I am tasked with bringing up an SPC system within our moderately sized, but very technical, manufacturing company. It might be against the rules of this forum, or maybe bad form, to name specific companies, although if anyone is comfortable doing that, I'd certainly appreciate it (providing the opinion is fairly unbiased). Barring that, maybe either a list of companies that do offer such things, or a list of 3rd party web sites that critique and/or rank some of the SPC packages.

Here are the basics of what the software package would need:

  • it would need to interact with a database (we use MS SQL at my company). We could pass measurements & messages as options or arguments to a command line if DB access is not doable, although that is not ideal.
  • it needs to be live, always on / running
  • it needs to be able to communicate issues. Some examples: (a) send an e-mail to "some folks" when a chart is out of control, including relevant identifying information, (b) perhaps be integrated with a work-based social media sort of thing, such that anyone who signs up with the "quality control" group will get an OoC (out of control) alarm
  • have some nice & simple visuals (the standard SPC chart sort of thing, showing limits and ideally coloring the OoC stuff differently, or something). Nothing too fancy is needed here, although more interactive graphics would be a bonus.
  • have programmable limits (e.g., if we wanted to include some of the more obscure WEECO rules, we could... or alternatively, remove some of them that are not appropriate)
  • allow some sort of modeling pass through. I.e., if there are 100 metrics of interest and I want only 5 charts, max, then I could create a model based upon PCA, clustering, or something similar where I could find the combination of metrics that most clearly aligns with problems & root causes. So the original 100 metrics would go into my model, then my model would spit out the better aligned 5 metrics.
    • actually, come to think of it, this is moot: I can make all my relevant metrics published to a DB & have this SPC software talk to the DB. So as long as the first bullet point is there, this is moot.
  • Long term, this would probably become a project across maybe 6 different departments, generating on the order of 30 - 60 charts total, with maybe 5 - 20 measurement updates per day. I mention that for scoping concerns.

I appreciate any advice in advance! Happy Holidays!


  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 Objective, well-supported replies are welcome. This includes information based on experience, provided the nature of that experience is documented. Because it's possible there is a demonstrably best solution, I believe this question does not necessarily need to be made CW, although it could be converted later if the replies appear to warrant that. $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    Dec 9 '11 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Whuber, Thank you for your comments. May I ask, what does "CW" stand for? Regards, Mike $\endgroup$ Dec 9 '11 at 22:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "CW" = Community Wiki, Mike. It's SE-speak for giving different status to a question that is on-topic but likely would not have one best answer, such as questions probing for lists of things. I wrote that comment in response to a flag from a user who wondered whether this thread would be a suitable candidate for CW status. It was a good point; I think either option--CW or not--is valid. If you would prefer CW, just flag your question and a moderator will make the change. $\endgroup$
    – whuber
    Dec 9 '11 at 22:59

The R statistical program along with the qcc package fits your specified needs (and it is hard to beat the price):

  • There are several packages for interfacing with databases, RODBC being a common and useful one on MS windows.
  • You can leave it on as long as you want, you can program a regular event loop to check for new data and run a new set of charts and notifications if there is new data.
  • The mail and sendmailR packages were designed to automatically send e-mails.
  • It produces the standard SPC charts, these can go to the screen or a file to be sent out.
  • You can program your own tests for out of control signals
  • Full programming language with common (and uncommon) statistics so you can proproccess you data in many ways to reduce dimension.
  • You can have multiple instances running on multiple or a single computer, each processing for a single department, or you can combine it all into one script to run for all the departments.
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Greg, Thanks so much for the advice, and you are correct about the price, but I need something that is more "hands off" than 'R' allows. I am mildly savvy with 'R' myself, however I want this to work as a robust system that doesn't require any upkeep from me (after setting up charts, etc.), requires minimal upkeep from our IT dept, and will have very high up-time. These "manufacturing grade" qualifications make 'R' a less than ideal choice. $\endgroup$ Dec 9 '11 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ As an example, one piece of software which has so far peaked my interest is here: pqsystems.com/products/SPC/CHARTrunnerLean/… $\endgroup$ Dec 9 '11 at 22:55

i would recommend InfinityQS, its a great statistical software, complete and powerfull, some highlights are:

  • Real Time SPC Charts (depending project set up)
  • Shoop Floor Mode is a very cool feature that lets you see several charts in real time.
  • Statistical tools (CPK, PPK, DPMO, Robustness, Sigma ST, Sigma LT, Mean, etc a lot)
  • It has a SDK from the Company (special license needed)
  • Runs on Oracle or SQL.
  • Minimum management.
  • Create custom projects (based on your needs)
  • A very cool feature is the connectivity (you can comunicate or receive raw Data from other devices and fix that raw data into the value you want)
  • Set physical lights ON/OFF
  • Specification Limits/Control Limits
  • Alarms (prohibits data entry until is answered)
  • Email Service upon triggers.

I have 2 years in experience using the Proficient 3 Version (4 is available)... hope it helps.


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