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Understanding Statistical Process Control as a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technician

Professional technologist using tablet in production plant checking productivity and quality.

In pharmaceutical manufacturing, maintaining high standards of quality control is extremely important. One of the ways manufacturers achieve this is through statistical process control (SPC), which is the application of statistical methods in order to improve quality control in manufacturing process. By employing SPC procedures, a pharmaceutical manufacturing technician can observe, monitor and record things like variability and help achieve continuous improvement.

SPC is extremely important for ensuring that pharmaceuticals are kept safe and consistent. If you’re considering a career as a pharmaceutical manufacturing technician, read on to learn more about SPC and why it matters.

Why Does a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technician Need to Understand SPC?

Because of strict regulations and consumer expectations, pharmaceutical companies need to ensure their products meet the highest standards of quality. It remains, after all, an industry that transforms and saves lives. As a pharmaceutical manufacturing technician, you’ll be responsible for operating equipment, adjusting different controls, monitoring process equipment, performing tests, and recording data while always adhering to GMP (good manufacturing practices) requirements.

Two Pharmaceutical Factory Workers Wearing Protective Work WearAs a pharmaceutical manufacturing technician, you’ll play an important part in SPC

You’ll also be responsible for carrying out statistic process control, which you’ll learn about in your pharmaceutical manufacturing program. The reason this is so important is that with SPC you can verify that a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility’s various processes are working as expected. Based on the data you record and the tests you perform in your role as a pharmaceutical manufacturing technician, you can quickly spot any deviations or problems and correct them.

The Control Chart Is a Common Feature of Statistical Process Control

In order to effectively accomplish these tasks, you’ll often depend on SPC tools like the control chart. The control chart is one of the most recognizable SPC tools. Developed in the early twentieth century by Walter Shewhart of Bell Labs, the control chart allows the observer to determine whether a manufacturing process is fully under control. With a control chart, you can use data and statistics to determine if anything seems out of the ordinary or requires further attention.

Through the use of control charts and other SPC tools, manufacturers can much better predict how a product will turn out at the end of the manufacturing process. This ensures that there is little variation between different individual products that are produced using the same manufacturing process. Maintaining that high standard of consistency is especially important in the pharmaceutical industry given that even small deviations could have potentially significant health impacts on people.

SPC Has Significant Advantages Over Other Types of Quality Control

One aspect of SPC that is especially important is that it places a strong emphasis on uncovering and preventing problems early. The use of statistics and data can point to unseen issues that can then be corrected before they become serious problems.

Technologist using laptop for entering test results while sitting in the lab. In background his assistant testing cosmetic products.With SPC you can help detect and prevent problems early on

As a pharmaceutical manufacturing technician, you should know that this emphasis on early detection gives SPC an advantage over other quality control processes. For example, while inspections of manufacturing facilities are also very important, such inspections tend to focus on correcting problems after they have occurred. With SPC, you can help ensure problems are prevented beforehand, which helps keep pharmaceuticals safe and ensures the manufacturing process runs smoothly.

Are you looking to pursue a new career?

Check out Oxford College’s pharmaceutical manufacturing course to learn more!

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