STATISTICAL PROCESS CONTROL

STATISTICAL PROCESS CONTROL - PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE IN THE...

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Part 4: Flowcharts S. Leavengood and J. Reeb EM 8772 January 2002 $2.50 PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE IN THE WOOD PRODUCTS INDUSTRY Part 1 in this series introduced the reader to Statistical Process Control, and Part 2 provided an overview of how and why SPC works. Part 3 began the step-by-step process of building the practical skills necessary for hands-on implementation of SPC. It discussed Pareto analysis, a tool to help decide where to focus initial efforts. Part 4 discusses flowcharts. Part 5 in the series will continue building implemen- tation skills by discussing cause-and-effect diagrams. Future publications in the series will discuss case histories of wood products firms using SPC, providing real- world evidence of the benefits of SPC and examining pitfalls and successful approaches. What’s the next step in implementing SPC? After achieving top management’s commitment to using SPC, the next step in beginning an SPC program is to determine where to focus initial efforts to get the “biggest bang for the buck.” In Part 3, we presented Pareto analysis as a tool to locate the primary causes of nonconformities and therefore where to focus initial efforts. Now we need to know which specific activities in the process cause the nonconformity and which quality characteristic(s) to monitor. An example will help to clarify the above discussion and the objective of this report. The Pareto analysis conducted in Part 3 of this series revealed “size out-of- specification” as the major nonconformity, from the standpoint of both frequency and relative cost to scrap or rework. We now need to know: The specific step or steps in the process (e.g., dry kilns, rip and chop, moulding) responsible for causing size out-of-specification The quality characteristic (e.g., moisture content, width, thickness, motor amps, or proportion of nonconforming parts) to measure Cause-and-effect diagrams are commonly used to identify specific activities responsible for causing nonconformities. However, we have chosen to discuss flowcharts first, postponing a discussion of cause-and effect diagrams until Part 5 in Scott Leavengood, Extension wood products, Washington County; and James E. Reeb, Extension forest products manufacturing specialist; Oregon State University.
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2 S TATISTICAL P ROCESS C ONTROL this series. Our choice is based on the fact that flowcharts have been found to be valuable tools for initiating discussion during cause-and-effect analysis and for ensuring that everyone under- stands and agrees on what really happens—rather than what’s supposed to happen—in the manufacturing process. Flowcharts Flowcharts graphically represent the steps in creating a product or service. The process of creating a chart is often beneficial because personnel may be unaware of all the “nitty-gritty” details involved in producing the product. Also, people often are surprised to learn of the differences between the ideal process flow and what actually occurs in the mill. This is particularly true when the team
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