Process Improvement

Advanced Process Control

Difficult times like this require creative solutions to get the maximum performance out of production facilities. This requires optimum use of capabilities of the available resources material, equipment and people.

To improve the production results another resource may be of great help: historical production data. With the historical data and statistical modeling packages the production results can be dramatically improved.

In the past the statistical packages were very complex and expensive, but current developments in this area are showing simple configurable packages for reasonable prices. Process engineers with a little help from a specialist are able to built and maintain there own statistical models and can realize the possible improvements for their process within a number of weeks.

Statistical models

In many cases a process can be scientifically described by a number of formulas. However, in other cases, the exact working of the process cannot be explained in detail, since there is not enough knowledge about the process, the ingredients differ from batch to batch or the circumstances cannot exactly be controlled. In those cases a process model can be generated by statistical packages based on historical production data. The models can be used for troubleshooting and for on-line monitoring of the current batch.

On-line monitoring

The statistical model can be connected to a production control system. This allows for real time multivariable comparison of the actual batch with the Golden batch.


The multivariable trend indicates that the current batch deviates from the golden batch at the beginning of the process. At the same time the statistical package indicates the most likely reason for this deviate. In the diagram below the package indicates that the pH is causing the change with a confidence level of xx%


When the operator changes the set point of the pH (within the allowed limits) the process can be adapted to approach the Golden batch process. This will result in a better process performance of the current batch. Especially when batches are running for many hours or even days, this can result is drastic improvements.

Business case

In many processes a business case can be set up to demonstrate the profitability of using a statistical package to optimize the process. In most cases required investments are less than € 100,000 and have a payback time of 3 months or less.

Interested in a calculation of your own business case? Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing is about profitable meeting the customer needs.

A lot is already published about Lean Manufacturing. The wiki page is a nice starting point to get to this information.

If you are uncertain about what to use: Leam Manufacturing or Six Sigma, look at Lean or Six Sigma.


Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a structured method to improve processes by a quality management system, based on Statistical Process Control.

The structure used for the improvement process is DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control.

Six Sigma originates from Motorola in the mid-1980s as a solution for problems whith product quality and customer satisfaction. Later on, one of the originators started a consultancy company and wrote a book about Six Sigma. Increased awareness of Six Sigma was distributed at a time when the large-scale by General Electric is applied and since for some billions has yielded savings over a period of several years. Other companies saw the power of Six Sigma and the potential that was offered.

A lot of knowledge about Six Sigma is available in literature and through the Internet. This website is not repeating all the knowledge, You can find some basic terms and give some help to support the decision to use Six Sigma in your company on the web site .


Lean or Six Sigma

The diagram below gives an indication when to use a Six Sigma approach and when to use a Lean Manufaturing approach

The Six Sigma is preferred when the problem to improve the process is complex and the outcome of the improvement is uncertain. A Six Sigma project will result in bigger improvements and will point you fast into to major improvement directions, based on statistics that point out relations between cause and effect. Data about the process is required to use statistics.

Lean Manufacturing is based more on structured thinking and experience. The method is preferred of relatively simple process improvements and will take place step by step.

In many projects Lean Manufacturing tools and the Six Sigma method are used together to get the best result, especially where the project has mid size complexity and uncertainty.