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Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?



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Six Sigma Tools & Templates Capability Indices/Process Capability Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) What is the

ProcessCapability (Cp, Cpk) and Process

Performance (Pp, Ppk) What is the
In the Six Sigma quality methodology, process performance is reported to the organization as a sigma level. The higher the
sigma level, the better the process is performing.

Another way to report process capability and process performance is through the statistical measurements of Cp, Cpk, P p,
and P pk. This article will present definitions, interpretations and calculations for Cpk andP pk though the use of forum
quotations. Thanks to everyone below that helped contributed to this excellent reference. MainMenu
Jump To The Following Sections:
Interpreting Cp , Cpk
New to Six Sigma

Interpreting P p , P pk Consultants
Differences Between Cpk and P pk
Calculating Cpk and P pk

Cp= Process Capability. A simple and straightforward indicator of process capability. Methodology
Cpk= Process Capability Index. Adjustment ofCp for the effect of non-centered distribution.
P p= Process Performance. A simple and straightforward indicator of process performance.
Tools & Templates
P pk= Process Performance Index. Adjustment ofP p for the effect of non-centered distribution. Training

Interpreting Cp , Cpk
Cpk is an index (a simple number) which measures how close a process is running to its specification limits, relative to the
natural variability of the process. The larger the index, the less likely it is that any item will be outside the specs. Neil

If you hunt our shoot targets with bow, darts, or gun try this analogy. If your shots are falling in the same spot forming a
good group this is a high Cp, and when the sighting is adjusted so this tight group of shots is landing on the bullseye, you
now have a high Cpk. Tommy[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

Cpk measures how close you are to your target and how consistent you are to around your average performance. A person
may be performing with minimum variation, but he can be away from his target towards one of the specification limit, which
indicates lower Cpk, whereasCp will be high. On the other hand, a person may be on average exactly at the target, but the
variation in performance is high (but still lower than the tolerance band (i.e., specification interval). In such case alsoCpk will
be lower, butCp will be high.Cpk will be higher only when you r meeting the target consistently with minimum variation. Ajit

You must have aCpk of 1.33 [4 sigma] or higher to satisfy most customers. Joe Perito
Consider a car and a garage. The garage defines the specification limits; the car defines the output of the process. If the car
is only a little bit smaller than the garage, you had better park it right in the middle of the garage (center of the specification) if What Is Six Sigma?
you want to get all of the car in the garage. If the car is wider than the garage, it does not matter if you have it centered; it will Sigma Calculator
not fit. If the car is a lot smaller than the garage (Six Sigma process), it doesnt matter if you park it exactly in the middle; it will
fit and you have plenty of room on either side. If you have a process that is in control and with little variation, you should be
Video Interviews
able to park the car easily within the garage and thus meet customer requirements.Cpk tells you the relationship between Ask the Experts
the size of the car, the size of the garage and how far away from the middle of the garage you parked the car. Ben
Problem Solving
The value itself can be thought of as the amount the process (car) can widen before hitting the nearest spec limit (garage Methodology Flowchart
door edge).
Your iSixSigma Profile
Cpk =1/2 means youve crunched nearest the door edge (ouch!)
Cpk =1 means youre just touching the nearest edge Industries
Cpk =2 means your width can grow 2 times before touching Operations
Cpk =3 means your width can grow 3 times before touching Larry Seibel

Interpreting Pp, Ppk

Process Performance Index basically tries to verify if the sample that you have generated from the process is capable to
meet Customer CTQs (requirements). It differs from Process Capability in that Process Performance only applies to a
specific batch of material. Samples from the batch may need to be quite large to be representative of the variation in the
batch. Process Performance is only used when process control cannot be evaluated. An example of this is for a short pre-
production run. Process Performance generally uses sample sigma in its calculation; Process capability uses the process
sigma value determined from either the Moving Range, Range or Sigma control charts. Praneet

Differences Between Cpk and P pk

Cpk is for short term,P pk is for long term. Sundeep Singh

P pk produces an index number (like 1.33) for the process variation.Cpk references the variation to your specification limits.
If you just want to know how much variation the process exhibits, aP pk measurement is fine. If you want to know how that
variation will affect the ability of your process to meet customer requirements (CTQs), you should use Cpk. Michael Whaley

It could be argued that the use ofP pk andCpk (with sufficient sample size) are far more valid estimates of long and short
term capability of processes since the 1.5 sigma shift has a shaky statistical foundation. Eoin

Cpk tells you what the process is CAPABLE of doing in future, assuming it remains in a state of statistical control.P pk tells
you how the process has performed in the past. You cannot use it predict the future, like with Cpk, because the process is
not in a state of control. The values forCpk andP pk will converge to almost the same value when the process is in statistical
control. that is because sigma and the sample standard deviation will be identical (at least as can be distinguished by an F-
test). When out of control, the values will be distinctly different, perhaps by a very wide margin. Jim Parnella

Cp andCpk are for computing the index with respect to the subgrouping of your data (different shifts, machines, operators,
etc.), whileP p andP pk are for the whole process (no subgrouping). For bothP pk andCpk the k stands for centralizing
facteur it assumes the index takes into consideration the fact that your data is maybe not centered (and hence, your index
shall be smaller). It is more realistic to useP pandP pk thanCp orCpk as the process variation cannot be tempered with by
inappropriate subgrouping. However,Cp andCpk can be very useful in order to know if, under the best conditions, the
process is capable of fitting into the specs or not.It basically gives you the best case scenario for the existing process.

Cp should always be greater than 2.0 for a good process which is under statistical control. For a good process under[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

statistical control,Cpk should be greater than 1.5. Ranganadha Kumar

As for P pk/Cpk, they mean one or the other and you will find people confusing the definitions and you WILL find books
defining them versa and vice versa. You will have to ask the definition the person is using that you are talking to. Joe Perito

I just finished up a meeting with a vendor and we had a nice discussion ofCpk vs. P pk. We had the definitions exactly
reversed between us. The outcome was to standardize on definitions and move forward from there. My suggestion to others
is that each company have a procedure or document (we do not), which has the definitions ofCpk andP pk in it. This
provides everyone a standard to refer to for WHEN we forget or get confused. John Adamo

The Six Sigma community standardized on definitions of Cp, Cpk, P p, andP pk from AIAG SPC manual page 80. You can
get the manual for about $7. Gary

CalculatingCpk and P pk
P p = (USL LSL)/6*
Cpl = (Mean LSL)/3*
Cpu = (USL Mean)/3*
Cpk= Min (Cpl , Cpu ) Ranganadha Kumar

Cpk is calculated using an estimate of the standard deviation calculated using R-bar/d2.P pk uses the usual form of the
standard deviation ie the root of the variance or the square root of the sum of squares divided by n 1. The R-bar/D2
estimation of the standard deviation has a smoothing effect and theCpk statistic is less sensitive to points which are further
away from the mean than is P pk. Eoin

Cpk is calculated using RBar/d2 or SBar/c4 for Sigma in the denominator of you equation. This calculation for Sigma
REQUIRES the process to be in a state of statistical control. If not in control, your calculation of Sigma (and hence Cpk) is
useless it is only valid when in-control. Jim Parnella

You can have a goodCpk yet still have data outside the specification, and the process needs to be in control before
evaluating Cpk. Matt

IfYou Loved This Article, You Might Also Love

1. Process Capability Index
2. Capability and Performance
3. Statistical Six Sigma Definition
4. Is there a difference between Six Sigma and "robust design"?
5. Cp

Tags: Capability, Cpk


Walt Crompton 13-04-2010, 04:41

Excellent summary!


tool maker 25-05-2010, 01:57

Very useful article on CP And CPK.

Have better understanding after reading this article, Thanks.


Allan117 25-06-2010, 08:28

Very Useful Article.. It helps me a lot in understanding the meaning and concept of Process CapabilityNow I[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

can start explaining this to all..Thanks a lot


Victor 29-07-2010, 19:33

I asked the below question of a software provider hoping he could explain why his software was giving me a
Cpk greater then 1.0 while having points out of spec? Can any one out there help me better understand ?

I still do not understand how Cpk can be greater than one with a point out of spec. your template must be
wrong. There is no way that you can have a CPK (not CP) greater than one with point (s) out of spec???????

His reply: Your question is incorrect

Cp and Cpk do not take into account where the process mean is located relative to the specifications. It
simply measures the spread.
Montgomery Intro to SPC 4th.

Cp and Cpk answer the question should it fit, not does it fit.


VGM 30-04-2012, 10:46

If your out-of-spec point is a flyer meaning that the balance of your population is much greater (or
less) than this flyer, then the calculation will still give you a Cpk greater than 1. However, rule #1 is your
process must be under control before you can caluculate a Cpk. Therefore it may indeed be that your
process is not under control and in this case all bets are off.


Frank Smith 28-08-2012, 11:10

Cpk measures process centering based on mean and STDEV not range. Depending on the n (number
of samples) in your data set a single outlier will have a large or small affect. Remember the formula is
this Cpk = (Mean LSL or USL if lower number is generated)/3*Std. The comments the formula doenst
work for outliers is partialy correct. Calculation of a Cpk is a performance metric to show process
control. It doesnt incorporate western electric rules. Also Cpk1.33 means 64 defects per million and
your process is running at 4 sigma. Link to conversion table provided.


Ben 09-08-2010, 15:01


Technically, your software provider is right (although not very helpful). The Cp & Cpk calculation is based on
the process mean & range and has nothing to do with how many points are in or out of spec. In actual
practice, this shouldnt happen very often. The Cpk is an indicator of how centered your process is (use Cp
and Cpk together to evaluate this).

The Cpk calculation assumes that the data is normally distributed. From the sounds of it, your data may not
be. A skewed distribution would throw off the range. If you havent checked for normality, Id start there.


victor 31-08-2010, 02:50

i have a big doubt, in calculation of cpk does it matter if the process acts like no-normal process or normal
process, wich curve should i take weibull, longest side, etc then if my process is unilateral how do i need to
calculate the procees performance???


LitSong 20-09-2010, 06:48[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

very good explaination..


HALEH ALLAMEH HAERY 23-09-2010, 04:29

the information given is very useful


B. C. Biswal 27-09-2010, 07:25

very good explanation


Ashish 26-10-2010, 03:14



anuragkhari 25-02-2011, 08:52

What is difference between Standard Deviation and Estimate Standard Deviation. Why Estimate Standard
Deviationcalculated in SPC.?


jasonw 10-03-2011, 17:22

how can you calculate Pp or Ppk when your standard deviation is 0?

You typically wouldnt calculate Pp or Ppk when st. dev. is 0. Pp/Ppk would be infinitely large. Either your
process is so good, any actual variation is small as compared to the specification or your
inspection/measurment method is invalid. Ensure measurement system analysis rules are followed.


jasonw 10-03-2011, 17:34

What is difference between Standard Deviation and Estimate Standard Deviation. Why Estimate Standard
Deviationcalculated in SPC.?

I think this answers your question:

Standard Deviation = Population and Estimate Standard Deviation = Sample

Estimate St Dev is used in SPC because thats what you are calculating for, a sample of the actual population.


bharat100 16-03-2011, 15:31

Hello all,

I am new to this forum. I have some question regarding capability metrices.

USL 1.35
LSL 1.11

Observation Results 1.15, 1.15, 1.16, 1.15, 1.15, 1.16, 1.15, 1.15, 1.16

Mean 1.1533
Std Dev 0.005

Cp = (1.35 1.11/ 6 * 0.005)

=8[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

CpK = Min (1.35 1.1533/ 3 * 0.005, 1.1533 1.11/ 3 * 0.005)

= Min (13.11, 2.88)
CpK = 2.88

After reading materials for capability index, it was clear that value above 2 for Cp and CpK is great. Process
has achieved 6 sigma capability.

But as we see my results are towards Lower Specification Limit. All are skewed to left of the plot.

Does still my process is known as 6 sigma capable?

My calculation is wrong?

Please clarify.



Frank Smith 28-08-2012, 11:21

You are presenting a very small sample size. I would first use this formula to calculate the needed n
values, but if your data holds yes you do have a six sigma process. THe first formula you used tells you
if it were centered you have a 8 sigma possibility, but perform lower because you are off center.


Fida 12-03-2013, 04:38

Bharat Change your USL and LSL


Khaja Mohinuddin 23-03-2011, 09:31

I have a process for Incident Management ,Which handles different Customers and different Customers has
different SLA like 240Mins .300Mins,480Mins ,720Mins etc..
Can anyone please help me in calculating the Cp and Cpk of this Process.
USL=? i am confused what is the USL bcoz it has different SLAs.
Plese help me in resolving this its urgent..


ano 04-04-2011, 02:12


think ur sd calculation is wrong.


bharat100 08-04-2011, 14:42


SD calculation is right.

I did it in Excel (0.005) as well as using math formula (0.0047).



ano 11-04-2011, 15:58

Bharat,[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

0.005 is variance. SD is square root of variance=0.070711

and cpk =min(0.92,0.204) = 0.204


bharat100 20-04-2011, 13:34


Sorry for late response.

There is some confusion

Let me show my calculation for standard deviation. I know Std.Deviation is Sq Rt of Variance.

Observation Results 1.15, 1.15, 1.16, 1.15, 1.15, 1.16, 1.15, 1.15, 1.16

Mean 1.1533

Std Dev = Sq.Rt [ (1.15 - 1.1533)^2 + (1.15 - 1.1533)^2 + (1.16 - 1.1533)^2 + (1.15 - 1.1533)^2 + (1.15 -
1.1533)^2 + (1.16 - 1.1533)^2 + (1.15 - 1.1533)^2 + (1.15 - 1.1533)^2 + (1.16 - 1.1533)^2/ 9]

6 observations of 1.15 and 3 observations of 1.16

(1.15 1.1533)^2 = 0.00001089 X 6 = 0.00006534

(1.16 1.1533)^2 = 0.00004489 X 3 = 0.00013467
Total = 0.0002000.1/9
= 0.0000222
Std Deviation = Sq rt (0.0000222)
Std Deviation = 0.0047


Ravi John 13-05-2012, 22:36

Bharat, i think your calculations are right, i worked out the same using minitab and excel as well..

TOTAL / MEAN 9.23 1.15

MIN / MAX 1.15 1.16
STD. DEV 0.0052
USL / LSL 1.35 1.11
Cp 7.73
CpU / CpL 12.64 2.82
CpK 2.82



Rohit Bedida 11-06-2012, 14:09

please note that while calculating the formula for standard deviation do not use N. Use N-1. Here i see
you divided your value by 9. Sample size become 8. you can use minitab for the correct results.
however, use hands until you are familiar


Andy 01-06-2011, 12:21


I agree, I think your calculations are correct

I think the problem is your small sample size.

If i do a minitab calculation of

Power and Sample Size

Test for Two Standard Deviations[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

Testing (StDev 1 / StDev 2) = 1 (versus not =)

Calculating power for (StDev 1 / StDev 2) = ratio
Alpha = 0.1
Method: Levenes Test

Size Power Ratio
9 0.9 4.55704
9 0.9 0.21944

The sample size is for each group.

This means that with only 9 samples, your 90% confidence limit for your standard deviation is a ratio between
0.2 and 4.5

I.E your actual standard deviation could be between

0.001 and 0.0225

worst case (0.0225), your CP values come out at

Min(2.91, 0.64)

If it was my process, I would take more samples

Size Power Ratio
50 0.9 1.59061
50 0.9 0.62869

I would also try to increase the precision of your measurements, as you could expect the difference between
1.15 and 1.16 to be measurement error.

So in short, the issue probably lies in your SD figure, not in your calculations but your method.


A S. Kaplan 14-06-2011, 14:45

The analogy we used at Motorola in the mid-eighties when Six Sigma was devloped:
Imagine we are the road crew painting a series of white stipes that form dotted lines down the center of the
With just a sampling of as little as three stripes, CP calculates the consistency of one stripe to another,
meaning How exactly alike are they?
And CPK measures how centered we are making the sequence of stripes that constitutes our dotted line Is
it exactly up the center? In the manufacturing business this would mean How centered is each piece
between its + and tolerances.
CP The more the slight variations, meaning the looser our process control becomes (people fatigue in the
hot sun, or because the machine occasionally sputters and splatters) the more likely the stripe will soon
become unacceptably long, short, or wide, thereby creating a statistical number of rejects per thousand, or per
million, etc. And
CPK The less centered we are, (as our vision starts to blur, or the truck wobbles to one side) the sooner we
can expect to reduce the lane size so that it is too small for cars to fit, or maybe we will even run off the road!
Hope this helps explain it to non-QAers.


Ankur 04-05-2012, 00:55

Really good description of Cpk & Ppk


Scott 10-05-2012, 10:21

I highly recommend all of you to quit using software. You need to understand the fundementals of this to even
being to know what any answer means. All mathematical calculations should be performed by hand only using
a calculator. By doing this you will understand what the answer means.


Suresh Rawal 20-06-2012, 10:23[3/28/2013 5:25:12 PM]

Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

Very useful informations.
Thanks and regards.
Suresh Rawal


Sam Mathews 25-07-2012, 23:51

Very apt articulation of the subject matter the concept has been explained quite lucidly. Thanks a ton


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Process Capability (Cp, Cpk) and Process Performance (Pp, Ppk) - What is the Difference?

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