Descriptors are categorical variables that identify individual observations or subgroups. For example, your company may collect supplier lot numbers, shift identifiers, and measuring device identifiers. These data are collected to enable traceability of product and improve quality analysis through data reporting, root cause analysis, and predictive analytics analysis.


Descriptors are available through the Engineering portal.

Each descriptor in the Descriptor Library has several attributes that you can specify.
  • Name: Use a unique name for each descriptor.

    You can edit a descriptor name to update all instances of the descriptor in the system. You can also delete a descriptor from the library, which will make the descriptor unavailable for future data collections. However, information from previous collections remains for reporting purposes.

  • Type: Use descriptor type to organize your descriptors. For example, use Operations descriptors to describe measurement gages and use Materials descriptors to describe raw material lots.
  • Scope: Select whether the descriptor scope is by product or is global.
  • Use: Select whether the descriptor values apply to an entire subgroup or to individual observations.
You can also specify how to collect values during data collection.
  • Enter values: The operator enters descriptor values during data collection.

    The supplied descriptor values can be shared across stations and other hierarchy groups. Specify how long to retain these values before purging.

  • Select from a list: Create a fixed list in Real-Time SPC.
  • Select from a list (Connect data table): Use a fixed list from Minitab Connect.

Once defined, Engineers will be able to associate descriptors with specific product-processes and include them in sampling plans, similar to how they currently set up continuous process variables. Operators will be able to collect descriptor information using the same manual, gage-assisted, and automatic methods used for collecting continuous process variable data.

For reporting, the Process Quality Snapshot will be updated to support descriptor-based filters, and the subgroup/individual observation detail panel of control charts in the Operations portal and Process Quality Snapshot will be updated to include descriptor data.

Finally, descriptor information will be exportable alongside other process variables for analysis in external applications like Minitab.

Example of adding a new descriptor to the Descriptor Library

The Flavorful Fruit Company adds new descriptors for material lots.

  1. Open the Descriptors page in the Engineering portal.
  2. Select New .
  3. Enter a name, type, scope, and use. For this example, we add the Sugar Batch descriptor that is Materials type, Product scope, and applies to entire subgroups.
  4. Select Enter values to add values during data collection.
  5. Select OK to save your changes.

Add descriptors to the product and process

You can add categorical descriptor variables, such as lot numbers or other identifiers to a particular process for a particular product.
  1. Go to the Components page and select a product. Then select the process flow step of your product.
  2. Open the process step and go to the Descriptors section to access the categorical descriptors available with this product and process.
  3. Begin typing to add Product descriptor variables to this product and process. By default, Global descriptors have been added.
  4. Save your changes.