Douglas C. Fair is vice president of statistical applications for InfinityQS International Inc. (Chantilly, VA). For more information, call (703) 961-0200, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.infinityqs.com.
Imagine applying an EKG to a company’s most critical manufacturing processes. What if electrodes could be attached to an assembly line, or to the fill heads of a bottling process? Doing so would allow manufacturers to assess machine health, know when it is “sick” and prevent potentially expensive problems. This technology is available for manufacturers today, and it is called statistical process control (SPC).
Product defects are a given in manufacturing. Unfortunately, no manufacturing process is so refined that it produces perfect parts on every run. For quality professionals, the goal is to identify which processes are working properly and those that are creating quality issues. Whether it is a package of candy, a toy, an appliance or an automobile, manufacturers need to know exactly what customers are receiving when they put their faith in the brand and make a purchase.