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Glossary ~P~

Within this glossary we define nearly 300 terms used in quality management. Some are taken from international standards, others are commonly understood English definitions and most we have derived from experience . Use the search engine in the header to search for the term you are looking for or simply click on the appropriate letter below.

Numbers A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U V W X Y Z

Passive behaviour - Behaviour of someone who offers no resistance and is likely to be lead by a more assertive person

Passive-aggressive behaviour - Someone who offers neither resistance nor co-operation

Periodic assessment - An assessment in which the quality system is subject to system maintenance monitoring between periods and complete re-assessment at the end of each period

Plan - Provisions made to achieve and objective

Plan, Do Check Act (PDCA) - A methodology for developing capable processes

Planned arrangements - All the arrangements made by the supplier to achieve the customerís requirements. They include the documented policies and procedures and the documents derived from such policies and procedures

Planning audit - An audit performed to verify that the organisationís plans or proposals for supplying a product or service would, if properly implemented result in product or service that complies with specified requirements. For more on auditing see Auditor Questions

Policy - A guide to thinking, action and decision. Policies can exist at any level in an organisation from corporate level to the lowest level where activities are performed

Policy audit - An audit performed to verify that the documented policies of an organisation promulgate the requirements of the market and the objectives of the business

Positive recall - A means of recovering an entity by giving it a unique identity

Positively identified - An identification given to an entity for a specific purpose that is both unique and readily visible

Potential nonconformity - A situation that if left alone will in time result in nonconformity

Predictive maintenance - Work scheduled to monitor machine condition, predict pending failure and make repairs on an as-needed basis

Pre-launch - A phase in the development of a product between design validation and full production (sometimes called pre-production) during which the production processes are validated

Prevent - To stop something from occurring by a deliberate planned action

Preventive action - Action proposed or taken to stop something from occurring. (see also ISO 9000 clause 3.6.4)

Preventive maintenance - Maintenance carried out at predetermined intervals to reduce the probability of failure or performance degradation; e.g. replacing oil filters ate defined intervals

Procedure - A sequence of steps to execute a routine activity or task. (see also ISO 9000 clause 3.4.5). Procedures prescribe how one should proceed in certain circumstances in order to produce a desired output. They only work were no judgment is necessary.  For more on the difference between procedures and processes see Converting a QMS using the Process Approach

Process - A set of interrelated activities, behaviours and resources that achieves a result. Also see Business Process. A managed process is a set of interrelated activities, behaviours and resources that achieves a desired result. For more on processes see A Guide to Process Management

Process approach - An approach to a subject that treats the objective of the subject as a result that is generated by a process. Therefore, if the subject is auditing the process approach to auditing would be an approach that treats the objective of the audit as a result (e.g. verification of conformity with some standard or other) and sets out to apply an effective process for achieving this result. A process approach to management would be an approach that treats the management objectives as results and sets out to apply an effective process for achieving those results.

The process approach is not simply converting inputs into outputs. Not all processes do this

Process audit - an examination of results to determine whether the activities, resources and behaviours that cause them are being managed efficiently and effectively. A process audit is not simply following a trail through a department from input to output - this is a transaction audit. Processes generate results therefore for an audit to be a process audit it has to establish whether the results are being generated by an effectively managed process.

Process capability - The ability of a process to maintain product characteristics within preset limits

Process description - A set of information that describes the characteristics of a process in terms of its purpose, objectives, design features, inputs, activities, resources, behaviours, outputs, constraints and the measurements undertaken to obtain data with which to manage the process

Process management - The planning, organization and control of those processes in a business that contribute to the delivery of business outputs

Process mapping - A method of describing processes by use of flow charts. The charts can be stacked in parent and child layers where each layer represents a flow chart of the activities and decisions between the interfaces associated with an activity or decision on the parent chart. For more on process mapping see Converting a QMS using the Process Approach

Process model - A model showing the key elements of process management

Process model

Process parameters - Those variables, boundaries or constants of a process that restrict or determine the results

Product - Anything produced by human effort, natural or Man made processes. Result of activities or processes (ISO 9000)

Product realization - All those processes and resources necessary to transform a set of requirements into a product or service that fulfil the requirements. For more on product realization see Quality System Handbook

Production - The creation of products

Project - A planned undertaking to achieve a specified result by a given date

Project phases - The distinct periods through which a project passes from its launch to completion. Each phase has a measurable objective with defined deliverables to judge completion.

Proprietary designs - Designs exclusively owned by the supplier and not sponsored by an external customer

Prototype - A model of a design that is both physically and functionally representative of the design standard for production and used to verify and validate the design

Purchaser - One who buys from another

Purchasing documents - Documents that contain the supplier's purchasing requirements


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Last amended 24/08/2013
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