Customer-Focused Quality 155

This class describes quality products and strategies manufacturers can use to ensure quality. Manufacturers work with customers to develop and deliver products that meet the requirements of their intended use. Quality standards and approaches like total quality management and lean manufacturing help organizations produce quality products. While companies largely focus on quality assurance methods, quality control practices like inspection are also critical. Organizations can use statistical analysis to gain insights on their processes and products and use those insights to further improve quality.

After completing this course, users will be able to describe several important techniques used to ensure and improve quality work processes. Familiarity with these concepts is essential to efficiently produce products that meet expectations.

  • Difficulty Beginner

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 13

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Quality
  • Quality Standards
  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Inspection
  • Calibration
  • Metrology Errors
  • Quality and Inspection Review
  • Statistics
  • Statistical Process Control
  • Factor Analysis
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness
  • Troubleshooting
  • Final Review
  • Describe quality in manufacturing.
  • Describe quality standards and the organizations that produce them.
  • Describe lean manufacturing.
  • Describe inspection processes.
  • Describe calibration.
  • Describe possible errors that can impact metrology.
  • Describe the use of statistics in quality.
  • Describe statistical process control.
  • Describe factor analysis.
  • Describe overall equipment effectiveness.
  • Describe troubleshooting strategies.
Vocabulary Term

5 Why

A troubleshooting process that involves asking a series of "why" questions, usually five, in order to isolate the root cause of a problem. The 5 Why method can be incorporated into other troubleshooting techniques.


The difference between a measurement reading and the true value of the measured dimension. The smaller the difference, the greater the accuracy of the reading.


Artificial intelligence. A computer program with algorithms that enable a machine or computer to imitate intelligent human behavior. AI allows machines to perform a process with autonomy.

American National Standards Institute

ANSI. A private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates voluntary standards and systems in the United States. The American National Standards Institute produces nationally approved standards for the manufacturing industry.

American Society for Quality

ASQ. An organization that provides credentials to the global quality community. The American Society for Quality provides eighteen different certifications across quality professions.

artificial intelligence

AI. A computer program with algorithms that enable a machine or computer to imitate intelligent human behavior. Artificial intelligence allows machines to perform a process with autonomy.

ASTM International

An organization that publishes standards on a broad range of materials, products, and services. ASTM International produces standards relevant to many steel-producing industries.

attribute inspection

A type of inspection that uses a device with an established standard size to determine whether a part measurement falls within the acceptable tolerance range. Attribute inspection, also known as gaging, determines whether a part passes or fails inspection.


A number expressing the central or expected value within a set of values. The average of a set of values is equal to the sum of the values divided by the number of values in the set.


The comparison and adjustment of a device with unknown accuracy to a device with a known, accurate standard. Calibration eliminates any variation in the device being checked.

control charts

A graph used to show trends in data over a period of time. Control charts include upper and lower limits between which the process should perform.

correlation matrix

A chart that shows statistically significant relationships between process variables. Correlation matrices are useful for summarizing large datasets and showing patterns in the data.


A mutual relationship or connection between two or more things. Correlation occurs when data points on a chart are close enough to form a line.


Causing a chemical reaction that gradually deteriorates other substances through contact. Corrosive substances can damage or destroy metal workpieces.

customer service

Any activity that is designed to enhance customer experience with a product and provide the feeling that a company cares about meeting customer needs. Customer service can be ensured by integrating the customer in the production cycle and following up to ensure satisfaction after product delivery.

cycle time

The actual time it takes to perform a task and forward it to the next step. One of the major goals of lean is to match cycle time to the pace of customer demand.


A collection of numbers, facts, and information about a process or product. Data is used in many applications, such as tracking parts, assessing part quality, and modifying processes to maintain quality standards.

design of experiments

DOE. A statistically based method of factor analysis designed to reveal how each system input affects process outputs. Design of experiments typically involves changing multiple process variables at a time and measuring the results against previous results.

destructive testing

A category of inspection processes that evaluate a part's properties and performance using methods that lead to part failure. Destructive testing renders a part unusable.


A situation that is less than ideal but is temporarily acceptable. Deviations can lead to parts that do not meet specifications.


Any unproductive period of time during which machine operations cease. Downtime can be caused by maintenance issues or mechanical breakdown.


The ability to produce an intended result in a way that results in the least waste of time, effort, and resources. Ensuring efficiency is a major goal of total productive maintenance.

environmental errors

A type of systematic error that occurs when environmental factors impact the measurement. Environmental errors can be caused by a number of factors, including temperature, moisture level, dirt and debris, vibrations, and magnetic forces.


Any difference between a measured value and the true value. Errors should be eliminated from the measuring process.

excess inventory

The storage of more materials or parts than necessary. Excess inventory ties up company resources that could be better used elsewhere and takes up space.

factor analysis

A collection of methods used to examine how existing conditions influence the responses of measured variables. Factor analysis quantifies the extent to which variables are related to a given factor.


A hidden variable that affects the visible outcome of a process. Factors are not directly observable.

Five S

5S. A lean manufacturing technique that consists of five steps that promote organization and efficiency in the workplace. The Five S steps are sort, set in order, sweep, standardize, and sustain.

gage blocks

Hardened steel blocks that are manufactured with highly accurate dimensions. Gage blocks are available in a set of standardized lengths.


A type of inspection that uses a device with an established standard size to determine whether a part measurement falls within the acceptable tolerance range. Gaging, also known as attribute inspection, determines whether a part passes or fails inspection.

gross errors

A type of systematic error that is caused by human error. Gross errors may occur when data is recorded incorrectly.

IATF 16949:2016

A standard containing quality management system requirements for organizations that manufacture automotive parts and component systems for original equipment manufacturers. IATF 16949:2016 may also be referred to as the Automotive Quality Management System Standard.


The examination of a part during or after its creation to confirm that it adheres to specifications. Inspection allows manufacturers to identify and correct product defects.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

IEEE. An international organization composed of engineers, scientists, and students in the electrical field. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers sets standards for the electronics and computer industries.

instrumental errors

A type of systematic error that stems from either a faulty measuring instrument or poor calibration. Instrumental errors often occur as a result of misuse or neglect.

International Automotive Task Force

IATF. A group of automotive manufacturers and their respective associations that seeks to improve product quality throughout the automotive supply chain. Members of the International Automotive Task Force include automakers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

International Electrotechnical Commission

IEC. An international organization that prepares and publishes standards for electrical, electronic, and related technologies. The International Electrotechnical Commission develops standards that are used in Europe and other countries.

International Organization for Standardization

ISO. A non-governmental organization based in Switzerland that develops and publishes standards for its international membership base. The International Organization for Standardization establishes standards, rules, and guidelines that help ensure manufacturing processes and products are fit for their purposes.

ISO 9001:2015

The core standard of ISO 9000 that contains requirements used to verify the conformity of a quality management system. ISO 9001:2015 is titled "Quality Management Systems—Requirements" and presents the actual material to which a company is certified.

just-in-time production

An approach to production and distribution that emphasizes flexible processes and reduced inventories to decrease costs and improve responsiveness. With just-in-time production, materials and products are ready precisely when needed.

lean manufacturing

An approach to manufacturing that seeks to improve quality and productivity, reduce cost, and eliminate waste. Lean manufacturing helps to eliminate waste in all its forms.

lower control limit

LCL. A control limit on a control chart indicating the boundary for the minimum permissible value. The lower control limit helps identify if there is any significant decrease in variation or if the process is not meeting the desired standards.

measurement standard

A recognized true value. Calibration involves comparing measured values to a measurement standard.


The science of measurement. Metrology is an important part of inspection.


A hand-held measuring device used to inspect the dimensions of parts. The typical micrometer is accurate within 0.001 in. or 0.02 mm.

National Fire Protection Association

NFPA. A non-profit organization that maintains standards of public safety and fire prevention. The National Fire Protection Association publishes standards for electrical safety and installation.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that is required by law to maintain national standards. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness.


Variation resulting from random, normal differences that are expected and inevitable. Natural variation, also known as common cause variation, cannot be traced back to a single source.

nondestructive testing

A category of inspection processes that evaluate a part's properties and performance using methods that do not damage or permanently alter the part. Nondestructive testing methods include visual testing, liquid penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, eddy current testing, ultrasonic testing, and radiographic testing.

observational errors

A type of error that occurs when the measuring instrument provides a faulty reading or an individual is careless in taking measurements. Observational errors involve some degree of human participation.

overall equipment effectiveness

OEE. A lean metric that measures how effectively equipment is being used. Overall equipment effectiveness can be calculated by multiplying the number of defect-free parts a process produces by the ideal cycle time and dividing the result by the planned production time.


Putting effort into unnecessary tasks or failing to use the most efficient production methods. Overprocessing wastes resources and does not add value to the product.


Creating too many products in anticipation of customer demand. Overproduction leads to the creation of products that may not be used.


Equidistant at all points. Parallel lines do not intersect.

Pareto chart

A bar graph used to identify the causes of problems that occur most frequently by distinguishing a problem's major factors from its minor factors. Pareto charts support the Pareto principle, which states that for most events, approximately 80% of the effects result from 20% of the causes.


The degree to which an instrument will repeat the same measurement over a period of time. Precision is also called repeatability.

predictive maintenance

A maintenance approach that involves collecting data in order to anticipate and correct potential issues before they arise. A predictive maintenance approach involves performing maintenance before failures occur to prevent unscheduled downtime and reduce the labor, cost, and time needed for repairs.


The likelihood that a particular event will happen in the future. Probability can be expressed as a fraction, ratio, or percentage.


A situation that is unacceptable and must be corrected. Problems must be corrected, usually as soon as possible.

process capability analysis

A method used to determine whether a process is able to produce acceptable parts. Process capability analysis compares the results of statistical process control to process specifications to determine if processes are successful.

product defects

An imperfection in a part that prevents it from operating correctly. Product defects waste company resources and can hurt a company's reputation if they reach the customer.


Satisfying customer requirements. Quality products conform to specifications, are free of defects, and meet the requirements of their anticipated use.

quality assurance

QA. A system of managing product quality by regulating the quality of materials, processes, and components. Quality assurance is a proactive approach to ensuring product quality.

quality control

QC. A system of managing quality by inspecting finished products to make sure they meet specifications. Quality control relies on error detection and correction.

quality management systems

QMSs. The collection of objectives and processes designed to focus a company toward quality and customer satisfaction. Quality management systems are regulated by the ISO 9001:2015 standard.

quality standards

A document that outlines requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics that can be used to ensure materials, products, processes, and services are fit for their purpose. Quality standards ensure consistency across organizations.


Measuring an amount or number. Quantitative data typically includes anything that can be counted or measured numerically.

R chart

A control chart used to track sample ranges over time. R charts are usually used with X-bar charts to track variable data.

random errors

A type of error that occurs irregularly due to unpredictable or uncontrollable events. Random errors may be minimized by taking repeated measurements to find an average measurement.


The difference between the smallest and largest values in a numerical set. Range shows the amount of variation in a dataset.


How stable a process or product is. Reliability increases the probability that a product will meet a consumer's demands repeatedly during its life cycle.

root cause

The underlying cause of a problem. It is important to identify the root cause of a problem before taking corrective action.


The practice of randomly selecting a predetermined number of representative items from a dataset for analysis. Sampling provides a more manageable dataset.


A device that detects and conveys information that can be measured or recorded. Sensors allow devices to interact with their environment and monitor operations.

set in order

The step in Five S that involves organizing the workplace to ensure easy access and optimal efficiency. Set in order is the second step in the Five S approach.

smart technology

A computing technology that can send and receive data without human intervention. Smart technology generally requires internet connectivity to enable data processing.

Society of Automotive Engineers

SAE. An organization that writes specifications and other data used in automotive industries. The standards put forth by the Society of Automotive Engineers are widely used for testing, measuring, and designing automobiles and their components.


The step in Five S that involves separating unnecessary materials from required materials in the workplace to eliminate clutter and create additional space. Sort is the first step in the Five S approach.


A description of the essential physical and technical properties of a part or product. Specifications outline important information, including finished part dimensions and how the part must respond to forces acting upon it.

standard deviation

A number representing the degree of variation within a numerical set. The lower the standard deviation, the less variation appears in the dataset.


The step in Five S that involves documenting and implementing methods to maintain a clean, safe, and organized workspace. Standardize is the fourth step in the Five S approach.

statistical analysis

The process of collecting and analyzing large amounts of data in order to identify trends and develop insights. Statistical analysis can be utilized to improve performance and determine strategies to better meet customer demands.

statistical process control

SPC. The use of statistics and control charts to measure key quality characteristics and control how related processes behave. Statistical process control helps to identify problems before they can escalate.


The science of collecting, summarizing, and analyzing numerical data. Statistics is a highly specialized field necessary for determining how a part will behave under certain conditions.


The step in Five S that involves implementing programs and procedures to ensure the Five S steps continue to occur over time. Sustain is the fifth step in the Five S approach.


The step in Five S that involves cleaning and inspecting all areas of the work environment. Sweep is the third step in the Five S approach.

systematic errors

A type of error that causes a measurement to vary in a predictable way. Systematic errors are categorized as observational, environmental, or instrumental errors.


An acceptable deviation from a specified dimension that will still allow a part to perform its desired function. Tolerances indicate the allowable difference between a physical feature and its intended design.

total cost of ownership

TCO. An estimate of all the direct and indirect expenses associated with an operation. Total cost of ownership helps assess the value of an investment over time.

total productive maintenance

TPM. A comprehensive maintenance approach that focuses on continuous attention to the condition of production machinery and facilities. The main goal of total productive maintenance is to maximize equipment usefulness in order to increase production and reduce waste.

total quality management

TQM. An administrative approach to managing an organization that focuses on maximizing customer satisfaction to achieve long-term success. Under total quality management, all members of an organization work together to continuously improve quality.


A systematic approach to solving problems quickly and efficiently. Troubleshooting often involves a logical process of elimination to identify the source of a problem.

Underwriters Laboratories

UL. A testing organization that is dedicated to ensuring the safety of electrical products. Underwriters Laboratories writes standards that are used internationally.


Variation that causes an undesirable, fundamental change in a process. Unnatural variation, also known as special cause variation, can be traced back to a single source.

unnecessary motion

Increased movement in search of tools or parts due to a poorly structured work environment. Unnecessary motion takes away from time spent doing valuable work.

unnecessary transport

Any effort made to move products from one location to another that is not required. Unnecessary transport may lead to product damage.

upper control limit

UCL. A control limit on a control chart indicating the boundary for the maximum permissible value. The upper control limit helps identify if there is any significant increase in variation or a potential issue that needs investigation.

variable inspection

A type of inspection that reveals a measurement's degree of variation from a given standard. Variable inspection gives the actual measurement of a part feature that can be compared with its specifications.


The degree of deviation between one measurement result and the next when the same object is measured. Variation is an unavoidable occurrence.


Time spent while products or employees remain idle. Waiting does not add value for the customer.


Any element of the manufacturing process that does not add value to a product. The goal of lean manufacturing is to eliminate waste.


A specialized grouping of people, machines, and materials. Workcells are designed to efficiently produce small batches of parts.

X-bar chart

A control chart used to track a series of sample averages. X-bar charts are usually used with R charts to track variable data.