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Measurement System Analysis (MSA)

published on August 26, 2013

I am always an advocate of finding the right tool for your specific project, so I propose that you get to know MSA. It’s a great foundational tool and a great way to start building in the practice of good measurement within your organization. There are a few things you need to know when looking at your measurement system, let’s start with these.

What is a measurement system?

However your organization measures data, in Six Sigma we define your measurement system as ‘your complete process used to measure data’.  The thing to know about measurement systems is the more moving parts you have, the more potential sources of errors you have.

What effects measurements?

Measurements are effected by a variety of factors, but some of the usual suspects are:

Accuracy-The numerical difference between what you think and what actually is.

Linearity-The change in the operating system of your measuring system. Think about when you have a different operating system on your laptop. Screens are viewed and you may have some errors. Same principal.

Stability-Something about your measurement system is inconsistent. It may be the way you intake data or the way your process it, but something is not consistent.

Precision-This is all about how much variation occurs in whatever it is you are measuring.

What are the red flags?

If your measurement system give you a reason to pause before you do anything, take a look at the repeatability and reproducibility of your measurement system. When you are looking for repeatability, you are looking for the variation that occurs when you measure the same piece of data using the same measurement method.  For repeatability you are looking for the variation that occurs when different people measure the same thing using the same methods. To be fair there will always be some variation when multiple people are involved, but you want to get your measurement system as close to no variation as possible.

In creating your ideal situation, you may have to critical eye on your measurement system. It’s hard, but it is worth it. We will pick up on this subject next week and continue to fine tune your measurement systems!

published on August 26, 2013

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