In addition to reducing waste, SPC often leads to a reduction in the time required to produce the food product; the diminished likelihood that the final product will have to be reworked may also result from using SPC data to identify bottlenecks, wait times, and other sources of delay within the process. Process cycle time reductions, coupled with improvements in yield, have made SPC a valuable tool from both cost reduction and customer satisfaction perspectives.
Leverage HACCP Data
Food quality executives must leverage existing HACCP data by using modern statistical techniques to help improve process stability over time. SPC data must record measurements for variable data in a database for easy analysis and reporting and must immediately identify unstable conditions using statistical alarms, which are much more sensitive than pass/fail data. Cross-tabulations of SPC data must analyze and report results based on product lines, point in process, shift, operator, and other defined variables, including the ability to track on-time data collection by department, shift, and operator to ensure compliance with safety standards.
As quality efforts pay off in reduced defect costs and consistently low defect levels, many food manufacturers move to implement variable SPC. This system gives them the ability to measure and track critical product features at chosen time intervals using sample sizes much smaller than those needed for attribute SPC. Not only are inspection costs reduced by decreasing the size and frequency of samples inspected, but this new type of data also helps to evaluate the stability of the process.
Bottom-line lean result: Recognize small process changes before they become big enough to produce bad product. Real-time statistical alarms help prevent bad product from reaching customers because you, not the product, control the process. Many organizations spend a great deal of time and money designing and maintaining bullet-proof process control systems; this level of process control—without the high cost of in-house design and maintenance—is affordable with new SPC technology solutions.
- Hambleton, L. Treasure Chest of Six Sigma, Growth Methods, Tools, and Best Practices. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall/Pearson Education; 2008.
- Grichnik K, Winkler C, Rothfeder J. Make or Break: How Manufacturers Can Leap from Decline to Revitalization. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional; 2008.