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Scaling Up? Don’t Leave Statistical Process Control (SPC) Behind

There is a long history of deploying statistical process control to reduce variation. These efforts can stall, or be abandoned, when the number of metrics becomes overwhelming. This presentation will describe the challenges of growing SPC to a large scale, and suggests approaches to meet these challenges.

Date: October 26, 2017
Time: 2 PM EDT (11 AM PDT)
Duration: 1 hour
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For over 30 years, the staff at PQ Systems has been talking to people practicing statistical process control (SPC). Despite the endless variety in SPC applications, from sandwich spreads and steel springs to train wheels, there are recurring issues that appear time and again. One of the most common challenges is how to grow an SPC deployment to large scale.

Today, computers and software are widely used for SPC, but the basic workflow for SPC workers is little changed since the days of paper and pencil: 1) measure something, 2) visualize it on a chart, 3) learn from and possibly react to signals seen on the chart. This works well for a limited number of metrics.

In modern work processes, from complicated production lines to multi-day hospital stays, the number of metrics that might be monitored using SPC is staggering. Even when being careful to select the vital few metrics and ignore the trivial many metrics, you might be faced with 300, 500, or even 1000 control charts! In your operation, is it practical to think about deploying this many control charts? For most people, unfortunately the answer will be no. It is just not practical. Who will look at all these charts? How many workers can be trained and then made available for this SPC work?

The problem here is not with the technique of SPC. Instead the problem is one of deploying the technique on a large scale. This presentation will describe the challenges of growing SPC to a large scale, and suggest approaches to meet these challenges.

Key Take-Aways

  • Learn how to identify constraints to a large scale SPC deployment
  • Discover how to address these constraints
  • Understand how to develop a plan to grow an SPC deployment
  • Learn ways to multiply the benefits of an SPC program on a large scale


Steve Daum, Director of Software Engineering, PQ Systems

Steve Daum is Director of Software Engineering for PQ Systems. He has more than 30 years of experience with statistical process control, control charts, and control charting software. Steve has published papers in a variety of professional journals and has led multiple seminars and presented on statistical process control and issues related to quality to a variety of audiences in the U.S., England, and South Africa.