I read an article today in Quality Digest about Dr. Don Wheeler (An Interview with Donald J. Wheeler). I had the pleasure of getting a solid back ground in SPC from Dr. Wheeler and from a local (Indianapolis) statistician named Tim Baer. I won’t pretend to have their knowledge, but through application of statistical theory I have learned that there is no other way to know whether improvement efforts or experimentation are making things better.
W. Edwards Deming challenged us in many ways. He warned us not to copy the Japanese (because we could never catch up). The perpetuation of Dr. Deming’s ideas requires a solid understanding of statistical methods. Rarely, do I walk into a service organization and see the use of control charts (or process behavior charts as Dr. Wheeler references them).
The truth is there is no way to know whether things are getting better without the use of SPC.
That is correct – there is no other way! So this begs the question of why their use is so uncommon amongst those that mine, analyze and use data. If they did they would understand why targets are so damaging. Or why the system governs performance and not the individual. These are things you come to understand when you understand variation through the use of SPC. My Myth Buster series at IQPC explains why – click here.
To me, operating without solid knowledge of SPC is a mistake that is very costly. An organization trying to achieve business improvement must know when things are betting better or falling apart. Sometimes you find out that things are worse when it is too late. This requires an early warning system for a business tsunami that can wipe you out.
Using data in appropriate manner is hard to find these days in service organizations. SPC is the only tool worth learning.
Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public). His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work. Read his articles at Quality Digest and his column for CustomermanagementIQ.com Download free from www.newsystemsthinking.com “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.Share This: