Process Variation
Business Process Management Monitors Process Variation
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What is Process Variation SiteMap

Organizations want their organizations to perform with a predictable range. If someone is making soda, the soda cans should contain approximately 12 ounces.   If some cans produce only 11 ounces, customers and the authorities will be upset and may lead to fines. If each can contains 12 ounces plus or minus .01 ounce, this may satisfy the company, customers, and regulators.

So what causes process variation (a result different than the range expected for a process)? Process Variation may be causes by a wide variety of factors including

  • resource variation (e.g. cans are slightly larger or smaller)
  • human (e.g. setup employees did not set fill rate correctly)
  • wear and tear (equipment is slightly worn out)
  • Information system (e.g. did not translate targeted fill rate correctly)
  • line speed (line went too fast or too slow during filling
  • temperature (different fill rates depending on temperature) --Never fill your car with gasoline during hear of day or you will get slightly less gas.
  • new process
  • new equipment
  • new workers
  • new materials

Organizations realize that variation will occur but they want that variation to be negligible and they want to ensure the customer does not see the variation.

Total Quality Management has show that all processes have some variation. Some variation is normal and thus worth controlling.

Processes that have small variation are said to be "in control."

Large variation is caused by factors internal or external to process.

Process Variation can take various shapes when you look at a traditional bell curve:

  • Average results on target and evenly distributed
  • Average results off target but evenly distributed
  • Results off target either higher or lower but evenly distributed
  • Results off target but not evenly distributed

Processes that are evenly distributed are more predictable especially if the range is small. Driving on Sunday afternoon to a destination is more predictable than on Friday evening rush hour.

Call John Antos, Jim Brimson or Pat Dowdle at 972-980-7407 to find out more about Process Management.

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