Statistical Process Control 101

Why Use SPC in Manufacturing?

Today’s consumers expect the best quality products at the lowest price. Why do manufacturers use SPC? Because statistical process control can help you meet both these demands.

By using statistical process control, manufacturers can move from a detection approach to a prevention approach, reducing or eliminating the need to rely on sorting or inspection. SPC can increase productivity, reduce waste, and reduce the risk of shipping nonconforming products.

Statistical Process Control Reduces Scrap

For many years, the term quality control meant inspecting to remove nonconforming products. Products are produced, then inspected to determine whether they are fit to be shipped to the customer. Products that aren’t acceptable are either scrapped or reworked. Sorting products is not only expensive—you’re basically paying one employee to make the product and another to make sure that the product is right—it’s also not very accurate. Studies have shown that 100% inspection is approximately 80% effective.

Statistical process control helps manufacturers escape this inefficient cycle. SPC leads to a system of preventing nonconforming product during the production process instead of waiting until products are complete to determine whether they are acceptable. This reduces waste, increases productivity, makes product quality more consistent, and reduces the risk of shipping non-conforming products.

When statistical process control is properly implemented, manufacturers foster an environment in which operators are empowered to make decisions about processes. In this way, processes—and product quality—can be continuously improved.

SPC is a powerful tool—but success depends on regular and proper application. Management must support its implementation through trust and education of employees and a commitment to supply the necessary resources.

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