Process Control


This is the text of an article published by Peter Griffin


What will we produce ?

Who will produce it ?

And when ?

All staff performing productive work should be able to undertake their tasks correctly. Guidance in the task may be available from training, experience, detailed instructions, comparison with examples; or a mixture of these. Detailed instructions are normally required where the absence of them could adversely affect the quality [acceptability] of the product.

When we purchase a new domestic appliance (e.g. washing machine) we
would normally read the instruction booklet for advice. Once we have gained experience with the machine, we do not normally consult the booklet again.

Other items in need of control, to ensure that acceptable products are produced include:-

production equipment
production environment

ISO 9000 requires an improved control system for "Special Processes". These are processes which cannot easily be inspected on completion (e.g. welding). The simplest means to ensure that they are correct each time is by experimenting, and then documenting the successful process (personnel, equipment, materials, sequence, environment). The process can then be repeated exactly each time the product is required. Production of a reject becomes improbable.... but unfortunately, not impossible.

If we order a "hard" boiled egg in a restaurant, we expect to crack the shell and not have the contents running down the side. An untrained cook cannot guess at the time required for the egg, whilst guaranteeing to satisfy our requirements. We would not expect to be presented with 5 eggs (cooked for differing times), for us to choose which is correct. The recipe used by the cook will have been established by experiment, allowing repeatable correct performance.

Editor's Notes

Peter Griffin is managing consultant of P Griffin & Associates (PGA); one of the leading quality management consultancies operating in Europe and the USA.

P Griffin & Associates have assisted 260 companies (ranging from 3 employees to multi-national corporations) to achieve improvements in quality and ISO9000 Registration.

While the majority of companies fail to achieve ISO9000 certification at the first attempt, 98% of PGA's quality assurance clients have achieved first-time success.

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Last Updated November 19, 1995
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