Writen by LM Foong

The CONTROL Phase is the most neglected but critical phase to ensure action / solution put in placed are permanent and yield expected results. It cannot be over emphasized the importance of CONTROL.

They are some basic tools used in this phase, namely:-

Trend Charting | Control Chart | Documentation | Audit | On-job training | Re-certification

In this issue, I will deal with the above tools in bold Trend Charting Not only team member need to control the improvement result, equally important they track the continuity of the action / solution. These are the critical components of the whole Improvement Projects to ensure sustainability of the improvement. However, members tends to keep track of the result without realizing it is the action / solution that bring about the improvement. The results is the consequences of the actions / solutions.

During this phase, least difficulties were encountered by team members. Perhaps it was due to the fact that most action / solution are taken placed in the work area they are in charge. However, there are cases where teams are set up for a cross-function project in which action / solution to be taken are in work areas not the responsibility of the team members. In which case, team members faced with the following difficulties :-

a) Action and solution are not carried out consistently

b) Some of the line workers are not aware of the changes

c) Tracking is focus on results but did not extend to the action / solution

Besides tracking and monitoring, it is important that new action / solution are standardized across the company with simple yet effective work instructions and Standard Operating Procedures. And they are periodically audited for compliance. That Management team has included these items in their operation review meeting until such a time they feel it is sustainable.

Control Chart This is a statistical chart that use to track the performance of a measures over time. It look like a line chart except that it has 3 additional lines around the line chart. One of the three lines is the Mean or average line, the other two are drawn on the upper and lower end of the mean line. While the mean line is easy to determine, since it is an average line of those data. The other two lines is not so straight forward. It required some calculations to determine the position of the line drawn.

I do not intend to work out the detail calculation of the two lines. Briefly, one of the line which is placed above the mean line is called the upper control limit (UCL) and the other line which is placed below the mean line is called the lower control limit (LCL). These two line are the boundary of the data performance in which should be within these limits at any time. If it is out of the range, then it indicates an out of control situation. Investigation need to be taken place to find out why the data is out of range.

This control chart is useful to monitor the trend of the performance in term is the control limits. However, in real situation, it is more complicated as there are cases where the data performance is within the two lines, it is still consider out of control. Example, iof the data move along above the mean line for more than 7 points in a row. It is called a "RUN".... There are sevral others but will not be discussed here.

In summary, the trend chart and control chart is used to monitor the performance of the data. However, by the time it is plotted onto the chart, it si already histroy. Nevertheless, it is still a good tools to track the performace of the data basic on his performance over time. This will tell the team whether their solution provides a long term sustainability performance. In my next article, I will deal with Documentation and Audit of solution.


Disclaimer: This article is written by the author based on his practical application experience. All definitions and interpretation of terminology are his point of view and has it has no intention to conflict with experts in similar topic. The author holds no responsibility for the use of this article in any way.


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About the Author: LM Foong The author provides consulting services specializing in TQM Implementations in manufacturing and service sector. He provides facilitation workshops and hands-on application in Cost Reduction and Productivity Improvement projects. He publishes TQM articles, ebooks, case studies, trainer manual and presentation slides. To View Free TQM articles, please click http://www.tqmcasestudies.com/tqm_article.htm OR Please Visit my Web Site http://www.tqmcasestudies.com for other TQM related matters.


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