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Failure Mode Analysis

Blog posts and articles about the quality tool called FMEA, or Failure Mode and Effect Analysis.

Before I joined Minitab, I worked for many years in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences as a writer and editor. I frequently wrote about food science and particularly food safety, as I regularly needed to report on the research being conducted by Penn State's food safety experts, and also edited course materials and bulletins for professionals and consumers about ensuring they had safe... Continue Reading
There is more than just the p value in a probability plot—the overall graphical pattern also provides a great deal of useful information. Probability plots are a powerful tool to better understand your data. In this post, I intend to present the main principles of probability plots and focus on their visual interpretation using some real data. In probability plots, the data density distribution... Continue Reading

7 Deadly Statistical Sins Even the Experts Make

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My main objective is to encourage greater use of statistical techniques in the service sector and present new ways to implement them. In a previous blog, I presented an approach you can use  to identify process steps that may be improved in the service sector (quartile analysis). In this post I'll show how nonparametric distribution analysis may be implemented in the service sector to analyze... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger For want of a nail the shoe was lost,For want of a shoe the horse was lost,For want of a horse the rider was lostFor want of a rider the battle was lostFor want of a battle the kingdom was lostAnd all for the want of a horseshoe nail. (Lowe, 1980, 50) According to the old nursery rhyme, "For Want of a Nail," an entire kingdom was lost because of the lack of one... Continue Reading
In the past couple of years, I've noticed a new acronym popping up across the Web. In case you've not yet encountered it, "FML" typically appears in social media updates about something gone awry.  As in, "The cat ate my homework. FML!"  Or, "My production line just broke down, and now the company is going to be short on a major order. FML!"  This acronym reminds me of an abbreviation used in... Continue Reading
In industry, it may be presses and CNC machines. In education, it may be computers and microscopes. In retail, it may be the forklifts in the warehouse.  Regardless of your industry or the size of your business, in all likelihood you have one or more pieces of capital equipment that must be regularly maintained.  Typically these expensive pieces of equipment come with routine maintenance plans. ... Continue Reading
I have been riding my bike to work lately instead of taking my car. I figured I could use the exercise. I figured it would be good for my health. I figured it might help stave off global warming. I figured wrong.   I’ve noticed lately that the sky seems to get darker a little earlier every day. I asked my wife if she had noticed the same thing and she said, “When are going to take out that garbage... Continue Reading
Every so often I get to interview someone who applies quality methodology in ways I wouldn't have imagined before I began working at Minitab. For instance, I spoke with the quality manager for a world-renowned medical center not long ago. This facility is consistently included in U.S. News and World Report's list of America’s Best Hospitals, but even the best hospitals occasionally have “sentinel ... Continue Reading
Balancing Cost, Quality and Delivery Let's talk about risk-based testing. I should start by saying that this is a sensitive subject. It’s why a career in quality is not for the faint of heart. The fact is that cost, quality and delivery are at constant odds in every industry, including software. Quality professionals play a key role in this balancing act. And, whenever things become "unbalanced,"... Continue Reading
Before being told by Han Solo to never tell him the odds, C-3P0 calculated that the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field was approximately 3,720 to 1. Perhaps if Chewbacca had done a Failure Mode and Effect Analysis on the hyperdrive, they wouldn’t have had to fly into an asteroid field. But I digress. You might think that Han defied the laws of probability by surviving... Continue Reading