Tips and Techniques for Statistics and Quality Improvement

Blog posts and articles about using Minitab software in quality improvement projects, research, and more.

By now you have probably heard about Companion by Minitab®, our software for executing and reporting on quality improvement projects.

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Control charts are excellent tools for looking at data points that seem unusual and for deciding whether they're worthy of investigation. If you use control charts frequently, then you're used to the idea that if certain subgroups reflect temporary abnormalities, you can leave them out when you calculate your center line and control limits. If you include points that you already know are different because of an...

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Before cutting an expensive piece of granite for a countertop, a good carpenter will first confirm he has measured correctly. Acting on faulty measurements could be costly.

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The 1949 film A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court includes the song “Busy Doing Nothing,” and this could be written about the Null Hypothesis as it is used in statistical analyses. 

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Rare events inherently occur in all kinds of processes. In hospitals, there are medication errors, infections, patient falls, ventilator-associated pneumonias, and other rare, adverse events that cause prolonged hospital stays and increase healthcare costs. 

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By some estimates, up to 70 percent of quality initiatives fail. Why do so many improvement programs, which are championed and staffed by smart, dedicated people, ultimately end up on the chopping block?

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For the majority of my career, I've had the opportunity to speak at conferences and other events somewhat regularly. I thought some of my talks were pretty good, and some were not so good (based on ratings, my audiences didn't always agree with either—but that's a topic for another post). But I would guess that well over 90% of the time, my proposals were accepted to be presented at the conference, so even though I...

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Users often contact Minitab technical support to ask how the software calculates the control limits on control charts.

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In Part 1 of my A New Spin on the "Stand in a Circle" Exercise blog, I described how Taiichi Ohno, the creator of the Toyota Production System, used the “Stand in a Circle” exercise to help managers identify waste in their operations. 

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As a member of Minitab's Technical Support team, I get the opportunity to work with many people creating control charts. They know the importance of monitoring their processes with control charts, but many don’t realize that they themselves could play a vital role in improving the effectiveness of the control charts.  

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