- New JobMondelezCI Engineer
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My company is a marketer and distributor of hair care products blended and filled by a contract manufacturer and shipped to our warehouse for distribution. I’m looking for an inexpensive ($100 – $300) software program which will provide exception-based and “at-will” SPC reporting on the in/out of control nature of incoming finished goods. A given day’s lab tests (ex: viscosity) are performed on yesterday’s arrivals. I’d like the program to compare regularly inputted attribute data (by production lot) against previously entered attribute/product spec ranges and perform the standard SPC tests in the background. Our intent is not to use AQL based QA techniques but to flag lot-to-lot trends and so forth. (A production lot of individual units comes from a very large liquid batch.) Decent configurable manual and automated management reporting would be important as well.
Anyone have something they like which would do this?
Take a look at SPC Quickie at http://www.datalyzer.com
Developed for small solutions and price 295 US $
@mpmiller – $295 isn’t exactly what I’d call inexpensive for basic control charts. You can likely find Excel macros for around $50 – $100 (look in the tools & templates area on this site).
Thanks for the responses. I’ve looked at two representative Excel macro based tools and although they are generally less expensive, they tended to somewhat unstable, don’t give me the easy and rich configurability I want and require looking at many in-control charts to find the one out-of-control chart. (I know associates should be looking at the true data, but there is an optimum between breadth and depth.
I did find a product called Synergy 100 from Zontec which is their entry level SPC app. It is windows-based and although the data entry is not as easy as I would like, it offers a “traffic-light” roll-up feature where one can look over a number of products simultaneously with green, yellow, and red indicators for healthy, trending out, and out of control (and spec) processes. Datalyzer offers the similar thing in the higher application but not in the SPC quickie. In this $100s price range, there are a number of tradeoffs across offerings unfortunately.
I’d be pretty pleased if a couple of months from now operations has adopted this so deeply that they are clamoring for a tool with more functionality!
@mpmiller – since you have a contract house actually making and filling the product, you really should be pressing them to create the control charts. If you do it, it is one day removed from receipt, and several days removed from actual production. Too late to adjust the process, so at best you are put in an accept/reject situation. Better to have the actual manuf process controlled so that bad product is not produced to begin with.
You are so right with regards to our sampling and testing being too late for process adjustment. The majority supplier in question has a long standing relationship with the founder, both companies grew very fast and now we are back-filling a number of processes which should have been present since the beginning. Although the supplier performs spec testing on all batches, they do not control chart or look for trends, and they likely pass borderline batches since no one is checking. Consequently, we are training them and policing them to up their game. It is already working.
SPC will not prevent a supplier from sending borderline batches. Hopefully you have a supplier (audited?) with integrity that will NOT send material that is out of specification.
SPC looks for trends and other out of control indications but doesn’t look at products versus spec limits.
Thanks Chris; I see this as a “trust, but verify” situation. I am concerned with both a bias (supplier substitutes an expensive ingredient for a cheaper one) and loose control. I don’t yet have sufficient data to calculate process capability but I expect that to be eye-opening when we do. In the short-term, we have a situation of mutually assured destruction if either party was to push too hard. Over time, we need to diversify and upgrade our supplier base.
I understand….I just wanted to make sure you knew what SPC accomplishes and didn’t think it was the silver bullet you need.
The challenge for you is you don’t have the testing equipment/procedures so you can’t create your own testing/sampling system to understand their process capability. However, at least take the certificates of analysis and do process capability on the lot information supplied. I’m assuming they have very few reported product characteristics like % solids or pH but these aren’t necessarily what drives customer satisfaction with personal care products. It’s the % of the small components and that variability than can be tough to monitor.
At a minimum, see what their process capability is and see if their specs are WAY too wide. If they have excessively wide specs (don’t ask me to define that in a forum, LOL), then much more mischief can occur.
FYI, viscosity can be a great measure of correct mixture of ingredients but there are many types of viscosity measurements.
If you even wanted to send columns of data (even unlabeled product characterists if you are worried) and specs, I’d check some things out for you. For usefulness, be sure to include dates of manufacture as a column.
I would strongly rcommend to go for a more indepth system. Quickie is nice to start but I would strongly recommend DataLyzer
The way tojustify the slightly higher price is controlling the weight.
Can you please calculate if you can use DataLyzer to reduce the net weight with 0.2 or 0.3 % and still comply to all requirements ?
Well, thanks for the reviwes and the recommendations, Kilian that’s always good to hear. But I have definitely never spoken on a panel at a convention of any kind. I sure hope someone talked about me at one, though. That would be awesome.As to the blog, well, I really should post on it more. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at doing it while actually writing my next book (and also all the time in general), so it might not be used for much more than big news for a while unless I get a big flash of inspiration for a post. Sorry!