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About this lesson
Measurement systems are used to collect data for business decisions including improvement projects. The measurement process using these systems have variation, just like all business processes. This variation can be categorized in many ways, but all leads to the potential for errors in the data.
When to use
When collecting data, measurement systems are used. When using these systems, the business leader needs to know the types of measurement variation inherent in their system.
Business decisions are normally made with data. For example, the improvement process of a Lean Six Sigma project relies on data in many phases. Therefore an effective measurement system is needed to support a Lean Six Sigma project.
- Measure phase – data is used to establish a performance baseline and describe the problem.
- Analyse phase – data is used to determine the true root cause(s) of the problem.
- Improve phase – data is used to demonstrate that the solution is effective at reducing or eliminating the problem.
- Control phase – data is used to monitor process performance and determine control plan actions needed for process control.
Measurement systems work by comparing the item being observed to a standard of measure to determine the number of units of measure represent the item. Therefore, the measurement system includes the unit being measured and the standard of measure.
However, the system also includes components of measurement error. If those components are small, their influence on the observed measurement is small. However, if the components are large, the influence on the observed measures can be so significant that the observed measure no longer accurately represents the item being measured. The diagram below shows this relationship and the categories of measurement error.
Hints & tips
- Every measurement system has errors. But there are not necessarily errors in every category.
- Measurement systems are used extensively throughout business whenever data is collected. Although we focus measurement system analysis on manufacturing and design measurements, it is equally applicable to any other type of data.
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