Today we announced the winner of the Minitab Experiment Contest.
Ford, Bobcat, Smith & Nephew, Metalor, and more than a dozen other companies from many different industries entered the contest, which focused on using a statistical technique called Design of Experiments (DOE) to solve business problems.
Quality improvement professionals use DOE to create experiments that provide insight into how multiple variables affect an outcome. In a designed experiment, you can change more than one factor at a time, then use statistics to determine which ones are important. Because DOE reduces the number of experimental runs you need, it’s a very economical way to gain insight into any process.
The winning entry was submitted by Scott Sterbenz of Ford Motor Company, who used Minitab and DOE to find the cause of—and eliminate—a cosmetic defect in automotive carpets that threatened to affect the launch of the 2011 Ford Fiesta. Ford’s entry demonstrated the power of DOE, as Sterbenz and his team identified and implemented a solution to the problem in just 12 days.
This contest was a great way to see how quality professionals use the Design of Experiments tools in Minitab Statistical Software, give them some recognition, and share their successes with other quality improvement professionals. We've prepared stories about several of the projects for the Minitab Web site -- click on the links above to check them out.
This was a contest, so a winner needed to be selected -- but we want to congratulate all the participants. The entries were judged by a panel of DOE experts based on overall process improvement achieved from implementing experiment results. When I spoke to them in the course of preparing a story about the contest for our monthly Minitab News e-newsletter, the judges told me selecting the winner was very difficult, because all of the entries were excellent.
Thanks to everyone who was involved in this effort, especially the individuals and teams who submitted such powerful projects. It's a real pleasure to see how using the tools in Minitab can lead to such significant improvements in quality, profitability, and the bottom line!