An approach for implementing statistical process control and other statistical methods as a cost-savings measure in the treated-wood industries is outlined. The purpose of the study is to use industry data to improve understanding of the application of continuous improvement methods. Variation in wood treatment is a cost when higher-than-necessary chemical retention targets are required to meet specifications. The data for this study were obtained in confidence from the American Lumber Standard Committee and were paired, normalized assay retentions for charges inspected by both the treating facility and auditing agencies. Capability analyses were developed from this data for three use categories established by the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA), including UC3B (above ground, exterior), UC4A (ground contact, freshwater, general use), and UC4B (ground contact, freshwater, critical structures, or high decay hazard zones). Agency and industry data indicate that between 4.45 and 9.82 percent of the charges were below the lower confidence limit of the passing standard (LCLAWPA), depending on use category. A Taguchi loss function (TLF), which is quadratic based and decomposes the monetary loss into shift and variation components, was developed to estimate the additional cost due to process variation. For example, if a treatment input cost of $1.00/ft3 is assumed for UC3B, reducing the variation in total retention allows lowering treatment targets, e.g., 1.45 to 1.38, reducing costs to $0.76/ft3 . The study provides some important continuous improvement tools for this industry such as control charts, Cpk, Cpm capability indices, and the one-sided TLF.
Young, Timothy M.; Lebow, Patricia K.; Lebow, Stan; Taylor, Adam. 2020. Statistical process control and related methods for improvement of the treated-wood industries. Forest Products Journal. 70(2): 165-177.