Controllability Assessments - Innovation in quality improvement

Uncontrolled or insufficiently controlled quality variation originates from a number of causes. Some of those may be known to, or expected by, certain people. Others may be hidden in the many potential process variables and remain unnoticed.

The controllability assessment is the answer to how we can reveal all such hidden causes of quality variation and resolve them. In essence, it is just picking the fruits of bringing together the right knowledge at the right time. Yet, the controllability assessment is an innovation in quality improvement, as it contains successful elements of Kaizen (speed), PDCA (proven structure) and Six Sigma (data driven), and builds on that with new elements.

Goal of the Controllability Assessment

Controllability assessments have a simple goal: identify all significant causes of quality variation, and quantify their relevance. From that, a prioritized specific set of causes can now be addressed to bring quality (better) in control.

The major contributors to a controllability assessment are:

  • The voice of the process engineer
  • The voice of the operator
  • The voice of the maintenance engineer
  • The voice of the Process itself.


What is the Voice of the Process?

Production processes tend to be complex. They may consist of several production steps with several production settings involved in each step. There are also several raw materials used that may differ from batch to batch or between suppliers. All this together produces a final product quality. The final quality may consist of several quality aspects like surface appearance, dimensions or strength. Each of those may be affected in a different way by the various process steps and settings. So indeed, production processes tend to be quite complex.

The voice of the process is the collection of process data that includes all production conditions and quality measurements. The combination of production conditions determines the final quality. Analyzing how exactly the many production conditions affect the different quality aspects is a rather complex task, as the quality variation is a result of many small simultaneous changes in the process settings, raw materials, etc.

Listening to the Voice of the Process means that we successfully transform the complex data analysis into a few relevant parameters that explain a large part of the quality variation. In fact, we let the process tell us where in the process the quality problems are caused. Once known, they can be addressed to help improve the quality consistency.

Quality Target is specialized in statistical data analysis of complex production processes. We have, so to speak, ears to listen to the Voice of the Process, revealing hidden causes of unexplained quality variation. That makes the Voice of the Process a welcome participant in controllability assessments.

How the Controllability Assessment works

The controllability assessment is a team event that will bring the team from a somewhat uncomfortable starting position (what will we be doing?) to an energized feeling at the end of the first session (we feel confident this approach will bring us success). As indicated above, the right participants have been brought together. Their coordinated effort, with the right mandate, clear guidance, and the new knowledge provided by the advanced data analysis, will provide the required leverage for breakthrough quality improvement.

Depending the complexity of the process at hand, the entire effort may require a lead time of some days or weeks. During that period different people will perform different actions in parallel.

We provide the experienced guidance to move your team forward with the speed and energy of the Kaizen approach. It can be considered a very fast version of a Six Sigma project. In addition, our quick data analysis support goes beyond Six Sigma Black Belt level. Combine all this power, to beat the complexity of your quality issues.

You can contact us here, or take a look at an example related to the Voice of the Process.