Capability analysis is conducted to see whether a process is meeting the set of requirements (process capability index or process performance index) that it must or not.
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A system is required to operate within a certain range, which has a minimum and a maximum limit. Capability analysis is used to measure the variability of the output of a system and also ensure that the variability is within the specifications set for the system.
Capability analysis is conducted to make sure that a system is performing within its set limit so that there is not variability that may influence other systems and the output. Under Lean Six Sigma, capability analysis is conducted under the Control phase.
After a process is optimised using various tools of Lean Six Sigma, the results are monitored and controlled so that the improvements achieved through the implementation of Lean Six Sigma are not lost. Capability analysis involves using statistical data to assess the performance of a process. If unusual variations are found in a process, then corrective measures are taken to eliminate the errors causing the variation. The final goal of analysing the capability of a process is to minimise variability.
Capability analysis is also used to track the history of a process to judge how well or how poorly it can function. It can be used to analyse, and to some extent predict the future functioning of a process. After a process has been improved through the methodologies of Lean Six Sigma, it shows its maximum capability. Data previous to the improvements and after the improvements can be used to determine the extent of the improvement and measure future improvements.
Some other benefits of capability analysis are:
- Conducting comparisons between processes, and between a process in the past and the present
- Measuring the variability in a process
- Knowing the maximum capability of a process
- Knowing the level of lapse in the productivity of a process
- Determine the level at which a process is most likely to function
Companies need to select the appropriate method for capability analysis based on the type of data distribution of a process. Also, the use for capability analysis may alter through the DMAIC phases.
If further improvements are made to a system, capability analysis measures them and helps to create a benchmark to control variability. It is an important part of all Lean Six Sigma projects, as it helps to achieve sustainable improvements.
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