What Is a Process Control Plan?

Esther Ejim

Companies that manufacture products or produce services usually have an ideal in terms of what the final product should look like. This ideal might be based on many tests and feedback from customers regarding their preferences for the products produced by that particular company. With this knowledge, the company will have a point of reference toward which it will strive in every production cycle, which is where the process control plan becomes vital. In this context, the process control plan serves the purpose of ensuring that the company consistently achieves this ideal in each production cycle. The practice of implementing a process control plan involves a tight control over the various stages before, during and after the production of the item.

The process control plan assures that the company consistently achieves preset standards in each production cycle.
The process control plan assures that the company consistently achieves preset standards in each production cycle.

One of the factors of a process control plan is the drawing up of different scenarios regarding circumstances that might occur during the production process, in order to proffer solutions to such problems in case they do occur. This is in juxtaposition to a carefully detailed analysis of the correct production process, which will give the involved team members a frame of reference for determining if the process is going according to schedule. When there is any form of deviation from the proper production process, the process control plan will include steps that the team members can take to either reverse any unfavorable situation or to correct a process that is not going according to plan.

For example, a company that produces canned soda will have a formula for the production of the soda that is the signature of the company. In order to consistently achieve the same taste with each production cycle, the company must implement a comprehensive process control plan that will eliminate the possibility of errors that may lead to a different outcome than that for which the company is known. This will include a careful division of the production process into manageable units in which each unit will have guidelines that guide the activities from that unit toward the general production process, a factor that is especially necessary in huge plants with numerous processes and machinery that perform different functions. When a company has developed a process control plan, such a plan must be adhered to strictly by the employees who may need some formal periodic orientation and refresher trainings in order to refresh their memories and inform them of any new developments.

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