Where are Control Charts Used? [video]

This is the fourth and last blog in our four-part series introducing control charts. The first blog addressed the question of what a control chart is. The second blog explored the relationship between variation and control charts. The third blog addressed the purpose of a control chart. This blog answers the following question:

Where are control charts used?

The truth is that there are very few places that a control chart can’t be used. There are people who will, of course, say they can’t be used in their environment. That is OK. It is their choice. Over the years, millions of people have proven that control charts work. To paraphrase Dr. Donald Wheeler, “those who do not use control charts will always be at a disadvantage to those who do.”

If you are not sure where a control chart can be used in your process, start by making a process flow diagram of your process. This visual picture of your process makes it easy to see where the process could potentially be measured. There are many places you can measure your process. You pick the ones that are most important to you. Look at measuring your process in the following four dimensions: quality, quantity, timeliness and cost.

Below are some examples of where control charts can be applied in a wide variety of environments. These are taken from our SPC Knowledge Base publications, where there is this a more detailed description.

  • Monitoring Customer Complaints Using SPC
  • SPC and On-Time Performance
  • SPC & Process Improvement in the Warehouse
  • SPC and Customer Service
  • An Example of the Misuse of SPC in Health Care
  • SPC and Pharmaceutical In-Process Control
  • KPIs, Control Charts and Linking of Measurements
  • Control Charts and America's Favorite Pastime - Baseball
  • SPC, Downtime, and Overall Equipment Effectiveness
  • Control Charts and Surveys
  • Control Charts and Purchasing
  • Making Sense of Data: SPC and Aviation
  • SPC and Your Suppliers
  • Control Charts and Website Data
  • My Blood Pressure is What???
  • SPC and Selecting a Supplier
  • SPC and Global Warming
  • Attribute Control Charts in Health Care
  • Baseball Has Changed – The Demise of the Complete Game and Other Tidbits

If you are in manufacturing, control charts can make your life so much easier and efficient when used for:

  • Product responses
  • Process variables
  • Equipment uptime
  • Equipment efficiency
  • Production quantity
  • Production costs
  • Monitoring lab tests
  • Off-spec material

"Support” groups to manufacturing can use control charts to monitor and improve:

  • Employee turnover
  • Absenteeism
  • Time to close the books each month
  • Accounts receivable
  • Sales per month
  • Budget line items
  • Maintenance downtime
  • Response time to repair equipment
  • Accuracy of invoices

Another great use of control charts is in health care:

  • Time spent waiting for the doctor
  • Time to admit a patient
  • Blood pressure
  • Billing errors
  • Hospital readmission
  • Infections

We could go on and on. The reality is that any process repeated on a regular basis can be monitored using a control chart. So, the question of the day for you is:

Where do you use control charts?

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