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Project Tools

Blog posts and articles about tools and techniques that help keep Lean and Six Sigma projects on track.

If betting wasn't allowed on horse racing, the Kentucky Derby would likely be a little-known event of interest only to a small group of horse racing enthusiasts. But like the Tour de France, the World Cup, and the Masters Tournament, even those with little or no knowledge of the sport in general seem drawn to the excitement over its premier event—the mint juleps, the hats...and of course,... Continue Reading
Minitab Statistical Software was born out of a desire to make statistics easier to learn: by making the calculations faster and easier with computers, the trio of educators who created the first version of Minitab sought to free students from intensive computations to focus on learning key statistical concepts. That approach resonated with statistics instructors, and today Minitab is the standard... Continue Reading
Minitab Statistical Software offers many features that can save you time and effort when you’re learning statistics or analyzing data. However, when we demonstrate many of these short cuts, tools, and capabilities at shows and events, we find that even some longtime users aren’t aware of them. I asked members of our sales team and technical support staff to list some of Minitab’s most helpful, yet... Continue Reading
The Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology are at it again! A few months back, we blogged about the Six Sigma project they did to reduce food waste at the on-campus dining center. This time, the students—lead by Dr. Diane Evans, Six Sigma black belt and associate professor of mathematics at Rose-Hulman—are performing a Lean Six Sigma project to reduce the amount of recycling... Continue Reading
It’s common to think that process improvement initiatives are meant to cater only to manufacturing processes, simply because manufacturing is where Lean and Six Sigma began. However, many other industries, in particular financial services and banking, also rely on data analysis and Lean Six Sigma tools to improve processes. Rod Toro is a business process improvement manager at Edward Jones, and I... Continue Reading
I wrote a post a few years back on the difficulties that can ensue when you’re just trying to get started on your Lean Six Sigma or quality improvement initiative. It can become especially difficult when you have many potential projects staring at you, but you aren’t quite sure which one will give you the most bang for your buck. A project prioritization matrix can be a good place to start when you... Continue Reading
By now, you probably know that Minitab 17 includes Design of Experiments (DOE) in the Assistant. We already spent some time looking at 5 highlights when you create a screening experiment with the Assistant in Minitab 17. But the Assistant can also help you make sense of the data you collect for your experiment. After you create a design with the Assistant, choose Assistant > DOE > Analyze... Continue Reading
The 2014 ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement is coming up in early May in Dallas, and this year’s International Team Excellence Award Process (ITEA) will also come to a close at the conference, as winners from the finalist teams will be chosen for ASQ gold, silver, or bronze-level statuses. What’s ITEA? The annual ASQ ITEA process celebrates the accomplishments of quality improvement... Continue Reading
With more options, come more decisions. With equivalence testing added to Minitab 17, you now have more statistical tools to test a sample mean against target value or another sample mean. Equivalence testing is extensively used in the biomedical field. Pharmaceutical manufacturers often need to test whether the biological activity of a generic drug is equivalent to that of a brand name drug that... Continue Reading
by Laerte de Araujo Lima, guest blogger In a previous post (How Data Analysis Can Help Us Predict This Year's Champions League), I shared how I used Minitab Statistical Softwareto predict the 2013-2014 season of the UEFA Champions league. This involved the regression analysis of main critical-to-quality (CTQ) factors, which I identified using the “voice of the customer” suggestions of some... Continue Reading
Remember "The Little Engine That Could," the children's story about self-confidence in the face of huge challenges? In it, a train engine keeps telling itself "I think I can" while carrying a very heavy load up a big mountain. Next thing you know, the little engine has done it...but until that moment, the outcome was uncertain. It's a wonderful story for teaching kids about self-confidence. But... Continue Reading
Now that you’ve seen how to automatically import data and run analyses in my previous post, let’s create the Monthly Report! I will be using a Microsoft Word Document (Office 2010) and adding bookmarks to act as placeholders for the Graphs, statistics, and boilerplate conclusions. Let’s go through the steps to accomplish this: Open up an existing report that you have previously created in Microsoft... Continue Reading
As a member of Minitab’s Consulting and Custom Development Services team, I get to help companies across a variety of industries create many different types of reports for management. These reports often need to be generated weekly or monthly. I prefer to automate tasks like this whenever possible, so that new or updated reports can be created without much effort. A little investment up front can... Continue Reading
When you're evaluating a dataset, graphical analysis can be very important. While an analysis like a regression or ANOVA can be backed up by numbers, being able to visualize how your dataset is behaving can be even more convincing than a group of p-values—especially to those who aren’t trained in statistics. For example, let’s look at a few variables we think may be correlated. In this specific... Continue Reading
If you’ve been looking at Minitab 17, you’ve noticed a lot of new enhancements. For me, the biggest of these is the addition of Design of Experiments (DOE) to the Assistant. DOE in the Assistant has so many exciting aspects it’s hard to take it all in at once, but here are 5 highlights for when you plan and create a screening experiment: 1. Just-in-time guidance If you’re lucky, you’ve had the... Continue Reading
Ughhh... your process is producing some parts that don't meet your customer's specifications! Fortunately, after a little hard work, you find a way to improve the process. However, you want to perform the appropriate statistical analysis to back up your findings and make it easier to explain the process improvements to your boss. And it's important to remember that your boss is much like the boss... Continue Reading
Many Six Sigma and quality improvement tools could be applied in other areas. For example, I wonder whether my son's teachers could benefit from a little attribute agreement analysis.  He seemed frustrated the other day when I picked him up at school. He'd been working on a presentation that needed to be approved by his teachers. (My son attends a charter school, and each class is taught by a... Continue Reading
In April 2012, I wrote a short paper on binary logistic regression to analyze wine tasting data. At that time, François Hollande was about to get elected as French president and in the U.S., Mitt Romney was winning the Republican primaries. That seems like a long time ago… Now, in 2014, Minitab 17 Statistical Softwarehas just been released. Had Minitab 17, been available in 2012, would have I... Continue Reading
By popular demand, Release 17 of Minitab Statistical Software comes with a new graphical analysis called the Bubble Plot. This exploratory tool is great for visualizing the relationships among three variables on a single plot. To see how it works, consider the total medal count by country from the recently completed 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Suppose I want to explore whether there might be a... Continue Reading