Analog Devices

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Write-Up 5: Analog Devices
Quality Control & International Certification

11/22/2011

The purpose of the half-life method is to produce achievable and realistic goals for quality performances and then monitor the actual performance against the goals. [1] The half-life method has a formula to calculate the time required to reduce the rate of defect (“defects” refer to errors, rework, unscheduled down time, lateness, accidents set up time and more) in a process by 50%. The foundation of the half-life system is the core of TQM which is Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act or ‘PDCA’ process. Following this process, quality improvement teams identify the cause of the defects; classify the defects by importance; recommend, design and test solutions; implement a solution; and return to the beginning of the cycle - identifying the next cause of the defect in the new process. The half-life method measures how fast a company is completing the PDCA cycles. The half-life method makes the assumption that “any defect level, subject to legitimate QIP [quality improvement processes], decreases at a constant [fractional] rate…” [1] This means that there a consistent improvement rate of a process when the half-life method of PDCA is applied. This improvement rate, or rate of decline of defects produced, can be calculated by a simple equation. The half-life method also assumes that processes that are more complex, both technically and organizationally, will have a longer half-life, because improvement per cycle will be small and the length per cycle will be long. Conversely, processes that are not technically or organizationally complex are expected to have shorter half-lives. To begin the half-life method, an organization must first adopt a TQM system that is implemented across the company. Just adopting the half-life system, will not create sustainable quality improvements. With the support in management for company-wide TQM, the half-life method begins in the “Plan” phase of...
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