Exact statement of the particular needs to be satisfied, or essential characteristics that a customer requires (in a good, material, method, process, service, system, or work) and which a vendor must deliver. Specifications are written usually in a manner that enables both parties (and/or an independent certifier) to measure the degree of conformance. They are, however, not the same as control limits (which allow fluctuations within a range), and conformance to them does not necessarily mean quality (which is a predictable degree of dependability and uniformity). Specifications are divided generally into two main categories: (1) Performance specifications: conform to known customer requirements such as keeping a room's temperature within a specified range. (2) Technical specifications: express the level of performance of the individual units, and are subdivided into (a) individual unit specifications which state boundaries (parameters) of the unit's performance consisting of a nominal (desired or mandated) value and tolerance (allowable departure from the nominal value, (b) acceptable quality level which states limits that are to be satisfied by most of the units, but a certain percentage of the units is allowed to exceed those limits, and (c) distribution specifications which define an acceptable statistical distribution (in terms of mean deviation and standard Deviation) for each unit, and are used by a producer to monitor its production processes. See also standard.
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