Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework which connects theory with straightforward application of statistical process control (SPC) in discovering and analyzing causes of variation to eliminate quality problems, which not only helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to improve their processes but also helps to attain competitive positioning. Design/methodology/approach– Based on theory and methodological framework, an experimental study has been presented. Use of histograms, X (bar) and R control charts and process capability plots and cause-and-effect diagrams have been made to analyse the assignable causes. A case from an SME engaged in machining of automotive parts is investigated. Findings– The results demonstrate the effectiveness of SPC in evaluating and eliminating quality problems. The machine capability (CP) and the process capability (CPk) values are also obtained to know inherent variation in the process. If these quality tools are applied with management support and apt knowledge, attained through proper training and motivation, then in this cut-throat competitive world, SMEs can establish their market position by enhancing the quality and productivity of their products/processes. Practical limitations/implications– From the study, the authors conclude that application of SPC requires thorough preparation, management commitment and human resource management through proper training, teamwork and motivation embedded with a sound measurement and control system. Originality/value– The present study bridges the gap between theory and practice by developing a conceptual framework and providing a practical support by illustrating a case from an SME engaged in machining of automotive parts.
Measuring Business Excellence – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 11, 2014