Sunday, April 22, 2012

Continuous Process Improvement and SPC

Buzzwords are aplenty in this line of work: Lean manufacturing, lean six sigma, value stream mapping, business process management, Class A. But at the end of the day, we're talking about exactly one thing: continuous process improvement:

How to get your manufacturing processes (as well as your business process) to be better each day.

shewhartAnd to that, I say: "Pick your weapon and let's get to work." For me, I prefer statistical process control because SPC was invented in the days before continuous process improvement collided with information technology.

Back in those days, things had to be done by hand, concepts had to be boiled down in simple terms: special cause vs. common cause variability could simplify what was going on and clarify decision making. And having just Excel spreadsheets is a vast technological improvement to paper and pencil. In those days, there was no time for complexity of words and thought.

If we say words from the slower days of yesteryear, but use tools from today, we can solve a lot of problems and make a lot of good decisions.

Companies like Zymergi are third-party consultants who can help develop your in-house continuous process improvement strategy; especially for cell culture and fermentation companies. We focus applying statistical process control as well as knowledge management so that once we reduce process variability and increase reliability.

The technology is there to institutionalize the tribal knowledge so that when people leave, your high-paid consultants leave, the continuous process improvement know-how stays.

We use SPC and statistical analysis because it has been proven by others and it is proven by us. Data-driven decisions deliver real results.

7 Tools of SPC

  1. Control Charts
  2. Histograms
  3. Correlations
  4. Ishikawa Diagrams
  5. Run Charts
  6. Process Flow Diagrams
  7. Pareto Charts

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