Quality quiz (July 2017)—and June’s quiz winners!

Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Mike Nicholas (Schumacher Homes of Canton, OH); Alberto Garcia (Jackson Transformer Co of Tampa, FL); and Tina Abendroth (Midwest Blow Molding of Vandalia, IL). Congratulations! For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by July 31.

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Driverless analysis? Accurate predictions demand more than a chart

Barb ClearyIf you get off the highway and take an alternate route when traffic slows to one lane, you are making a prediction. Likewise, if you decide to invite someone to dinner, that too is a prediction. The scientific method? Predictive in nature. Every time you make a decision, you are making a prediction of an outcome, and choosing one over another based on this prediction.

Prediction skills become second nature because of this daily application. These predictions may not be based on data or evidence, but involve some subjective guess about a preferred outcome. In the case of choosing a traffic route or a dinner date, it’s clear that not much data is involved. The decision involves subjective interpretations, intuitive hunches, and guesses about potential outcomes.

Will data analysis really enhance prediction accuracy? There are no guarantees, without adding a certain amount of understanding of data, of variation, and of process performance.

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Data in everyday life: Grilled or broiled, fried or boiled–hot dogs are a July phenomenon

Barb Cleary“A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.”

At least that’s what Humphrey Bogart is said to have commented. With the summer season underway and ball parks in full swing, hot dogs at the ball park, on the grill, and in the lunchbox will help to celebrate National Hot Dog Month in July. And many agree that there’s nothing like a hot dog with mustard. Or relish or ketchup or smeared with chili.

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Bytes and pieces: News you can use

Registration open: The ASQ Inspection Division Conference will take place September 14-15, 2017 in Grand Rapids, MI.

Engineers recognized: The 30th annual Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Awards recognizes leaders in 28 categories of control, instrumentation, and automation products.

Knorr product recalled: Kosher soup mix has been recalled because egg ingredient is not indicated on label.

Manufacturing women honored: Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead awards have recognized 130 women in the industry.

Quality quiz (June 2017)—and May’s quiz winners!

Winners of last month’s quiz and a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1 are Bob Delgado (Krueger Bearings Inc. of Milwaukee, WI); Isabel Quintero (Reliable Plating Corporation of Chicago, IL); and Jane Fraser (Colorado State University of Pueblo, CO). Congratulations! For this month’s quiz, and a chance to win a copy of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement: Volume 1, submit your response by June 30.

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The perennial question: which chart is best?

Barb ClearyThe perennial answer is, of course, “It depends.”

For decades of users, Shewhart control charts have provided information about process stability. Like all Shewhart charts, data is plotted over time and in order from oldest to most current. The traditional control chart, an old standby, is not the only possibility when it comes to garnering information from process data. In monitoring processes with small drifts or changes, for example, the exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) chart may offer an improvement over traditional Shewhart control charts.

But again, that depends. Certain processes—for example, in the chemical industry—benefit from understanding small shifts or drifts in a process. For other industries, Shewhart control charts do the job quite effectively.

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Data in everyday life: Riding statistical ups and downs for your favorite amusement parks

Matt WellmanNothing says summer quite like amusement parks. The roller coasters, water rides, food, and shows: there is really nothing better. I have my personal favorite parks, but I have always wondered how they rank against other amusement parks in the United States in terms of attendance. I am excluding parks run by Disney and Universal–who can really compete with them?–and they are more theme parks than they are amusement parks.

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