# Control Charts for Breakthrough Improvement

The first step in breakthrough improvement is summarizing the massive amount of data collected about defects, mistakes and errors in any business. It doesn't matter if it's scrap in manufacturing or medication errors in healthcare, defects, waste and rework are consuming a third of most corporate budgets. You can easily aggregate and chart this data using the QI Macros for Excel.

Use Control Charts to measure and monitor the performance of any process.

Without control charts, you cannot sustain improvements.

### The Origin of Control Charts

Control charts originated at Western Electric in the 1920s with Shewhart. I recently got hold of a copy of the Western Electric Statistical Quality Control Handbook (1956). I love that the preface begins by saying: "This book is written in non-technical language, and no attempt has been made to write for the professional statistician or mathematician."

The Western Electric program focused on "the control chart, and particularly the process capability study, as the foundation of the entire program." The book "does describe certain procedures and methods which the Western Electric Company has found it desirable to emphasize in order to secure the wanted results from its quality control programs."

The authors go on to say: "Statistical Quality Control can be applied to anything that it is possible to express in the form of numbers." Yep, everything.

### What is Statistical Quality Control?

Western Electric summed it up eloquently:

Statistical With the help of numbers or data We study the characteristics of our process In order to make it behave the way we want it to behave.

### The Power of Control Charts

So that's it in a nutshell: Control charts help us study our performance in ways that make it behave the way we want it to behave. If your process isn't behaving the way you want it to, maybe it's because you haven't subjected it to the scrutiny of a control chart or capability study.

All processes vary: "Instead of being exactly the same from point to point or from time to time, the numbers vary."

QI Macros Capability Suite will analyze both the stability and capability of a process.