A Proven Methodology for a continuous improvement effort!
No matter is you are working on a 6 Sigma strategy or taking a Lean Manufacturing approach for improving your operations it all comes down to do you have the tools for maintaining any gains you make in efficiencies.
Quality Window 6 provides a simple but effective way of monitoring products and processes to minimize variation and run at optimum target. Here is an overview of that approach.
First, Quality Window 6 (QW6) allows you to build templates based on your sampling plan of variables including specifications and targets limits and alarms for individual products and processes that you are monitoring.
Once you create these applications then you can follow these steps:
Collect the data – this is typically the Add data screen. Data as entered will be displayed in colors based on the limits set for each variable. This is the first visual presentation of the data for review. You can also include external data from devices like weigh scales or automation systems. These data items require no additional effort but provide tremendous added value when investigating inter-relationships between variables
Visualize – The Rule Violation Alarm Screen will be presented automatically after each record is added to a Quality Window Application when at least one violation is detected. Only variables that violate rules are displayed and this supports “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” or in other terms you only see the problems that currently exist. The Alarms are prioritized in terms of importance – Specification limit rules are higher that Control Limit rules and so on.
Analyze – this can be a multi-step process based on the complexity of the issue detected.
The analysis process begins and if there is a User Help system included that would be my next stop. This can guide users on typical causes for upsets for this variable and what to do next. This is an ideal place to have provide access to Current Best Approach Documents (CBA’s) to promote consistent approaches to a problem.
Next, review variables with the Alarms using the Control Chart Screen. This multi-view screen provides a historical look back in time (control or run chart) a histogram to display the distribution of the data as well as summary statistics that include the highlighting of statistics that violate a specified level giving clues to the nature of the problem experienced.
The Relationship screen would be the next stop as it will provide you with a statistical display of variables that could affect the variable you are currently reviewing. This is a very powerful tool for understanding the complex interactions of variables within a process.
The additional screen below provide a more in depth analytical capability that may be performed on line of offline by process engineers or quality technicians.
The Comparison chart allows you to review two time frames for a variable or two separate variables to do before and after analysis. This is very useful in determining if changes have had a positive or negative effect on a variable or process.
The Prioritize chartuses Summary Statistics to provide the viewer with a way of ranking all numeric variables by those statistics and view them in up to 3 pareto charts. It is a stand back look at the variables in the applications in terms of summary statistics.
The Hat Chart combines two powerful statistics Variation (Cr) and Target (tz) to provide a unique view of which variables or groups of variables have targeting or variation issues. This can assist in the understanding of what variable are interacting with each other to better determine root causes for Alarms or process upsets.
Quick reports are, as the name implies, a fast way to get an overview of the overall process in a snap shot summary statistics view which includes the highlighting of statistics outside tolerances.
At this point you have finished your investigation and now must take some action which could include:
Take a corrective action like making an adjustment or cleaning a part.
Document your action – update the comment variable with the action or decision you made. This is very useful in follow up investigations.
Improve your QW 5 Application
Just as important as detecting problems is identifying new variables that if monitored could have avoided this rule violation. In the case of a new variable(s) being identified to be tested, you would use the QWAdmin rapid change tool to add these variables to the application and start collecting data with the next sample taken, it is that easy to adapt to change.
A Quality Window application is very easy to use and just as easy to change, and change is the reality of working on the shop floor. Call it process monitoring, quality monitoring or a centerline application, the centrepiece that makes these applications easy to use and very successful is the methodology mentioned above. The Alarm screen is the watchdog that ensures problems are highlighted in a timely fashion and the analytical screens provide an easy to use and intuitive way to understand what is going on in your process. The ability to react to change so quickly is a huge advantage to using Quality Window and having it maintained within a department rather than getting on a priority list and waiting for the changes to be made.