Lean Consulting and Training


Statistical Tools for Quality and Process Control

The only thing we can be certain of in any process is variation. Variation can never be reduced to zero, however, we can be aggressive in reducing variation. We must be aggressive in reducing variation. Reduction of variation results in more reliable processes and more consistent quality. Unfortunately, many organizations still rely on assumptions. They often assume they know what the problem is but do not investigate using hard data.

The mistake is often made to demand that employees improve performance without first conducting process capability studies. Whereas utilizing simple statistical tools such as control charts we can clearly understand process capability and begin to identify improvement opportunities. Statistical process and quality control are the key to reducing variation.

Basic Statistical Tools

It would not be cost effective to teach all employees how to calculate control limits for control charts, but first line supervisors should be capable of doing so. First line supervisors should be given basic training in statistical tools. For example, they should be capable of constructing control charts, pictographs, and histograms. We should not, however, require that they endure extensive statistical training. They should only understand the basics. Engineers and quality assurance personnel, on the other hand, should be very knowledgeable in statistical tools.

Statistical Tools as Visual Controls

Hand in hand with the use of statistical process and quality control is the implementation of visual controls and visual management. One should be able, at any given time, to walk the floor and at a glance get an accurate picture of performance. Run charts are an excellent example. This also enables us to identify problems immediately.

Shop Floor Statistical Training

Our 2-phase training programs in statistical methods and controls are geared toward emphasizing the importance of these tools and enabling supervisors to use these tools. We also train employees to understand how to use these tools. For example, employees are taught to plot data on run charts and to use other simple tools. The employee training phase does not demand that they can work through complicated calculations. Teaching employees to use extensive statistical formulas would not be cost effective for your organization. We instead teach the basics. The benefit of this training is that all levels of the organization understand how variation affects performance and quality. Additionally, all levels of the organization focus efforts in reducing variation rather than attempting to treat "assumed" problems which are, in fact, only symptoms of deeper issues.

For information on our statistical process and quality control training program please contact us.



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