Vol. 8, No. 7

July 2006

PQ Systems

SQCpack real-time charting

Quality Quiz: With a video!

Six Sigma

Data in everyday life

Bytes and pieces

FYI: Current releases


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SQCpack's instant, real-time feedback:
Putting you in the driver's seat

All charts are not created equal, as any quality professional will attest. Timeliness clearly improves the usefulness of a chart: the closer one's analysis is to the process, the more useful that analysis will be. Process feedback based on real-time data dramatically enhances possibilities for improvement, and the easier it is to access this data, the better.

Immediate process feedback is critical to the manufacturing process. "The sooner operators get meaningful signals from a process, the sooner they can correct the problem," says Steve Daum, software development manager. If an out-of-control condition is not detected immediately, for example, a manufacturing process can continue to generate faulty products until someone notices the aberration. This adds waste-and cost-to the process.

SQCpack 5.5, released next month by PQ Systems, offers this enhancement with its real-time charting, a process improvement feature that includes improved flexibility and clarity in the data entry grid. Real-time data is at one’s fingertips at any stage of the process, while notations, explanations of causes, and descriptions of procedures immediately enhance understanding of the process for both operator and supervisor. Since only essential information is shown, the form is cleaner and less cluttered, so distractions are reduced or eliminated.

Since feedback is timely, operators can understand it at a glance, so they can continue working or begin troubleshooting without interruption of their work in order to notify others. Feedback can be calibrated so the operator is not overwhelmed with false positive signals. It is clear that when thousands of trivial messages are generated, operators often "tune out," thereby missing critical information about a process.

With color coding to note out-of-control and/or out-of-spec conditions in the data entry grid, an operator garners critical information immediately. A toolbar with clear graphical icons further enhances the ease of charting with SQCpack. Buttons and menus are logically arranged, rendering the most common functions visible and accessible. Even first time users will find them easy to use.

"Our customers have become increasingly sophisticated in their need for real-time data analysis," says Daum. "We have come a long way since process charts were hung on the wall for analysis." Color-coding is one of several features that have improved the visual appearance of forms, including trend lines, a new extra line type on control charts, and the ability to hover one's mouse over a control chart point to display specific data relating to that point. By creating a multi-characteristic data entry grid for real-time charting, the program is simpler and more intuitive in its use. "The grid helps to focus the user's attention by presenting only the most important information," Daum says.

While these visual details may seem less critical than operating features, the two go together, Daum says. "Real-time analysis is enhanced when charts are visually clear and when they reflect the customization that supports an organization's specific needs."

To learn more about SQCpack 5.5, go to www.sqcpack.com or call PQ Systems at 800 777-3020.

Copyright 2006 PQ Systems.
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