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Statistical Process Control



March 13, 2015 to April 10, 2015

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Statistical Process Control

taught by Tom Ryan

Aim of Course:

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is an integral part of Six Sigma training programs. It can fail, though, if it is implemented mechanistically, without a thorough understanding of the methodology. This includes understanding the assumptions on which control charts are based.

This online course, "Statistical Process Control" will go beyond the basics of SPC and present some improved control chart methods, some of which are just slight variations of the standard charts, with better ways of determining the control limits of standard charts such as an R-chart, p-chart, np-chart, c-chart and u-chart. These refinements were developed by the course instructor and by others. The course will also address the following questions. Are control chart assumptions important? If so, which ones are especially critical? What is the effect on control chart properties if the assumptions are not met? How should the assumptions be checked? What action(s) should be taken if the assumptions are not met?

Course Program:

WEEK 1: Review of Standard Shewhart Control Charts

  • X-bar chart
  • R-chart
  • X chart
  • p chart
  • np-chart
  • c chart
  • u chart

WEEK 2: Testing Shewhart Measurement Control Chart Assumptions and Corrective Action

  • The importance of adequate sample sizes. How large is adequate?
  • Is normality really assumed for an X-bar chart? Is there any distributional assumption? What should be tested, if anything?
  • Are there any R chart distributional assumptions? In particular, are ranges assumed to have a normal distribution?
  • Is normality assumed for an X chart? Is the X-chart distributional assumption the same as the X-bar chart distributional assumption?

WEEK 3: Testing Shewhart Attributes Control Charts Assumptions and Corrective Action

  • Distributional assumption for p-chart and np-chart? Same assumption?
  • Same distributional assumption for the c-chart and u-chart?
  • Testing distributional assumptions? Sensitivity of control chart properties to distributional assumptions.
  • Corrective action if assumptions are not met. Advantages and disadvantages of transformations. Assumptions other than distributional assumptions. How to test them.

WEEK 4: Control Limit Modifications of Shewhart Control Charts

  • The importance of lower control limits on certain charts.
  • Improved R-chart limits.
  • Why standard control limit expressions for attributes charts should not be used.
  • Review of proposed alternative methods for attributes charts control limits.
  • The Ryan-Schwertman method of determining control limits for a p-chart np-chart, c-chart, and u-chart.


Homework in this course consists of short answer questions to test concepts and guided data analysis problems using software.

In addition to assigned readings, this course also has discussion tasks.

Statistical Process Control


March 13, 2015 to April 10, 2015

Course Fee: $549

Do you meet course prerequisites? What about book & software? (Click here to learn more)

Tuition Savings:  When you register online for 3 or more courses, $200 is automatically deducted from the total tuition. (This offer cannot be combined and is only applicable to courses of 3 weeks or longer.)

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Add $50 service fee if you require a prior invoice, or if you need to submit a purchase order or voucher, pay by wire transfer or EFT, or refund and reprocess a prior payment. Please use this printed registration form, for these and other special orders.

Courses may fill up at any time and registrations are processed in the order in which they are received. Your registration will be confirmed for the first available course date, unless you specify otherwise.

Statistical Process Control

taught by Tom Ryan

Who Should Take This Course:

This course will benefit anyone who has received an introduction to SPC and is ready to learn some finer points that can be very important in enabling the proper and most efficient use of control charts. This includes Six Sigma black belts and, in general, everyone who uses control charts at a comparable level, as well as those people who are responsible for Six Sigma training programs.



These are listed for your benefit so you can determine for yourself, whether you have the needed background, whether from taking the listed courses, or by other experience.

If you are unclear as to whether you have mastered the above requirements, try these placement tests.

Participants should also be familiar with basic statistical process control (SPC) procedures and control charts.

Organization of the Course:

This course takes place online at the Institute for 4 weeks. During each course week, you participate at times of your own choosing - there are no set times when you must be online. Course participants will be given access to a private discussion board. In class discussions led by the instructor, you can post questions, seek clarification, and interact with your fellow students and the instructor.

At the beginning of each week, you receive the relevant material, in addition to answers to exercises from the previous session. During the week, you are expected to go over the course materials, work through exercises, and submit answers. Discussion among participants is encouraged. The instructor will provide answers and comments, and at the end of the week, you will receive individual feedback on your homework answers.

Time Requirement: about 15 hours per week, at times of  your choosing.

Students come to the Institute for a variety of reasons. As you begin the course, you will be asked to specify your category:
  1. You may be interested only in learning the material presented, and not be concerned with grades or a record of completion.
  2. You may be enrolled in PASS (Programs in Analytics and Statistical Studies) that requires demonstration of proficiency in the subject, in which case your work will be assessed for a grade.
  3. You may require a "Record of Course Completion," along with professional development credit in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEU's).  For those successfully completing the course, 5.0 CEU's and a record of course completion will be issued by The Institute, upon request.

Course Text:

The required text for this course is Statistical Methods for Quality Improvement, 3rd Edition, by Thomas P. Ryan.



Virtually all of the computations for the course can be handled using Microsoft Excel, as well as general purpose statistical software. This course does not require the use of specialized SPC software capabilities such as those found in Minitab, JMP and Statgraphics, though it does afford a useful opportunity to familiarize yourself with those features and understand them in the context of the underlying concepts behind SPC.

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