Ben & Jerry's Charts Success with SPC Software
SQCpack for Windows
- Real-time charting
- Customizable views of process control and information
- Tools for variables, attributes and Pareto data
How do you apply quality improvement techniques such as
statistical process control to a product already known for its high quality?
That's the question posed to Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream company
known for its superpremium quality, quirky flavors and nontraditional management style.
The Vermont ice cream maker uses PQ Systems' SQCpack for Windows in
its three plants, located in St. Albans, Springfield and Waterbury, Vermont. To assure uniform high quality, teams collect and analyze data related to everything
from the amount of air in the product to the number of shortbread wafers in its Cool Britannia ice cream.
SQCpack for Windows combines powerful SQC techniques with flexibility and user-friendliness, making data analysis easier than ever. It allows you to
create a variety of charts and reports, using system defaults or your own custom setting.
"Charts help to determine measurements that provide one input to decisions
about the product," says Dave Hakes, manufacturing quality manager for the company. Among these decisions are when to reject a batch of ice cream for
falling short of the rigorous standards to which Ben & Jerry's hold its products.
For each product line, two people per shift collect data and input it to a larger
database for analysis. In addition, SQCpack is used in initial test runs to help determine capability. Plotting data, Hakes says, helps to give a visual dimension
to data analysis, something that he feels helps in understanding the meaning of the data.
In addition to real-time product analysis, Ben & Jerry's uses the software
program to evaluate wastewater measurements--creating run charts, for example, to reflect the impact of wastewater during different seasons and under different conditions.
Of course, when Ben & Jerry's customers are savoring the last bite of their Rainforest Crunch ice cream, they know they've just experienced the effect of
the company's emphasis on quality--even without seeing any charts.