by Gordon Sellers

The Quality Group Makes SPC Interactive

SPC-TIP by The Quality Group includes four different course groups that build on each other: SPC Starter Kit Applying SPC, Process Capability, and Using Design of Experiments. Within the course groups are 16 individual courses on a total of 12 CDs. This adds up to 16 to 24 hours of training. Each course group comes with a student guide complete with exercises to reinforce learning, an executive guide, program manager's guide, facilitator's guide and man-ager's workshop video.

Minimum system requirements: IBM-compatible PC with 486 DX2/66 CPU or Pentium processor; 8 MB RAM; SVGA with 1 MB of VRAM and 256 colors; SVGA monitor; 40 MB available disk space; sound card (Sound Blaster compatible); speakers; 2x CD-ROM drive or faster; optional MPEG card (Sigma Designs RealMagic.) Note: Contact The Quality Group for specifications on other compatible MPEG and/or audio playback cards.

Price: $7,920

Contact: The Quality Group Inc.
6100 Lackland Court
Norcross, GA 30092
Telephone (770) 447-1438
Fax (770) 447-8738


The Quality Group helps companies deliver innovative training and implementation programs for statistical process control via interactive multimedia tools on CD-ROM.

The courses in SPC-TIP build knowledge logically. First, the SPC Starter Kit helps build fundamental SPC skills that form the basis for understanding control charts and learning how SPC can improve processes. The SPC Starter Kit includes four courses that take three to five hours to complete. The course topics are: SPC and Variation&emdash;The purpose of SPC, differences between variable and attribute data, explanations of special and common cause variation, and how SPC can help detect the different types of variation in a manufacturing process; Pictures of Numbers&emdash;Histograms, understanding histograms and how a process can meet customer specifications; Introduction to Control Charts; and Summary and Final Test.

The second course group, Applying SPC, is made up of five individual courses and takes six to eight hours to complete. The course's primary goals are to build parameter selection skills and show how to calculate control limits from collected data. Course 5, Selecting Parameters, covers preparing to collect data, block diagrams, Pareto charts and fishbone diagrams. Courses 6, 7 and 8 deal with the types of control charts, setting up and using control charts, interpreting them and taking action. Course 9 is a summary and final test for the second course group.

The third course group, Process Capability, includes four courses and takes six to eight hours to complete. This course could be used separately; course 10 reviews SPC and lays the groundwork for using SPC tools for continuous process improvement. Course 11 is an introduction to process capability. It also covers monitoring process stability using control limits, assessing process capability using spec limits and using relative capability to determine capable processes. Course 12, Using Normal Curves, defines normal distribution, estimating standard deviation and using the standard normal table. Course 13, Process Capability Assessment, teaches how to assess process capability using numerical methods. After courses 10 through 13, you can find out how a process is performing and determine processes that need improvement.

The last course group, Using Design of Experiments, includes only three individual courses and takes three to five hours to complete. Course 14 is an introduction to DOE, and course 15, Application of DOE, outlines five phases of DOE: plan, design, run, analyze and act. SPC-TIP concludes with a case study that applies all SPC/DOE skills.

During the course sessions, you may send the training manager a message or make a note, which can be printed upon course completion. There is also a "help" system, which users of traditional Windows programs will find basic, but it does the job.

SPC-TIP comes with Iprax Course-Works, a solution for administering interactive training courses. It includes what you need to deliver training, customize course content, track student performance and generate reports&emdash;a definite bonus for training managers.

SPC-TIP is available for purchase or rent. Each course group costs $1,950 to $2,450 or rents for $395 a month. Student guides cost $15. An SPC-TIP order includes one Iprax CourseWorks' Training and Administration System license. Additional licenses are $495 per SPC-TIP-capable computer.

As an alternative to traditional classroom instruction, SPC-TIP helps you reduce scheduling conflicts by providing self-paced sessions that can be repeated to match a student's needs. The quality of the content is very good, and the presentation of the material keeps your interest.