and licensing notices, as well as internal standards such as group guidelines. Particularly statutory or regulatory specifications are selected and audited point by point.



Permission to use or release a product (or service) that does not conform to the specified requirements. A concession is generally limited to the delivery of a product or service that has nonconforming characteristics for an agreed time or for an agreed quantity within specified limits. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)



All characteristics and characteristic values of a unit. Standard DIN 55350-11 also speaks of inherent characteristics in this connection. This means characteristics inherent in the unit, as compared to characteristics that are assigned to a unit. Taking a cabinet as an example, the size and design of the door panels are inherent characteristics while the price and delivery data are assigned characteristics. Sometimes the word “nature“ is used in this context. (On the basis of DIN 55350-11)


Confidence interval

Estimated interval that is calculated from sampling results. The estimated interval includes the unknown true value of the parameter that is to be estimated at the stipulated confidence level. (On the basis of DGQ Volume 11-04:2012)


Confidence level

For the calculation of a confidence interval or a statistical tolerance interval of desired and stipulated lower limiting value of the probability. (On the basis of DGQ Volume 11-04:2012)



Physical and functional characteristics of products or services that are interrelated. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Configuration management

Coordinated activities for configuration direction and control. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)



A requirement is fulfilled. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Context of the organization

Environment and framework conditions of the organization. The context of an organization combines internal and external issues. The organization should be aware of its environment and observe it. Changes in the environment may affect the organization and its ability to provide products and services conforming to requirements and achieving objectives. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Continual Improvement

Recurring activities in order to increase the ability to fulfill requirements. It is a continual process to set objectives and find opportunities for improvement. The use of audit findings, audit conclusions, data analyses, management review or other means by management usually necessitate corrective or preventive actions. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Continuous characteristic

Quantitative characteristic. A continuous or also continual characteristic can assume an infinite number of different values within its range of values. (On the basis of DIN 55350-12)


Continuous data

See Quantitative data.



Obligating or binding agreement. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Control chart

See Quality control chart.


Control of documented information

Ensures that documented information is available and suitable for use where and when needed and is adequately protected. Includes the distribution, access, retrieval, use, storage, preservation, change management, retention and disposition of documented information. Documented information retained as conformity evidence shall be protected from unintended changes. In addition, documented information of external origin needs to be considered. (See also ISO 9001:2015)


Control of inspection, measuring and testing equipment

Totality of systematic calibration, adjustment and verification activities as well as the maintenance of inspection, measuring and test equipment and its tools.
(DGQ Volume 11-04:2009)


Control plan

See Production control plan.


Controlled process

(Quality) capable process
The distinguishing features are:

  • Systematic influences no longer interfere with the process.
  • The measured values vary only due to random influences.
  • The distribution of the measured values is stable over time.
  • It is possible to predict future measurement series.
  • The process lies within the tolerance range and has sufficient safety margins to the limiting values.


Monitoring and coordination concept to support company management in the framework of result oriented planning and the implementation of business activities. Controlling focuses on the collection, preparation and analysis of data to prepare decisions appropriate for the objective.


Conventional true value

Measured value or numerical value for purposes of comparison. The deviation from the true value is seen as negligible for the comparison. (On the basis of DIN 1319-1)



= “Cost of poor quality“ refers to the costs that arise when a company or a process delivers poor quality. For example, this could be the cost for reworking or scrapping. The concept, however, also includes costs incurred by image loss, quality audits, supplier monitoring, etc.


Core process

Process that, taking the company focus into consideration, is strategically important and a significant contributor to the business success. Core processes generally display the following aspects: Value creation, the (external) customer stands at the beginning and end of the process, they significantly contribute to the company‘s success and to customer satisfaction, they relate directly to the customers and have a direct effect on the customers, and the customer is willing to pay for the process output.



Action to resolve a detected nonconformity. Reworking or regrading are corrections. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Corrective action

Action for the permanent remedy of the cause of a detected nonconformity or other unwanted situation. There are often several causes for a nonconformity. A corrective action is used to prevent a nonconformity from occurring again, while a preventive action is meant to avert the occurrence of the nonconformity. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)



Statements regarding the linear relationship between two variables. Also see: Scatter diagram (correlation diagram).


Correlation coefficient (r)

Measurement of the strength of the linear relationship between the influencing factor (x) and the output quantity (Y). This method is used to identify significant influencing factors. The correlation coefficient (r) can have a value from -1 to +1.


Cost-benefit analysis

Instrument for reviewing investments.



Capability of process. Process capability index (measure of dispersion).



Capability of process. Process capability index (measure of dispersion and location).


Creativity techniques

The (seven) creativity techniques are suitable for all situations in a company in which new ideas are sought. In detail, these are: Mind mapping, progressive abstraction, morphological box, method 635, synetcics meeting, visual synectics, buzzword analysis. See each term.


Critical deviation

Evaluation of an audit finding. There is a (critical) deviation (nonconformity) when a complete, required procedure or a requirement from the standards is not fulfilled or is not installed in the company. Non fulfillment is with respect to a complete sub-point of a chapter. This includes both a lack of planning and a lack of effective implementation. A (critical) deviation (nonconformity) always necessitates a corrective action. A certificate cannot be issued until there is effective realization and elimination of the deviation (nonconformity).


Critical nonconformity

Nonconformity which can result in critical consequences for the environment in question.
(DGQ Volume 11-04:2009)



See Customer Relationship Management.



The American Philip B. Crosby (1926 – 2001) was one of the pioneers and significant figures in quality science. His primary focus was on the “zero defects program.“


Cross-functional management

Integration of a company‘s vertical and horizontal elements: Management across functions and departments.


Cross-functional team

Work group comprised of people with different work experience. The group can be composed of employees from the finance, marketing, production and human resources areas. Typically, the employees are drawn from all levels in the organization. It is also possible to expand the group of people to include customers, advisers or suppliers (organizations outside the company).



Canadian Standards Association, Mississauga (Ontario). www.csa.org



Critical Success Factor.



Customer Satisfaction Index. Indicator to determine and measure customer satisfaction.



Customer Satisfaction Measurement.


CTQ drill down technique

Tool to set clear, measurable sub-goals when introducing Six Sigma. At the strategic level, first the group goals (CTQs: Critical to Quality) are defined. The company‘s vision, customer wishes and competitors‘ activity form the basis for these objectives. In the next step, these strategic goals are then systematically broken down (drill down) into district objectives, plant objectives and all the way down to sub-goals. It is crucial for the sub-goals to be clearly formulated and measureable.


Cube plot

Within DoE (Design of Experiments) a cube plot can be created if there are three factors to be examined, each with two settings, in order to depict the results of the experiments on the one hand and to read off the optimal setting on the other. The corners of a cube diagram represent a particular factor combination. If there are several series of experiments (experiments per factor and setting), it is advisable to use average values for the individual experiment combinations.



Recipient (organization or person) of a product or service. This can be someone outside the organization (external customer) or someone who is a part of the organization (internal customer). As examples, the standard lists: client, end user, retailer, beneficiary and purchaser. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Customer feedback

Statements from customers on how they perceive the quality of the supplied product.
Remark 1: Customer feedback can, e.g., be the transmission of results from product behavior tests by the customer or client to the supplier of the offered product. (DGQ Volume 11-04:2009)


Customer focus

Focus of all of a company‘s activities and sequences on the wishes and expectations of its customers. Customer focus is one of the quality management principles (see Quality management principles). You can find out more about this in the Quality management principles.


Customer property

Products or services that belong to the customer. They become a part of the production or service process. According to ISO 9001:2015, intellectual property and personal data can also be customer property. (On the basis of ISO 9001:2015)


Customer Relationship Management

Documentation and administration of customer relations (also electronically).


Customer requirement

See Requirement.


Customer satisfaction

Customer‘s perception of the extent to which his or her requirements have been fulfilled. Customer complaints can be an indicator for customer satisfaction. A lack of customer complaints is not necessarily a sign of a high level of customer satisfaction. Fulfillment of the agreed customer requirements also does not necessarily mean that customer satisfaction is ensured. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)


Customer service

Interaction between the organization and the customer during the product life cycle. (On the basis of ISO 9000:2015)



Company Wide Quality Control: All activities in a company that are relevant for quality constitute company-wide quality control. This comprises all employees at all hierarchical levels. CWQC is used to pursue the objective of having all activities in the product creation process satisfy the customer requirements.

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