Introduction to Statistical Process Control (SPC)

Part 1 of a two-part series, 2 days

This 2-day workshop is the first of a two-part series on Statistical Process Control (SPC). It will ground you in the fundamentals of statistical process control (SPC). First developed by Walter Shewhart while at Bell Labs in the 1920’s and 1930’s SPC has continued to grow in relevance every year since then. Some have even suggested that the manufacture of semi-conductors wouldn’t be possible without it. “We could have invented them – but not manufactured them.”

While powerful and effective, statistical process control is often misunderstood and incorrectly applied. This series of two courses prepares you for success and for realizing the full potential of SPC. You will leave the workshop with an intuitive understanding of fundamental concepts of SPC and control chart theory as well as a practical understanding of the mechanics of selecting control chart types, designing effective and efficient sampling methods, the basics of control chart construction, how to apply them using software and, most importantly, how to interpret them and apply them for controlling and continually improving processes and products. You will also understand how to apply the same fundamental approach to manufacturing and non-manufacturing processes whether your organization manufactures semi-conductors, medical devices, forestry or plastic products, or monitors the output of wind turbines or wants improve the speed of servicing people in need thru a hospital room or improve an IT service call closure rate. SPC reveals the process’s character and provides the foundation for solving and sustaining process improvement.

Key Course Takeaways

  • The fundamental SPC concepts of common and special cause variation, how to recognize them and how to use a control chart to alert you when something is affecting the process
  • Quantitatively and graphically characterize, describe and assess their process performance with using histograms, box and whisker plots, control charts and capability analysis
  • Plan, construct, interpret and follow-up on the application of Individual (Xi) and Moving Range (MR) charts and process capability Cpk analysis
  • Exploit SPC methodology to assure the effectiveness of day to day operations, project management and improvement methods such as Lean and Six Sigma
  • The importance and applicability of the topics that follow in the course that follows
Day 1

Basic Statistics for Control Charts

  • The meaning and significance of common, special, and assignable cause variation and how their analysis helps us know when to act and when not to act
  • Histograms, Box and Whisker plots, distributions, the measures of a distribution – parameters and statistics
  • The normal distribution and why it is so important to us
  • Using what we know about the normal distribution to signal action is required
  • Verifying if a distribution is normal
  • Plotting data in order of occurrence and then spotting possible trends or changes – run charts
Day 2

Process Capability and Performance, and Sustaining Process Improvement

  • Turning a run chart into a statistical control chart and the advantages — individual and range control charts are used to determine whether or not a process change has occurred, and when to intervene
  • Process Capability — assessing the capability of a process to meet requirements
  • Process Performance – assessing how a process has performed
  • Developing effective process management and control plans

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this three-day course, participants will leave with a strong foundation in the fundamentals of statistical process control.

Who Should Attend?

  • People working with manufacturing or non-manufacturing processes
  • Manufacturing, process and quality managers, and engineers
  • Product and process development and design engineers
  • Continual improvement and process excellence program managers
  • Participants in process and quality improvement teams
  • SPC coordinators
  • Six Sigma practitioners

Additional Course Notes

This is an introductory course in SPC however, the core methodologies that the participants learn will go a long way to ensuring their ability to significantly up their ability to effectively analyze and improve processes.


There are no prerequisites for this workshop. However, participants will maximize the value of their immersion in the workshop if they are able to arrive at the workshop with data from their own processes, which will significantly enhance their recognition of the relevance of the methodologies.

Credit & Follow-Up

“Intermediate Statistical Process Control”, “Design and Analysis of Experiments for Continual Improvement”, “Failure Modes and Effects (FMEA)”, and “Measurement System Analysis (MSA)”.