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Course Title: Statistical Methods for Process Improvement:

Part 5: Understanding Process Capability

Davis M. Woodruff, PE, CMC

Course Outline

This 1 hour course presents an overview of Process Capability, what it means, how to calculate it and how to interpret the results. To get the most benefit, the participant should have completed Parts 1 (PDH 207) and 2 (PDH 208)  and 3 (PDH 209) of Statistical Methods for Process Improvement or other statistical methods courses. While some theory is essential to understanding this is not a theoretical course and is intended as a practical course for determining and using process capability information correctly.

This course will also provide help organizations that are either ISO 9001, 14001, 13485, TS 16949 or AS 9100 registered or seeking registration to meet the requirements for process and product monitoring and measurement as well as data analysis and continual improvement found in the standards.

This course discusses the following topic:

Practical illustrations are used throughout the course and these process improvement tools may be adapted to any business or business model.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the participant will:

Intended Audience

Any professional who is involved in process or product monitoring or measurement  or who needs to understand how to apply statistical methods to sustain effective process improvements.  Engineers, consultants and managers interested in understanding process or product monitoring and measurement as a part of the CI process and to more effectively manage your business using facts will benefit from this course on small sample statistics.

Benefit to Attendees

Course participants will learn how to use simple, powerful and practical statistical methods for process improvement that can guide fact based decision making through properly calculating and interpreting process capability.

Course Introduction

Process capability is often a stated requirement of customers and in other cases knowing capability is simply important to an organization to guide process improvement activities. Processes that are not capable of meeting required or desired tolerances will produce scrap and possibly lead to customer complaints or dissatisfaction. Processes that are under control and capable will do just the opposite.

Knowing how to calculate and interpret capability results can guide an organization in the direction of improving processes where the biggest gains can be obtained.

In Part 5 of Statistical Methods for Process Improvement we will learn how to conduct effective process capability studies, calculate the capability index (Cpk or CP) and interpret the results to lead to process improvements.

This 1 hour course presents a practical and common sense approach to understanding and using process capability indices.

Course Content

In this lesson, you are required to download and study the following course content in PDF format:

Course Title: Statistical Methods for Process Improvement: Part 5: Understanding Process Capability

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

This five part series of courses provides the information necessary to apply fundamental statistical concepts and methods for process improvement. Statistics can be theoretical and boring. In fact, many engineers dreaded taking “stats” in college, but now find that practical statistics are essential in today’s work place. This course, part 5, as well as the other 4 parts will provide an understanding of how to really use statistics for process improvement. This is not a course in probability theory or theoretical statistics.

Related Links and References

A suggested reading list and detailed glossary is included with each of these courses. Also, there are several articles posted on that can be downloaded and used along with these courses.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.