Quality Management Terminology

The field of quality management has its own set of terminology that includes many acronyms. Here’s a list of some common terms, along with definitions, to help you navigate the world of operational excellence.


Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP): Processes and Procedures, as part of the AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group) industry best practices, put in place to ensure product design integrity throughout the manufacturing process. Find out more by watching our APQP webinar.

American Society for Quality (ASQ): A global community of quality professionals, with nearly 80,000 members, dedicated to promoting and advancing quality tools, principles, and practices for the private sector, government, and academia.

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA): A statistical analysis of the variation between group means of factors or variables in a data set. It is used on two or more sample groups to determine whether there are any statistically significant differences within each factor.

Andon: A signal from a worker to management that there is a problem on the assembly line and that production needs stopped immediately so it can be corrected.

Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG): A non-profit organization that works to drive down costs and complexity from the automotive supply chain. Members include OEMs, suppliers, service providers, government entities, and individuals in academia.

Autonomation: A form of automation that inspects products and enables a machine to stop when it detects an anomaly, preventing production of defective products and eliminating overproduction.


Balanced Plant: Where the capacity at each manufacturing step is roughly equal to customer demand. Takt Time is the measurement most often used to determine if a manufacturing plant is balanced.

Balancing the Line: Setting a planned rate of production for necessary materials to be fabricated within a particular time frame. This production strategy reduces or eliminates the waiting time in the workstations of an assembly line that runs in one-piece flow.


CASCO: The ISO committee that works on issues relating to conformity assessment.

CE Marking: A symbol that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Certified Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Professional: An expert who implements, audits, and maintains a whole system per the requirements of governing laws, principles, and practices of pharmaceutical good manufacturing.

Certified Quality Auditor (CQA): An expert who understands the standards and principles of auditing and the auditing techniques of examining, questioning, evaluating, and reporting to determine a quality system’s adequacy and deficiencies.

Certified Quality Engineer (CQE): An engineer who is professionally educated in quality engineering and quality control and understands the principles of product and service quality evaluation and control.

Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA): An expert who has basic knowledge of quality tools and their uses for involvement in quality improvement projects, but doesn’t necessarily come from a traditional quality area.

Certified Quality Inspector (CQI): Formerly the Certified Mechanical Inspector certification, this expert evaluates hardware documentation, performs laboratory procedures, inspects products, measures process performance, records data, and prepares formal reports.

Certified Quality Process Analyst (CQPA): A paraprofessional who, in support of and under the direction of quality engineers or supervisors, analyzes and solves quality problems and is involved in quality improvement projects.

Certified Quality Technician (CQT): A paraprofessional who solves quality problems for process control

Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE): A certified professional who understands the principles of performance evaluation and prediction to improve product/systems safety, reliability, and maintainability.

Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB): An expert who can explain Six Sigma philosophies and principles, including supporting systems and tools. A Black Belt should demonstrate team leadership, understand team dynamics, and assign team member roles and responsibilities.

Certified Six Sigma Green Belt (CSSGB): A Green Belt successfully applies process improvement to businesses and organizations across all industries. CSSGBs are experts in identifying problems, analyzing data, and creating solutions to lower costs while improving quality.

Certified Supplier Quality Professional (CSQP): An expert who works with an organization’s supply chain and suppliers to continuously improve performance of key system components (increase lifecycle, reduce scrap, improve repair processes) by implementing process controls and developing quality assurance plans.

Change Management: Robust process to guarantee controls in place to maintain change process integrity, authorization, and traceability with process and documentation changes.

Changeover: In manufacturing, changeover is the process of converting a line or machine from running one product to another.

Changeover Time: Periods of time when equipment is unavailable due to part changes, material changes, or any other changes to production that must be performed while equipment is stopped.

Closed-Loop Corrective Action (CLCA): Engineering system used to analyze and document the cause of a problem or failure and propose, initiate, and record solutions and follow-up statistics.

Complaint Management: The process of logging, analyzing, reporting, and responding to customer criticisms, as well as determining whether a regulatory filing is required. Read more on our Evaluation Page.

Continuous Flow Production: A method in which items are produced and moved from one processing step to the next, one piece at a time. Sometimes referred to as one-piece flow, this tactic allows the right parts to be made available when they are needed and in the quantity they are needed.

Continuous Improvement (CI): An ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes whether it be an incremental improvement over time or a breakthrough improvement all at once.

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI): Creating an environment in which management and workers strive to create constantly improving quality to achieve customer satisfaction.

Corrective Action Management: The method of taking steps to address nonconformances in the production process.

Corrective Action Recommendation (CAR): Recommendation for an appropriate corrective action for an identified root cause of a manufacturing problem to eliminate the cause of a nonconformity and prevent recurrence.

Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA): A process of identifying the root cause of problems identified in the nonconformance process, as well as the definition of the initial issue correction, and finding a way to prevent future occurrences. Learn more.

Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ): Costs incurred as a result of poor-quality products or services, including the cost of lost opportunity due to the loss of resources used in rectifying the defect, labor cost, rework cost, disposition costs, and added materials costs.

Cost of Quality (COQ): The determination of the extent to which an organization’s resources are used for activities that prevent poor quality.

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP): Requires manufacturers to establish quality management systems, obtain high-quality raw materials, maintain reliable testing laboratories, and detect and investigate potential problems with product quality.


Document Control and Management: The process of tracking, maintaining version control of, and storing documents to ensure document integrity through approvals and change management. Document Control is also a key component of Training Compliance Management. Explore the offering on our Support Page.


Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS): End-to-end enterprise-wide quality management software, including full integration of applications that standardize and optimize production processes to help manufacturers optimize quality, minimize manufacturing interruption, and improve manufacturing margins as well as comply to industry requirements and regulations. Explore the QAD CEBOS suite of EQMS products.

Environmental Management System: Processes, practices, and tools that aids organizations in identifying and controlling the impact of its activities, products, and services on the environment.


5S: A system for organizing spaces so work can be performed efficiently and safely, resulting in a workplace that is clean, uncluttered, safe, and organized to help reduce waste and optimize productivity.

5 Whys: A technique involving repeatedly asking the question “Why” and answering each time to peel away the layers of symptoms to get to the root cause of a problem.

Failure mode analysis (FMA): Identifies possible failure points to build resiliency into the system, ideally performed in the architecture and design phases.

Failure mode effects analysis (FMEA): Method for evaluating the potential failure of a product or process and assessing risks, impacts, and effects.

Failure mode effects and criticality analysis (FMECA): FMECA extends FMEA by including a criticality analysis, which is used to chart the probability of failure modes and classify the severity of their consequences.


Gauge Management: Tracking and reporting the accuracy of a company’s gauge calibrations to guarantee inspection accuracy and reduce escaped defects. Read about QAD CEBOS Gauge Calibration and Management products on our Operations Page.

Good laboratory practices (GLP): Ensures quality of chemical testing in lab environments and assesses the safety of chemicals used as they affect man, animals, and environment.

Good manufacturing practices (GMP): Guidelines that provide the minimum requirements that a manufacturer must meet to assure that their products are consistently high quality.


Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Software: A solution that takes a preventative approach to food safety during the production process.


International Automotive Task Force (IATF) 16949: A technical specification defining the requirements of a Quality Management System for manufacturers involved in the automotive industry supply chain, including automotive production, service, and accessory parts. Take a deeper dive into the need for IATF standards in our blog.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standards: Worldwide process best practices for industrial and commercial production that are set by ISO, a global quality organization.

ISO 9000 series standards: Fundamental concepts and principles of quality management applicable to any industry, product, or service to help organizations document the quality system elements to be implemented to maintain an efficient quality system. Read our blog on ISO 9000 Standards.

ISO 9001: A set of standards for QMS that helps organizations ensure they meet customers’ and other stakeholders’ needs within the regulatory requirements of a product or service.

ISO 13485: Specifies the quality management system requirements for companies in the medical device manufacturing industry.

ISO 14000: Standard pertaining to how a company’s product is produced in relation to environmental impact and involves establishing an environmental management policy.

ISO 14001: A framework that an organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system, including audits, life cycle analysis, and addressing environmental challenges.

ISO 17025: Outlines the requirements a laboratory needs to meet to demonstrate competence in calibration and testing.

ISO 19011: A guideline for management systems auditing that includes guidance for managing an audit program and evaluating individuals responsible for managing the audit programs.

ISO 26000: Guidance that defines the core subjects of social responsibility and helps businesses and organizations translate principles into effective actions as related to society, the environment, and economic development.


Kano Model: a theory for product development and customer satisfaction that classifies customer preferences into five categories of quality requirements: mandatory, one-dimensional, attractive, indifferent, and reverse.


Layered Process Audit (LPA): A frequency and outcome-based proactive process-based method of conducting internal audits so companies can ensure that they are meeting quality management standards. Learn more about how QAD CEBOS supports LPAs.


Materials Management Operations Guidelines (MMOG): MMOG/LE defines a global set of industry best practices for supply chain management and allows an organization to assess their internal processes and implement, verify, and track the resulting improvement.

Material requirements planning (MRP): A computer-based inventory management system designed to improve productivity for businesses, used by companies to estimate quantities of raw materials and schedule deliveries.

MQ1: QAD CEBOS’ suite of enterprise-wide quality management software that automates business processes and integrates data.


New Product Introduction (NPI) or New Product Launch (NPL): Software that allows for the updating and revision of the product design, accelerating the design, development, and launch of a new or improved product while reducing costs and improving quality. Get the details on the QAD CEBOS approach to NPI. Watch our APQP webinar. 

Nonconformance Report (NCR): A document that records a problem with quality and the resulting corrective action that was taken, as well as steps taken to prevent the problem from happening again.


Production Part Approval Process (PPAP): A system put in place to ensure that suppliers produce quality products, particularly in the automotive manufacturing industry, and demonstrate good manufacturing practices (GMP). Check out the features of QAD CEBOS PPAP.

Process Adherence: A group demonstrates with evidence that they understand and follow standards for business processes that ensure quality and consistency.

Process Compliance: People in an organization follow governance and regulatory requirements.

Process Audit: Evaluating outcomes to determine if production processes are being managed effectively enough to ensure quality.


Quality Function Deployment (QFD): A structured method that determines the technical requirements for designing processes, products, and services that align with customer demands.

Quality Management (QM): Elements and requirements of a QMS to achieve objectives and prevent nonconformances by improving systems and procedures.

Quality Management Standards: Guidelines and requirements that ensure products consistently meet an expected level of quality based in ISO, AIAG, VDA MMOG/LE guidelines.

Quality Management System (QMS): A set of policies and procedures required for design, development, and production that ensure operational excellence and customer satisfaction. Explore the full range of QAD CEBOS QMS products.

Quality Plan: Defines objectives such as characteristics or specifications that constitute the operating practice or procedures of the organization relevant to the quality of a product, service, project, or contract.

Quality Process Compliance: Meeting the standards that external regulatory organizations set for product quality. Learn the steps to take to meet quality compliance in our blog.


Risk Management: Identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing potential problems and mitigating actions so processes can be put in place to prevent product nonconformity. Find out more about how QAD CEBOS helps clients with Risk Management.


7 Wastes: A key concept in Lean management to identify the 7 forms of waste and how they can be addressed within a facility to optimize resources and increase profitability. Areas include overproduction, excess motion, waiting, unnecessary processing, transportation, excess inventory, and defects.

Six Sigma: A method for improving processes to boost productivity and encourage consistency that was devised by engineer Bill Smith at Motorola and championed by Jack Welch at GE.

Software Validation Procedure: A method of ensuring that an application fits its purpose, reducing risk and liability for the developer.

Statistical Process Control (SPC): Using analytics to monitor and track the production process to ensure manufacturing within specification and identify issue trends to proactively improve quality and boost production. Get the details on QAD CEBOS SPC.

Supplier: Also called a vendor, a party that supplies goods or services, such as a contractor or subcontractor, that adds specialized input to deliverables.

Supplier Quality: A supplier’s ability to ensure purchased products meet a company’s needs and expectations.

Supplier Quality Assurance: Proactive processes implemented to ensure that a supplier reliably supplies goods or services that satisfy the customer’s needs and that offerings meet the agreed-upon requirements with minimum inspection or modification.

Supplier Quality Management: A system that ensures service or material suppliers consistently provide the highest quality products and services while also conforming to pre-established requirements, including regulatory compliance, production quality, and delivery performance.

Supply Chain: A network of individuals, organizations, and resources involved in the creation and sale of a product, from the delivery of source materials from the supplier to the manufacturer, through to distribution and sale.


Total Quality Management (TQM): A company-wide approach to operational excellence that promotes quality at every stage of product design and manufacturing. Read our blog on TQM in automotive manufacturing.

Training Compliance Management: Tracking employee training education and skills and awareness to ensure that production employees have the ongoing training required for manufacturing process optimization. See what QAD CEBOS has to offer for Training Management.