Control Plan

A control plan lists all product and process inspection points required to deliver a defect-free outcome, and is essential for maintaining process control over the long run.

See the control plan training PPT for a training file and control plan excel template for a streamlined template.

While the control plan example on this page is manufacturing related, the same concept can be adapted to any number of physical or transactional work processes.

Here is a simple control plan for an assembly operation in a furniture manufacturing plant –

control plan example
Control Plan Columns

Columns in a Control Plan

The following columns make up a typical control plan –

Control PLan ColumnDescription
PART/PROCESS NUMBERThis is typically the process step number that matches both the process flow diagram and PFMEA
PROCESS NAME/DESCRIPTIONA clear description of each process step, i.e., “Drive screws 1 and 2”
MACHINE, DEVICE JIG, TOOLs FOR MFGDevices and reference numbers (also noted on the devices themselves) for the major items needed to complete the task, i.e., “Electric screwdriver 987-01A1”
CHARACTERISTICS – NUMBERThis is a reference number for each characteristic being monitored. Control plans typically monitor product and process characteristics. For example, when manufacturing a disposable coffee cup, a product characteristic might be the overall height of the cup, and a process characteristic might be the curing temperature for the adhesive joining the top to the bottom of the cup.
CHARACTERISTICS – PRODUCTIf the characteristic being monitored is related to the product itself, fill in a brief description of the characteristic, i.e., “Screw torque”
CHARACTERISTICS – PROCESSIf the characteristic being monitored is related to the process, fill in a brief description of the characteristic, i.e., “Glue temperature.”
CTQ?Note “Yes” if the characteristic is a CTQ (Critical-to-Quality).
PRODUCT/PROCESS SPECIFICATION AND TOLERANCENote the specific product or process specification and tolerance for the characteristic being monitored, i.e., “Back-out screw torque between 26 and 29 in-lb”
EVALUATION/MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUENote the method used for measuring the characteristic, i.e., “Digital Calipers”
SAMPLE SIZEIf a random sample is drawn from production at some frequency, note the size of the sample. For example, a sample size of 5 is commonly used with some control charts. This is also referred to as the subgroup size in control charting.
SAMPLE FREQUENCYNote how many times per shift or hour a sample group is to be measured
CONTROL METHODNote the method by which process control is maintained, i.e., “Control Chart”
REACTION PLANNote how the associate is to react if a deviant condition is found
Control Plan Columns

While Excel control plans are very useful, more companies are moving to cloud-based collaboration tools for control plans. We took the above control plan and entered it into in about 20 minutes. Here are some screenshots and comments.