Process Capability Indices

Within the quality profession, a capable process is one with a high C_{p_k}. In the field, it is not quite so simple. My colleague Joerg Muenzing recently shared concerns about the process capability indices:

“Many manufacturers that I know struggle with incapable processes. Intellectually, people understand the concept of capability, but are unable to effectively apply it to an entire process. A single-figure measure for the entire chain would be ideal to better understand and manage it. The challenge is that the chain consists of processes with measurable characteristics, like thickness, substitute characteristics, like leak current to infer dryness, and also visual inspection results like blemishes or scratches.

They know that C_{p_k} < 1 is bad, and scrap shrinks the bottom line, but not much more. At the same time, customers like large Automotive OEMs demand from their suppliers a C_{p_k} > 1.33 for manual and “uncritical” characteristics, and C_{p_k} >1.66 or even >2.00 for critical characteristics.

What would be useful without being ‘too wrong’?”

Let’s take a closer look.

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