NWA Quality Information System: Taking the guesswork out of process improvement

SPC is the universally applicable methodology that helps manufacturers control quality and cut costs. Read how Northwest Analytics’ Quality Information System could help your company implement SPC and achieve a real return on investment almost immediately.One of the interesting things about being involved with Northwest Analytics Statistical Process Control (SPC) software is that you get
to find out how a lot of things are made! In recent months I’ve talked about SPC to manufacturers of a wide variety of products from cat litter to whisky.

Whatever the product, the most common business objectives are to save money and improve quality.

One of the most reliable ways of achieving both of these is with a robust quality system of which the cornerstone should always be SPC, a proven methodology for monitoring the performance of a process.

SPC shows you exactly what your production process is doing and takes away the guesswork when you want to make improvements.

The steps for implementing Statistical Process Control

  1. Collect data which describes your process e.g. fill weight, temperature, length etc.
  2. Ensure that the data is collected with enough frequency, consistency and reliability.
  3. Include descriptive information e.g. date, time, operator, product etc.
  4. Assess the current situation e.g. are you well within specification, always above/below?
  5. React to SPC signals and use them to record problems and solutions for continuous improvement.

This process is made much easier thanks to NWA QIS, the complete Quality Information System offering from Northwest Analytics. NWA QIS is flexible enough to collect, store and analyse SPC data so that you can understand and improve whatever process causes you problems. Easy-to-use, modular components let you build a data collection and reporting system to suit your process.

NWA QIS will alert your operators when they enter measurement data which is out of specification or trending out of control. If data is being collected by an automated process, NWA QIS can monitor this in real-time, alerting you to unusual variations. NWA QIS also includes web-based reporting so you can share your quality data throughout your organisation.

Some simple calculations show that the addition of SPC to your quality system can offer a very real (and often quick) return on your investment, regardless of whether that payback is in time, money or both.

For example, consider a simple bottle-filling process. Underfilling can lead to complaints so understandably there is a culture of overfilling: each bottle intentionally contains more than the optimum level of product. This typically occurs when there is little control over the filling process, i.e. where bottles cannot be reliably filled to a consistent level. The example opposite shows the true cost of overfill; it is a conservative example as SPC can routinely claim to offer much more substantial savings.

To achieve this saving, NWA QIS would record sample data from the production line so that you could drill down and identify which part of the process (e.g. a nozzle) fails to measure an exact fill quantity.

Just about any process can benefit from the application of Northwest Analytic’s SPC software. NWA QIS will tell you when you are trending towards specification limits, giving advance notification of problems which could, if left unchecked, result in waste or defective product.

Whatever you’re producing, if you could eliminate or reduce rework or scrap in your organisation, how much money would that save you per month? Per year?

Think there’s an issue with a product or process, but don’t have the time or tools to investigate? Send us your data and we’ll use NWA SPC software to assess what’s going on with your process. Email info@alfasoft.com for a free SPC data assessment.

Download the latest brochure to learn more, or visit the NWA home page.

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