Analyzing Variable SPC Data to Save on Raw Materials




A paper products manufacturer in the United Kingdom wanted to reduce costs, but wasn’t sure where to find savings opportunities. The company produces wet wipes for retail and private-label companies, taking in raw materials in the form of the chemicals used to produce cleaning fluid and rolls of paper towel (known as “substrate”). Line operators measure only the size and weight of finished products but collect no data about raw material use or process efficiency, which limits opportunities for data analysis.

Proposed Solution
The company thought it was doing all it could to manage costs. Then they contacted InfinityQS®. We worked with the manufacturer’s quality manager to examine the company’s current processes and business goals. We suggested that by installing our Statistical Process Control (SPC) quality solution, ProFicient™, the manufacturer could immediately begin collecting more extensive SPC data. More kinds of data from more sources would allow management to better analyze its operation and reveal ways to reduce costs.

ProFicient enables the collection of SPC data from any source—either automatically or manually—and in any format, and then centralizes that data so that it’s available for real-time analysis. This flexibility is particularly helpful for the company because operators had been using a combination of manual data collection (e.g., bar code scanning) and measurement from electronic calipers and Vernier gauges.

With ProFicient SPC software, the manufacturer began collecting:

  • microbiology and chemistry variable data;
  • attribute data (yes/no checks); and
  • the amount of substrate and chemical that came in and went out.

With all the new SPC data ProFicient is collecting, the quality manager is able to determine with much greater precision where the manufacturer can realize savings.

For example, the substrate that comes in as raw material expands during the production process. By knowing precisely the amount of substrate and chemical solution that goes into the product relative to the finished product, the company managed to reduce the amount of raw material it needed, thereby reducing costs.

Managers at this manufacturer are excited about the possibilities ProFicient affords, and we’re working with them to expand their use of ProFicient even further.