Control charts for variables monitor characteristics that can be measured and have a continuous scale, such as height, weight, volume, or width. When an item is inspected, the variable being monitored is measured and recorded. For example, if we were producing candles, height might be an important variable. We could take samples of candles and measure their heights. Two of the most commonly used control charts for variables monitor both the central tendency of the data (the mean) and the variability of the data (either the standard deviation or the range). Note that each chart monitors a different type of information. When observed values go outside the control limits, the process is assumed not to be in control. Production is stopped, and employees attempt to identify the cause of the problem and correct it.
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