Tips and Techniques for Statistics and Quality Improvement

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

Many of the things you need to monitor can be measured in a concrete, objective way, such as an item's weight or length. But, many important characteristics are more subjective, such as the collaborative culture of the workplace, or an individual's political outlook.

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The Cp and Cpk are well known capability indices commonly used to ensure that a process spread is as small as possible compared to the tolerance interval (Cp), or that it stays well within specifications (Cpk).

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In my recent meetings with people from various companies in the service industries, I realized that one of the problems they face is that they were collecting large amounts of "qualitative" data: types of product, customer profiles, different subsidiaries, several customer requirements, etc.

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In technical support, we frequently receive calls from Minitab users who have questions about the differences between Cpk and Ppk. 

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Using statistical techniques to optimize manufacturing processes is quite common now, but using the same approach on social topics is still an innovative approach. For example, if our objective is to improve student academic performances, should we increase teachers wages or would it be better to reduce the number of students in a class?

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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 industry segments, such as healthcare and banking, also rely on data analysis and Lean Six Sigma tools to improve processes (even if those processes are more service-based).

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I got the chance recently to learn about how the United States Army used Minitab Statistical Software to improve a crucial internal process for deciding a soldier’s job status following a medical concern.

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It’s always interesting to see how people are using Minitab, and the successes they see!

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We recently published a few new case studies featuring the Northern Sydney Central Coast Health Service (NSCCHS) and their commitment to quality improvement. The health service is based in Australia and extends from the Sydney Harbor to the northern reaches of the Central Coast, including a total of 11 different facilities.

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