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Real-time SPC: Cost-Reducer, Profit-Maker

Real-time SPC: Cost-Reducer, Profit-Maker

By using real-time SPC software to systematically eliminate defects, errors and waste, companies can not only weather the storm in these rough and tough economic times but actually make a profit.


In today’s dreary economic climate, that seems to be all that companies are thinking about. And that means they’re taking the conventional approach of battening down the hatches and slashing the usual suspects like salaries, employees, training and departments.

But is that slash-for-cash approach the most effective way to shore up the bottom line when the flow of revenue has ebbed to a drip?

Quality and business experts are resoundingly saying no.

For months business publications like Business Week and Wall Street Journal have highlighted how extensively companies have cut resources, often with disastrous implications. Organizations like the American Society for Quality have reported that many companies have reduced or eliminated quality initiatives. The recent issue of Harvard Business Review warned that misplaced cost-cutting could jeopardize long-term competitiveness.

Rather than spending an inordinate amount of time and effort looking at ways to downsize your company, the smarter approach is to downsize your company’s inherent (hidden) operational costs—costs that have been eating away at your bottom line for years.

The most effective way to do this is to implement automated systems that identify and eliminate waste in your processes.

Since the days of Deming, quality experts have warned manufacturers that inefficient processes on the plant floor introduce defects, errors and waste, which in turn not only reduce quality but devour profits. The cost of rework, scrap and overcoming production delays resulting from quality problems can cost a company 20-40% of total manufacturing costs.

Prevention, therefore, translates directly into profit.

And, as a preventative strategy, real-time SPC mistake-proofs critical processes. How? By feeding precise information directly to the shop-floor, empowering employees to detect and control process variation before it develops into defective output. Illustrating the potential of this strategy is the fact that WinSPC real-time SPC software implementations on average have reduced waste by 50% and increased yield by 30%.

In the end, the formula for reducing waste and cost is always information—instant, relevant, automated information that makes the manufacturing process error-proof. Good real-time SPC solutions, such as WinSPC, allow managers and operators to:

  • Collect shop-floor data from a variety of sources, including people, devices and CMMs.
  • Utilize control charts to assure process quality. 
  • Alert operators and managers of process non-conformances. 
  • Uncover the root cause of non-conformances. 
  • Improve time-to-market by better understanding the performance and capabilities of machine tools. 
  • Publish quality reports for management and customers. 
  • Comply with regulatory requirements, such as TS and ISO. 
  • Access quality data on-demand and reduce the risk associated with supplier charge-backs, product recalls and warranty repair and rework.

While most businesses are slashing the usual expenses—travel, training, bonuses, pay and headcount—you can view the current economy as an opportunity to optimize your manufacturing operations. And, if you really do this right, you won’t just find yourself in the company of those who weathered the storm; you’ll find yourself among those who found a way to be profitable through it.

To discuss how real-time SPC software might help you, contact DataNet Quality Systems at 1-866-4WINSPC.