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What is Statistical Process Control?

How does it work?

Statistical Process Control, or SPC, is a method used to monitor, control, and optimize manufacturing processes by analyzing performance data. To get the most from SPC, you need to understand how it works.

SPC helps organizations to achieve process stability, reduce variability, and achieve a higher sigma level (a measure of process capability). SPC enables this by identifying and eliminating the root causes of defects.

In other words, the data-driven SPC approach allows you to identify and rectify potential issues before they turn into costly problems. This is a valuable advantage for any size of manufacturing business – including small to mid-sized enterprises.

With SPC, you can easily collect data from your production line, then use statistical tools to identify patterns, trends, and variations and make informed process improvement decisions.

Imagine this simple example. You run a factory producing widgets. You’ve set a standard for the ideal weight of each widget, but you notice that some widgets come out slightly heavier or lighter than desired.

Implementing SPC lets you collect data on the weights of your widgets and analyze it using statistical techniques. If you discover a trend or pattern that deviates from your standard, you can identify the cause and make process adjustments to ensure a more consistent, high-quality output.

Boosting performance and efficiency with SPC

SPC significantly improves the performance and efficiency of your manufacturing processes.

Continually analyzing data and making adjustments helps you to minimize waste, reduce production time, and enhance product quality, leading to improved customer satisfaction.

The importance of SPC in modern manufacturing

Applying SPC is essential for modern manufacturing success. Some key advantages include:

  • Cost savings:
    SPC helps you to reduce waste and minimize production errors, leading to significant cost savings.
  • Improved quality:
    SPC helps you maintain high-quality output, resulting in fewer product defects and returns.
  • Increased efficiency:
    SPC identifies process inefficiencies, allowing you to implement improvements, streamline your operations, and increase productivity.
  • Enhanced decision-making:
    SPC provides you with the data-driven insights needed to make informed decisions about process changes and improvements.
  • Competitive advantage:
    Implementing SPC can give you an edge over competitors who may not be using these powerful tools to optimize their manufacturing processes.


SPC - past and future

When we talk about the history of Statistical Process Control (SPC), we must pay homage to the man who laid the foundation – Dr. Walter A. Shewhart

Shewhart’s brilliant mind developed the concept of SPC back in the 1920s with the creation of the control chart. This innovative method of analyzing manufacturing processes paved the way for the more sophisticated tools and techniques we use today.

But how does the tried-and-true SPC measure up against the cutting-edge technology of Artificial Intelligence?

SPC versus AI Both SPC and AI employ algorithms to analyze data and detect patterns. However, while SPC is designed for manufacturing processes, AI casts a wider net, offering a more flexible approach to pattern recognition across diverse applications.
Will AI ever replace SPC? It’s unlikely. In fact, SPC and AI can work hand-in-hand very well to optimize manufacturing processes. SPC lays the groundwork for effective process control. Once the foundation of SPC is firmly in place, AI can be introduced to further enhance pattern detection and process improvement.

Five SPC mistakes that you do not need to make


Get ahead of your peers and learn how to prevent the five
most common mistakes implementing SPC!