Content By Douglas C. Fair

By: Douglas C. Fair

A few weeks ago, I found myself and my family on a beach making a sand castle. It was the last day of our vacation and shortly after we began working the warm South Carolina sand, an official approached us and asked if we would like to be contestants in the weekly sand sculpture contest. Why not?

At first, we were just playing in the sand with no purpose. But since judges and bystanders were watching the progression of our work, we got serious. Soon we began incorporating architectural details that our red-plastic-bucket-toting competitors hadn’t contemplated. We got serious solely because others were evaluating our progress. With knees in sand, our actions were driven by the adage, “What gets evaluated gets improved.”

The same can be said about an SPC system. Yes, it’s important for operators to gather data. Yes, it’s important that control chart alarms are acted upon by process experts. And yes, it’s important for an operator to assess data from their shop-floor viewpoint. All of these actions support localized control of individual processes. And, of course, these are all actions necessary to sustain manufacturing consistency and control.

However, if no one actively oversees the big picture, the likelihood of reducing overall costs and improving macro quality will be minimal.