Capacity and Demand

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The amount of data that is available to everyone is growing at a rapid pace and we are all swamped with masses of information. Time is spent collecting it, manipulating it, requesting it and looking for it but do we make best use of it? It can be difficult to identify a particular issue or identify a trend from data presented.

As the quality of products and processes has improved again and again over the last 100 years, one of the most important tools manufacturing has used is Statistical Process Control. SPC allows objective measurement of capacity, demand, capability and, above all, quality. SPC is used around the world to manufacture almost every product you can buy. Despite using complex statistics to prove the theory, in practice SPC is easy to use with PCs doing all the hard work.

In manufacturing SPC is used to control demand and activity as well as measuring quality, it is used as a predictive tool and a tool to monitor changes long before the changes become a serious issue. So, why is it not used more extensively in Healthcare? The answer is that Statistical Process Control and its uses are not widely taught and staff do not know how to use it.

However, some Healthcare services are beginning to use it to measure things like clinic attendances, waiting lists, activity, demand and quality of outcomes.

The overall aim of this module is to give you a broad understanding of capacity and demand and SPC (Statistical Process Control), as well as introductory knowledge of process capability, variation and demand/queues. This module looks at: demand, capacity, activity, backlog and variation. It will teach learners how to construct simple run charts and how to use them to analyse data.

Having completed this module learners will be able to:

  • Generate a run chart
  • Differentiate between capacity, demand, activity and backlog
  • Use Pareto analysis to prioritise activities


Lesson Plan


Sections within the module include:

  • Welcome and Learning Objectives
  • Introduction
  • SPC Theory
  • Process Capability
  • Variation
  • Demand and Queues and Summary



The content of this course has been independently certified as conforming to universally accepted Continuous Professional Development (CPD) guidelines.


On completion of this course you will be able to download a College certificate.


Approximately 3 - 4 hours. The length of time taken depends entirely on how quickly you can study and absorb the material. You can proceed as quickly or slowly as you like.

Target Audience


This module is aimed at anyone whose role it is to manage, measure, monitor or analyse statistical data. This module is focused around a Healthcare setting, and uses examples and scenarios from an NHS perspective.

However, this module would also be useful to anyone outside of this sector who would like to understand Capacity and Demand and Statistical Process Control.


Entry Requirements


There are no specific entry requirements for this module.

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