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Six Sigma

Blog posts and articles about using data analysis and statistical methods in Six Sigma quality improvement projects.

By Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger.   Many statistical tests assume the data being tested came from a normal distribution. Violating the assumption of normality can result in incorrect conclusions. For example, a Z test may indicate a new process is more efficient than an older process when this is not true. This could result in a capital investment for equipment that actually results in higher... Continue Reading
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
By Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger.   Minitab Statistical Software can assist us in our analysis of data, but we must make judgments when selecting the data for an analysis. A good operational definition can be invaluable for ensuring the data we collect can be effectively analyzed using software. Dr. W. Edwards Deming explains in Out of the Crisis (1989), “An operational definition of safe, round,... Continue Reading
In previous posts, I discussed the results of a recycling project done by Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology last spring. (If you’re playing catch up, you can read Part I and Part II.) The students did an awesome job reducing the amount of recycling that was thrown into the normal trash cans across all of the institution’s academic buildings. At the end of the spring... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger.  The old saying “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, then it must be a duck” may be appropriate in bird watching; however, the same idea can’t be applied when observing a statistical distribution. The dedicated ornithologist is often armed with binoculars and a field guide to the local birds and this should be sufficient. A... Continue Reading
This week I'm at the American Society for Quality's World Conference on Quality and Improvement in Nashville, TN. The ASQ conference is a great opportunity to see how quality professionals are tackling problems in every industry, from beverage distribution to banking services.  Given my statistical bent, I like to see how companies apply tools like ANOVA, regression, and especially... Continue Reading
by Lion "Ari" Ondiappan Arivazhagan, guest blogger.   Predicting project completion times is one of the major challenges project managers face. Project schedule overruns are quite common due to the high uncertainty in estimating the amount of time activities require, a lack of historical data about project completion, organizational culture, inadequate skills, the complex and elaborative nature of... Continue Reading
Suppose that you have designed a brand new product with many improved features that well help create a much better customer experience. Now you must ensure that it is manufactured according to the best quality and reliability standards, so that it gets the excellent long-term reputation it deserves from potential customers. You need to move quickly and seamlessly from Research and Development into... Continue Reading
I am M. G - L - M. That G - L - M! That G - L - M! I do not like That G - L - M. Do you like Means and histograms? I do not like them, G - L - M. I do not like Means and histograms. Would you like them Halved or squared? Would you like them As a pair? I would not like them Halved or squared. I would not like them As a pair. I do not like Means and histograms. I do not like them, G - L - M. Would you like... Continue Reading
by Lion "Ari" Ondiappan Arivazhagan, guest blogger.  An alarming number of borewell accidents, especially involving little children, have occurred across India in the recent past. This is the second of a series of articles on Borewell accidents in India. In the first installment of the series, I used the G-chart in Minitab Statistical Software to predict the probabilities of innocent children... Continue Reading
One of my favorite bloggers about the application of statistics in health care is David Kashmer, an MD and MBA who runs and writes for the Business Model Innovation in Surgery blog. If you have an interest in how quality improvement methods like Lean and Six Sigma can be applied to healthcare, check it out.  A while back, Dr. Kashmer penned a column called "How to Measure a Process When There's... Continue Reading
In part 1 of this post, I covered how Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology cleaned up and prepared project data for a regression analysis. Now we're ready to start our analysis. We’ll detail the steps in that process and what we can learn from our results. What Factors Are Important? We collected data about 11 factors we believe could be significant: Whether the date of... Continue Reading
By Peter Olejnik, guest blogger. Previous posts on the Minitab Blog have discussed the work of the Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to reduce the quantities of recyclables that wind up in the trash. Led by Dr. Diane Evans, these students continue to make an important impact on their community. As with any Six Sigma process, the results of the work need to be evaluated. A... Continue Reading
I left off last with a post outlining how the Six Sigma students at Rose-Hulman were working on a project to reduce the amount of recycling thrown in the normal trash cans in all of the academic buildings at the institution. Using the DMAIC methodology for completing improvement projects, they had already defined the problem at hand: how could the amount of recycling that’s thrown in the normal trash... Continue Reading
I typically attend a few Lean Six Sigma conferences each year, and at each there is at least one session about compensating belts. Any number of ideas exist out there, but they commonly include systems that provide a percentage of savings as a portion of pay or provide a bonus for meeting target project savings. There are always issues with these pay schemes, including the fact that... Continue Reading
The Minitab Fan section of the Minitab blog is your chance to share with our readers! We always love to hear how you are using Minitab products for quality improvement projects, Lean Six Sigma initiatives, research and data analysis, and more. If our software has helped you, please share your Minitab story, too! My LSS coach suggested that I regularly conduct data analysis to refresh my Minitab... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger.  E. E. Doc Smith, one of the greatest authors ever, wrote many classic books such as The Skylark of Space and his Lensman series. Doc Smith’s imagination knew no limits; his Galactic Patrol had millions of combat fleets under its command and possessed planets turned into movable, armored weapons platforms. Some of the Galactic Patrol’s weapons may be well... Continue Reading
I really can’t make this stuff up. I wrote a post a couple of years ago entitled: “How to Talk to Your Kids about Six Sigma and Quality Improvement,” in which I lamented about “Community Hero” day in my daughter’s 1st grade class and the need to explain to her why I wasn’t at the "community-hero-level" of Maggie’s Mommy, the pediatrician. Well, now it's two years later and my son, Thomas, is in... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger Recently Minitab’s Joel Smith posted a blog about an incident in which he was pooped on by a bird. Twice. I suspect many people would assume the odds of it happening twice are very low, so they would incorrectly assume they are safer after such a rare event happens. I don’t have data on how often birds poop on one person, and I assume Joel is unwilling to stand... Continue Reading
by Matthew Barsalou, guest blogger Aaron and Billy are two very competitive—and not always well-behaved—eight-year-old twin brothers. They constantly strive to outdo each other, no matter what the subject. If the boys are given a piece of pie for dessert, they each automatically want to make sure that their own piece of pie is bigger than the other’s piece of pie. This causes much exasperation,... Continue Reading