In my last post on
DMAIC tools for the Define phase, we reviewed various graphs
and stats typically used to define project goals and
customer deliverables. Let’s now move along to the tools you can
use in Minitab
Statistical Software to conduct the Measure phase.
Measure Phase Methodology
The goal of this phase is to measure the process to
determine its current performance and quantify the problem.... Continue Reading
People frequently have different opinions. Usually that's
fine—if everybody thought the same way, life would be pretty
boring—but many business decisions are based on opinion. And when
different people in an organization reach different conclusions
about the same business situation, problems follow.
Inconsistency and poor quality result when people being asked to
make yes / no, pass / fail, and... Continue Reading
Ahoy, matey! Ye’ve come to the right place to learn about Value
Stream Maps (VSM). Just as a treasure map can lead a band o’
pirates to buried treasures, so too can the VSM lead a process
improvement bilge rat to the loot buried deep inside a process!
Minitab’s Quality Companion has an easy-to-use VSM tool to guide
value stream map to illustrate the flow of materials... Continue Reading
The line plot is an incredibly
agile but frequently overlooked tool in the quest to better
understand your processes.
In any process, whether it's baking a cake or processing loan
forms, many factors have the potential to affect the outcome.
Changing the source of raw
materials could affect the strength of plywood a factory produces.
Similarly, one method of gluing this plywood might be better... Continue Reading
If you’re familiar with Lean Six Sigma, then you’re familiar
DMAIC is the acronym for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and
Control. This proven problem-solving strategy provides a structured
5-phase framework to follow when working on an improvement
This is the first post in a five-part series that focuses on the
tools available in Minitab Statistical
Software that are most... Continue Reading
A member of Minitab's LinkedIn
group asked how to create a chart to monitor change by
month, specifically comparing last year's data to this year's data.
My last post showed how to do this using an
Individuals Chart of the differences between this year's and
last year's data. Here's another approach suggested by a
participant in the group.
Applying Statistical Thinking
An individuals chart of the... Continue Reading
Reliability analysis is the perfect tool for calculating the
proportion of items that you can expect to survive for a specified
period of time under identical operating conditions. Light bulbs—or
lamps—are a classic example. Want to calculate the number of light
bulbs expected to fail within 1000 hours? Reliability analysis can
help you answer this type of question.
But to conduct the analysis... Continue Reading
2 of this blog series, I wrote about how statistical
inference uses data from a sample of individuals to reach
conclusions about the whole population. That’s a very powerful
tool, but you must check your assumptions when you make statistical
inferences. Violating any of these assumptions can result in false
positives or false negatives, thus invalidating your
The common... Continue Reading
Pareto charts are a special type of bar chart you can use to
prioritize almost anything. This makes them very useful in making
sound decisions. For example, if you have several possible quality
improvement projects, but not enough time or people to do them all
now, you can use a Pareto chart to identify which projects have the
most potential for making meaningful improvement.
Pareto charts look... Continue Reading
At the inaugural Minitab Insights Conference in September,
presenters Benjamin Turcan and Jennifer Berner discussed
how to present data effectively. Among the considerations they
discussed was choosing the right graph.
Different graphs are good for different things. Of course,
opinions about which graph is best can, and do, differ. Dotplot
devotees might decide that they are demonstrably... Continue Reading
If your work involves quality improvement, you've at least
heard of Design of Experiments (DOE). You probably know
it's the most efficient way to optimize and improve your process.
But many of us find DOE intimidating, especially if it's not a tool
we use often. How do you select an appropriate design, and ensure
you've got the right number of factors and levels? And after you've
gathered your... Continue Reading
No matter how experienced you are at analyzing data,
communicating about your results can be a tremendous challenge. So
it's not surprising that "Effectively Reporting Your Data Analysis"
was one of the best-attended sessions at the inaugural Minitab
Insights Conference last month.
The presenters, Benjamin Turcan and Jennifer Berner of First
Niagara Bank, have a great deal of experience improving...Continue Reading
Every day, thousands of people withdraw extra cash for daily
expenses. Each transaction may be small, but the total amount of
cash dispersed over hundreds or thousands of daily transactions can
be very high. But every bank branch has a fixed cash flow, which
must be set without knowing what each customer will need on a given
day. This creates a challenge for financial entities. Customers
expect... Continue Reading
A reader asked a great
question in response to a post I wrote
about Pareto charts. Our readers typically do ask great questions,
but this one turned out to be more difficult to answer than it
My correspondent wrote:
My understanding is that when you have count data, a
bar chart is the way to go. The gaps between the bars emphasize
that the data are not measured on a continuous scale.... Continue Reading
The ultimate goal of most quality improvement projects is clear:
reducing the number of defects, improving a response, or making a
change that benefits your customers.
We often want to jump right in and start gathering and analyzing
data so we can solve the problems. Checking your measurement
systems first, with methods like attribute agreement analysis or
Gage R&R, may seem like a needless waste... Continue Reading
We hosted our first-ever Minitab Insights conference in
September, and if you were among the attendees, you already know
the caliber of the speakers and the value of the information they
shared. Experts from a wide range of industries offered a lot of
great lessons about how they use data analysis to improve business
practices and solve a variety of problems.
I blogged earlier about five key...Continue Reading
If you were among the 300 people who attended the first-ever
Minitab Insights conference in September, you already know how
powerful it was. Attendees learned how practitioners from a
wide range of industries use data analysis to address a variety of
problems, find solutions, and improve business practices.
In the coming weeks and months, we will share more of the great
insights and guidance shared... Continue Reading
We’ve got a plethora of case studies showing how businesses from different
industries solve problems and implement solutions with data
analysis. Take a look for ideas about how you can use data analysis
to ensure excellence at your business!
Boston Scientific, one of the world’s leading developers of
medical devices, is just one organization who has shared their
story. A team at their Heredia,... Continue Reading
I confess: I'm not a natural-born decision-maker. Some people—my
wife, for example—can assess even very complex situations, consider
the options, and confidently choose a way forward. Me? I get
anxious about deciding what to eat for lunch. So you can imagine
what it used to be like when I
needed to confront a really big decision or problem. My approach,
to paraphrase the Byrds, was "Re:... Continue Reading
Minitab is the leading provider of software and services for quality
improvement and statistics education. More than 90% of Fortune 100 companies
use Minitab Statistical Software, our flagship product, and more students
worldwide have used Minitab to learn statistics than any other package.
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countries around the world.