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Glossary - B

Baka-yoke - A Japanese term for a manufacturing technique for preventing mistakes by designing the manufacturing process, equipment and tools so an operation literally cannot be performed incorrectly. In addition to preventing incorrect operation, the technique usually provides a warning signal of some sort for incorrect performance. Also see “poka-yoke.”

Balanced Plant - A plant in which the capacity of all resources is balanced exactly with market demand.

Balanced Production - When a manufacturing system/entity produces "exactly" (+ or -) what their customers demand it is said to be "in balance" Usually a Takt Time is the measurement most often used to determine if a manufacturing plant is "balanced."

Balanced Scorecard
- A suggested tool to describe the relevant measures of a business, usually in the following categories: financial, or return on investment and economic value-added; customer, or satisfaction, retention, market and account share; internal, or response time, cost, and new product introductions; and learning and growth, or employee satisfaction and information system availability. OR A management system that provides feedback on both internal business processes and external outcomes to continuously improve strategic performance and results.

Balancing the Line - The process of evenly distributing both the quantity and variety of work across available work time, avoiding overburden and under use of resources. This eliminates bottlenecks and downtime, which translates into shorter flow time.

Baldrige Award
- A national award established in 1988 [named for Malcolm Baldrige, former secretary of commerce] for the purpose of recognizing and promoting outstanding corporate [for-profit companies] efforts to improve quality and productivity. The Baldrige award guidelines are sometimes used as a checklist or framework for developing and implementing a plan for total quality or, for assessing organizational progress toward total quality. Some concerns and criticisms of the award include: a) it creates winners and losers by being limited to one company in each category, b) apparent emphasis on results over methods, c) insistence on "benchmarking" without accompanying instruction and cautionary information on the inherent risks in that practice.

- Term used to depict states’ quality award pro-grams using the same criteria as the Malcolm Baldrige national quality award but with a simplified process or application.

Baldrige-Qualified -
 Term used by firms that have been granted a site visit by the judges in the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award competition.

Bar Chart - A bar chart is a graphical comparison of several quantities in which the lengths of the horizontal or vertical bars represent the relative magnitude of the values.

Baseline Measurement - The beginning point, based on an evaluation of output over a period of time, used to determine the process parameters prior to any improvement effort; the basis against which change is measured.

Basic Events - Term used in fault tree analysis. Basic events are initiating faults that do not require events below them to show how they occurred. The symbol used for a basic event is a circle.

Basic Prototype - Nonworking mock-up of a product that can be reviewed by customers prior to acceptance.

Basic Seven (B7) Tools of Quality - These are the fundamental methods for gathering and analyzing quality-related data. They are: fishbone diagrams, histograms, Pareto analysis, flowcharts, scatter plots, run charts, and control charts.

- See lot

Batch and Queue -
Producing more than one piece and then moving the pieces to the next operation before they are needed.

Batch Manufacturing (a.k.a. "Batch Processing") - Producing lots or quantities of a product in order to achieve maximum "Economic Order Quantities" (EOQ).

Bathtub-Shaped Hazard Function - Reliability model that shows that products are more likely to fail either very early in their useful life or very late in their useful life.

Bayes' Rule
- Expresses the conditional probability of the event a given the event b in terms of the conditional probability of the event b given the event a: p(a|b) = p(b|a) _p(a)/( p(b|a)_p(a) + p(b|ac) _p(ac) )

Bayes’ Theorem -
A formula to calculate conditional probabilities by relating the conditional and marginal probability distributions of random variables.

Bell curve - Another term for the shape formed by a normal distribution when drawn as a histogram.

Benchmark - An organization that is recognized for its exemplary operational performance in one or more areas and is willing to allow others to view its operations and tour its facilities.

- (1)The process of finding a company that is superior in a particular area, studying what it does, and gathering ideas for improving your own operation in that area. (2) Identifying an organization that appears to do something well and copying or adapting its methods. Studying how well competitors are meeting customer needs or what other organizations appear to do well can be beneficial, providing management is aware that transferring a method from one set of circumstances to another will not necessarily produce the same results. It is important to have a theory as to why a method or system works and the conditions needed for its success. OR Benchmarking is a tool to help you improve your business processes. Any business process can be benchmarked. It is the process of identifying, understanding, and adapting outstanding practices from organizations anywhere in the world to help your organization improve its performance Benchmarking is a highly respected practice in the business world. It is an activity that looks outward to find best practice and high performance and then measures actual business operations against those goals. Methods include tracking metrics like On-time Delivery, Defective Parts Per Million produced, wages paid, market share growth and projections, etc.

Benefit-Cost Analysis -
An examination of the relationship between the monetary cost of implementing an improvement and the monetary value of the benefits achieved by the improvement, both within the same time period.

Best Practice -
A superior method or innovative practice that contributes to the improved performance of an organization, usually recognized as best by other peer organizations. OR A best practice is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result. A commitment to using the best practices in any field is a commitment to using all the knowledge and technology at one's disposal to ensure success.

Best-In-Class -
 Term used to refer to firms or organizations that are viewed as the best in an industry on some meaningful criterion.

- Term used to refer to outstanding world benchmark firms.

- (1) A measurement procedure or estimator is said to be biased if, on the average, it gives an answer that differs from the truth. The bias is the average (expected) difference between the measurement and the truth. (2) Something that influences the selection of certain items when collecting a sample.

Big Q, little q -
A term used to contrast the difference between managing for quality in all business processes and products (big Q) and managing for quality in a limited capacity—traditionally only in factory products and processes (little q).

Bimodal Distribution
- (1) A distribution with two identifiable curves within it, indicating a mixing of two populations such as different shifts, machines, workers, etc. OR A random variable has a binomial distribution (with parameters n and p) if it is the number of "successes" in a fixed number n of independent random trials, all of which have the same probability p of resulting in "success." Under these assumptions, the probability of k successes (and n-k failures) is nck pk(1-p)n-k, where nck is the number of combinations of n objects taken k at a time: nck = n!/(K!(N-k)!). The expected value of a random variable with the binomial distribution is n_p, and the standard error of a random variable with the binomial distribution is (n_p_(1 ] - p)). (2) A distribution that has two modes. Drawn as a histogram, this condition is reflected by two peaks or high points.

Black Belt (BB) -
Full-time team leader responsible for implementing process improvement projects—define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) or define, measure, analyze, design and verify (DMADV)—within a business to drive up customer satisfaction and productivity levels.

Blemish - An imperfection severe enough to be noticed but that should not cause any real impairment with respect to intended normal or reasonably foreseeable use. Also see “defect,” “imperfection” and “nonconformity.”

Block Diagram - A diagram that shows the operation, interrelationships and interdependencies of components in a system. Boxes, or blocks (hence the name), represent the components; connecting lines between the blocks represent interfaces. There are two types of block diagrams: a functional block diagram, which shows a system’s subsystems and lower level products and their interrelationships and which interfaces with other systems; and a reliability block diagram, which is similar to the functional block diagram but is modified to emphasize those aspects influencing reliability.

Board of Standards Review (BSR) - An American National Standards Institute board responsible for the approval and withdrawal of American National Standards.

Body of knowledge (BOK) - The prescribed aggregation of knowledge in a particular area an individual is expected to have mastered to be considered or certified as a practitioner.

Bottleneck - The slowest operation (choke point) in a manufacturing process. Do not confuse this with a company's "Constraint" taken from TOC (Theory of Constraints), which is the slowest operation in an entire manufacturing system that, if remedied, would increase overall company throughput.

Bottom line - The essential or salient point; the primary or most important consideration. Also, the line at the bottom of a financial report that shows the net profit or loss.

- A method for getting ideas from a group of people in which ideas are offered and recorded without any judgment of the quality of the idea in order to stimulate one idea with another. After the group has run out of ideas, then some method such as "multi-voting" or "nominal group technique" is used to organize and prioritize the ideas collected. OR A technique teams use to generate ideas on a particular subject. Each person on the team is asked to think creatively and write down as many ideas as possible. The ideas are not discussed or reviewed until after the brainstorming session.

Breakthrough Improvement -
A dynamic, decisive movement to a new, higher level of performance.

Bump-Back - Helping the person(s) before or after another person in a manufacturing cell or system.

Business Process Reengineering - The fundamental analysis and radical re-design of business processes, human and technological environments, by a visionary group to achieve dramatic performance improvements in customer satisfaction and probability, with emphasis on changes in cost, quality service and speed.

Business Value Added - A step or change made to the product, which is necessary for future or subsequent steps but is not noticed by the final customer.

By What Method?
- Goals set for any organization or system without an explicit method for achieving them are evidence of failure to understand the system of profound knowledge. "If you have a stable system, then there is no use to specify a goal. You will get whatever the system will deliver. A goal beyond the capability of the system cannot be reached. If you have not a stable system, then there is again no point in setting a goal. There is no way to know what the system will produce: it has no [predictable] capability." (Deming: chapter 2, out of the crisis) it is management's job to change and improve the system. Others would say that if the system is not capable of achieving the goal, the goal might be met temporarily, but only with unexpected damage in other dimensions of organizational performance, either in the short term or the long term.