Let us first understand what a Control Plan is. A Control Plan is a written summary description of the steps needed to control a process. It describes actions required to maintain the "desired state" of the process and minimize process and product variation. It is a living document, which evolves and changes with the process and product requirements. A control plan can be created for a process, a step in the process or even a piece of equipment, which is used in the process.
Why use a Control Plan?
A Control Plan provides a single point of reference for understanding process characteristics, specifications, and standard operation procedures also known as SOP for the process. A control plan enables assignment of responsibility for each activity within the process. This ensures that the process is executed smoothly and is sustainable in the long run.
Control Plan Strategy
A good Control Plan needs to be based on a well thought out strategy. A good control plan strategy should minimize the need of tampering the process. It should also clearly state the actions to be taken for out-of-control conditions. It should also raise appropriate indicators to indicate the need for Kaizen activities. A Control Strategy should describe the training requirements to ensure that everyone on the team is familiar with the standard operating procedures. In the case of an equipment control plan, it should also include details about maintenance schedule requirements.
In essence, a good control plan should clearly describe what actions to take, when to take them, and who should take them. It provides a clearly documented approach to be followed in case of variations and thereby reduces the "fire fighting" syndrome.
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