Entropy and Assignable Causes


Left alone, a process in the Ideal State will migrate toward the State of Chaos over time. Wear and tear of parts in use will lead to breakdowns and failures. Even mothballed machines cannot escape deterioration and decay caused by the environment. Entropy affects everything.

However, the effects of entropy can be repaired. Signatures of deterioration and failure made apparent by process control charts provide clues as to what repairs need to be made when. But, a process isn’t affected just by entropy. Other assignable causes keep it from operating in a predictable fashion. Replacing worn out parts might pull a process out from the State of Chaos back to the Brink of Chaos, but it’s just a matter of time before it returns to it.

Process managers, through the proper use of process control charts, must counteract the effects of entropy and assignable causes to help their processes achieve the ideal state and stay there. This is a never ending cycle.

Note: I learned this material from reading Dr. Wheeler’s writings. My post is intended to reflect my current understanding. None of the ideas herein are original to me. Any errors are my failures alone.

References

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