Confessions of an Experimental Designer

Article

Barker, Thomas B.   (1990, ASQC)   Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

Annual Quality Congress, San Francisco, CA    Vol. 44    No. 0
QICID: 9581    May 1990    pp. 992-999
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Article Abstract

In a recent poll of 30 managers of a major American Corporation, all 30 had heard of the Japanese experimental design expert, Dr. Genichi Taguchi. When asked if they had heard of Dr. George Box, only 1 of the 30 replied in the affirmative. This is not too surprising a result considering the lack of application of statistical experimental designs in the USA up until a very few years ago. In an advertisement by a major American paper company, there is boasting about the fact that it took four years to "..find the right combination of containerboard and polymers to engineer it stronger.." (1) Shame on the paper company! With statistical experimental design, we know that such a development process could significantly be reduced, perhaps to as little as 6 months!

Why is management unaware of the statistical experimental design methods that were carefully constructed and guided by Dr. Box? Why does a major company tout its inefficiency as if it were an asset? We shall explore these questions and delve into the psychology of statistical experimental design. We will determine the detriments that prevent experiments from being run. From there we shall make suggestions on methods that will overcome the roadblocks to good experimentation.

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