DO SQC TECHNIQUES REALLY WORK? A PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD MANUFACTURING CASE STUDY
Author: Dale W. Wilhite Company: IBM Corporation Date Published: 9/10/1996
Surface Mount International
Abstract: For various reasons, the reputation of the Quality Discipline waxed and waned over the past several decades. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, many American companies found themselves on the defensive against foreign competitors with product quality as one of the weapons [1 (page 35G12)]. This in turn sparked an interest in Statistical Quality Control (SQC) and other improvement techniques which many of the companies under siege unfortunately treated as ‘just another program’; providing a short-lived earnest effort followed by a great number of empty discussions on quality [1 (page 22.1 l)]. Over time, cynicism set in and true advocates started to doubt the effectiveness of the quality discipline. In addition, many of critics of SQC concepts complained that SQC would not work in their particular cases because of various reasons. Bartell  discussed excuses given by manufacturing managers in the Printed Wire Board (PWB) industry as to why SPC (a subset of SQC) will not work in Phototool development processes. These excuses for the SPC subspecies (the processes are too complex, the employees are not smart enough, SPC is too much work, SPC did not work before, why should it work now) are typical of excuses given for the entire SQC arsenal.