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Supporting SMEs in the use of advanced statistical tools for product and process improvement

Lookup NU author(s): David Stewardson, Dr Shirley ColemanORCiD, Matt Linsley


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This paper outlines some of the experiences of a UK based University run industry-support group that is partly dedicated to helping Manufacturing SMEs to improve their output. Helping SME does tend to present problems that are different from those that are encountered when assisting larger companies. We outline some of the difficulties, such as lack of staff time, funding issues, lack of skills availability and the need for rapid solutions, as well as the various opportunities and methods of overcoming these. We recommend what we think is the most successful overall strategy. This involves collaborating groups of SMEs, from different industrial sectors, acting together to solve common problems, supported by the University and a larger mentor company in partnership. We review some cases, involving the use of Designed experiments, SPC, quality tools and Gauge R&R, often in tandem. We also show how, in some cases, otherwise good results can be spoiled by subsequent events, and provide examples of these.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stewardson D, Coleman S, Linsley M

Editor(s): Izykowski S., Pietrus P.

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Modern Trends in Manufacturing, Second International CAMT Conference

Year of Conference: 2003

Pages: 361-370

Publisher: CAMT

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 837085690X