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Statistical Process Control

Statistical Process Control

"Properly applied, S.P.C. is virtually foolproof. It is simple to use, involves little or no complicated mathematics, and almost guarantees to pay for itself in saved effort." (Wilson) Definition Outputs from a manufacturing process will vary - perhaps minutely - from the exact specification, and deliveries from a service will differ in quality and substance. These inconsistencies in quality require constant monitoring to see if they are random, regular, haphazard, important, or evidence of a problem. The monitoring and controlling should be applied to the process not the product, and can be greatly facilitated by S.P.C.

Process control means controlling production by checking its quality while the work is still in process. Implementing S.P.C. means applying statistical techniques and analysis to that control function. As S.P.C. is about measuring the quality of work in process, its implementation is usually allied to techniques related to quality systems management.

Advantages of implementing S.P.C.

Chaudhry and Higbie report the following benefits from applying S.P.C. in a chemical plant: •improved production efficiency •a more consistent product •greater reliability - shifting control efforts from product to process •greater ease in pinpointing problem occurrences •provision of a usable measure of performance •clearer communication of objectives •improved customer relations.

Disadvantages of implementing S.P.C.

S.P.C. can take time to apply rigorously but applications do show that there are few, if any, disadvantages to S.P.C. Its application must remain relevant and useful, rather than becoming a system 'for its own sake.' Action checklist 1. Plan the programme and communicate organization-wide Firstly, you need to get the overall project context right with those over-arching elements essential to all successful change programmes: •securing proactive and continuous top management commitment •appointing the right project leader and obtaining the right expertise •establishing flexible time-frames and broad resource requirements •communicating regularly with the implementation teams and with everyone else who has involvement •preparing an effective and continuous training programme.

Secondly, you need to adopt a specific operational plan or process to follow, such as: •locate the process to be tackled •research the extent of the problem to be controlled •specify objectives, and resources, data and training needed •select the appropriate technique(s) to control the problem •plan the equipment, materials and expertise for the technique(s) chosen •ensure the steps of the techniques will be adhered to identify possible causes of the problem test possible solutions.

2. Identify which tools and techniques may be the most appropriate There is a tool...

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