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Glossary - K

Kaizen - A Japanese term meaning continual improvement involving everyone. Said by some, to be one of the most important concepts in "Japanese management", it is working each and every day to make improvements in the processes of the organization. Such incremental, but continuous improvement may reap great gains over time. It is contrasted with the western world's pattern of relying on major "breakthrough" to gain needed improvement. The term was used by Masakai Imai. OR A Japanese term that means gradual unending improvement by doing little things better and setting and achieving increasingly higher standards. Masaaki Imai made the term famous in his book, Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success.

Kaizen Event
(or Kaizen Blitz) - A kaizen event occurs when an operation team works together to improve a specific operation. It typically involves a detailed description of the current state of the selected operation, developing the kaizen plan for improvement, implementing the plan, following-up to confirm that the plan was carried out fully and correctly, and reporting to management on the event and its accomplishments.

KanBan -
(1) A "self-evident signals" that indicate what work is to be done and when. (2) A Japanese term for one of the primary tools of a justin- time system. It maintains an orderly and efficient flow of materials throughout the entire manufacturing process. It is usually a printed card that contains specific information such as part name, description and quantity. (3) Pulling a product through the production process. This method of manufacturing process-flow-control only allows movement of material by pulling from a preceding process. Inventory is kept low. Then quality errors are detected, there is less product affected.

KCC - Key Control Characteristic (process related)

Key Business Factors
aka KBF - Those measures or indicators that are significantly related to the business success of a particular firm.

Key Performance Indicator
- See KPI

Key performance Indicator (KPI) -
A statistical measure of how well an organization is doing in a particular area. A KPI could measure a company’s financial performance or how it is holding up against customer requirements.

Key Process Characteristic -
A process parameter that can affect safety or compliance with regulations, fit, function, performance or subsequent processing of product.

Key Process Input Variable
aka KPIV - Factors within a process correlated to an output characteristic(s) important to the internal or external customer. Optimizing and controlling these is vital to the improvement of the KPOV.

Key Process Output Variable
aka KPOV - Characteristic(s) of output of a process that are important to the customer. Understanding what is important to the internal and external customer is essential to identifying KPOV.

Key Process -
A major system level process that supports the mission and satisfies major consumer requirements.

Key Product Characteristic -
A product characteristic that can affect safety or compliance with regulations, fit, function, performance or subsequent processing of product.

Key Results Area -
Customer requirements that are critical for the organization’s success.

Kitting -
A process in which assemblers are supplied with kits—a box of parts, fittings and tools—for each task they perform. This eliminates time consuming trips from one parts bin, tool crib or supply center to another to get necessary materials.

KJ Method
- See Affinity Diagram

Knowledge Work
- Jobs that consist primarily of working with information.

Knowledge-Growth Systems
- A compensation system that increases an employee’s pay as he or she establishes competencies at different levels relating to job knowledge in a single job classification.

  Key Product Characteristic usually found on Engineering drawing.

- Key Performance Indicator

Kruskal-Wallis test -
A nonparametric test to compare three or more samples. It tests the null hypothesis that all populations have identical distribution functions against the alternative hypothesis that at least one of the samples differs only with respect to location (median), if at all. It is the analogue to the F-test used in analysis of variance. While analysis of variance tests depend on the assumption that all populations under comparison are normally distributed, the Kruskal-Wallis test places no such restriction on the comparison.

Kurtosis - Is a statistic that is used to measure the "flatness" or "peakedness" of a set a of data. It represents a measure of the combined weight of the tails relative to the rest of a distribution. As the tails of a distribution become heavier, the kurtosis will increase. As the tails become lighter, the kurtosis value will decrease.