No matter what line of business you are in—from retail to hospitality to technology to finance—it’s imperative to prevent business problems before they occur. That can mean something as important as avoiding the loss of one of your customers to poor customer service or as critical as preventing a botched manufacturing job on one of your flagship offerings.
Thankfully, there are enhanced methods that companies can employ to assure manufacturing quality control—such as statistical process control (SPC), a scientific, data-driven method for quality analysis and improvement that enables you to prevent problems from occurring.
One such example is creating control charts—visual diagrams that track shop floor processes and detect issues, variances, and defects in real time. SPC software solutions provide additional benefits for manufacturers by producing visual information in the form of control charts that reveal abnormalities in manufacturing processes.
In addition to providing actionable information for correcting issues in real-time, SPC-based control charts also reveal information that supports better, data-driven decision making across all levels of the manufacturing organization.
1. Real-time SPC helps reduce the margin of error
Because control charts reveal what’s going on in a manufacturing line in real time, they enable operators to detect and correct issues before they cause deeper problems in processes and products. This greatly reduces the need for product rework or additional product expenditures to fix an offering.
“Control charts serve as the early warning detection system in your real-time monitoring software, telling you that now is the time to go in and make a change,” says Steve Wise, Vice President of Statistical Methods for InfinityQS. “That way, you don’t finish the whole run only to find out that you should have made adjustments three hours ago and now have to eat the costs associated with this problem.”
2. Visibility into quality data prevents over-tampering
It is just as important to know when your process is running smoothly as it is to know when something is wrong. Specifically, when trying to detect whether a problem exists, operators can quite frequently over-tamper with a process that was running correctly, which can lead to more variances.
After analyzing a control chart, operators need to determine whether to “do something” (adjust a behavior in the process) or “do nothing” (let the process run as is). Often, learning that they can do nothing prevents operators from over-tampering with their processes.
3. Control charts provide operational insight for critical stakeholders
From operators and engineers to managers and executives, control charts offer a variety of information for all the key stakeholders involved in the creation of a manufactured product.
When control charts draw SPC-based data from a centralized, unified data repository, they can bring together data in ways that provide actionable insights into whether a process needs to be amended. Aggregated data can help an engineer improve a process. And more sophisticated box and whisker and Pareto charts offer managers a holistic view of the entire plant floor—or even across multiple plants.
Control charts solve a critical need for a variety of groups tasked with manufacturing quality control, enabling them to make decisions based on concrete numbers rather than assumptions.
4. Data accessibility and visibility levels the playing field
Without access to data, operators, engineers, and managers may evolve their skills and methods based on opinions and “instinct.” Although many experienced manufacturing workers have good instincts, control charts will likely validate what they have always known to be true.
However, not everyone is “an expert at reading the tea leaves of their processes,” says Wise. Therefore, he says, control charts “give the novices and the new people instantaneous access to the same information and skills.”
Control charts not only level the playing field but also validate the truth of what people have known and dispel myths about processes. When everyone has access to the same data and is on the same page, decision making is better across the organization. Manufacturing intelligence through process control software will set you apart from your competitors and ease manufacturing challenges.
When it comes to manufacturing intelligence, too much information is never a bad thing. After all, gaining real-time insights into your manufacturing quality control processes is paramount as it can be just the thing to prevent you from incurring unexpected costs that result from process breakdowns and product quality issues.
InfinityQS solutions offer more than 300 control charts to help your teams see and take action on the data that matters most. Learn more in our Definitive Guide to SPC Charts.