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SPC - Statistical Process Control is a method of quality control which uses statistical methods. SPC is applied in order to monitor and control a process. Monitoring and controlling the process ensures that it operates at its full potential, i.e. the process can make as much "conforming product" (product meeting specifications) as possible with a minimum of waste and scrap. SPC can be applied to any process where the conforming product can be measured; manufacturing lines are a good example of this. A key tool used in SPC is the control chart.

An advantage of SPC over other methods of quality control is that it emphasizes early detection and prevention of problems, rather than the correction of problems after they have occurred.
In addition to reducing waste, SPC can lead to a reduction in the time required to produce the product. SPC also makes it less likely the finished product will need to be reworked.

The application of SPC involves three main phases of activity:

  • Understanding the process and the specification of limits
  • Eliminating assignable (special) sources of variation, so that the process is stable
  • Monitoring the ongoing production process, assisted by the use of control charts, to detect significant changes of mean values or variations