Improvement Insights Blog
My First Statistics Project
In my 30+ years in quality improvement, I finally got to use basic statistics to save millions of dollars. And it was easy. Here’s how:
“I recently had a chance to help a food company that had frozen meats of various kinds – you know, poultry and so on – and they’d had a chemical spill. Well, what the USDA wanted them to do was prove that it had not affected their food and so somehow I got called in to help with that.
“They had samples from where it was and then they had a control that came from someplace else that had not had a spill, and so I used the [QI Macros] Stat Wizard to crunch through all of the numbers. I did that in a very short period of time, wrote up a report, and guess what? The USDA loved it and approved that three million dollars worth of food to go back out into the public. Now, oddly enough, some of the samples had a lower concentration than the control group, so that’s interesting.
“Anyway, one of the things I wanted to get this idea of is it used to be hard but I used the Stat Wizard which ran an f-test, a t-test and an equivalence test if need be, and spit out answers and told me in very clear and uncertain terms that the means were the same or different, right? Or that variances were different, or not different enough, or whatever. Consequently, I very quickly was able to do this whole report, so things aren’t as hard as they used to be.
“You know, this is like the first stat project I’ve ever done – 30 years in, first one – but it was fun.
“I want you to get this idea that we can do things very quickly if we want to, and the QI Macros can help you do that.
“That’s my Improvement Insight for this week. Let’s go out and improve something.”