Royal Statistical Society North East Group


The rites and prangs of statistical fashions in industry

Presented by

Tony Greenfield, CEO Greenfield Research and Tim Davis, Director of Quality & Automotive Safety, Jaguar Land Rover

On Thursday 10th December 2009 at 4pm
in Room LT3, Ground floor, Herschel Building, Newcastle University.

All welcome to attend.

Followed by a drinks reception hosted by ISRU to celebrate 25 years in action this year in the Penthouse, 6th floor, Herschel Building

Outline of the talk

Josiah Wedgwood may have started it, with the perfectly reasonable idea of treating the production of his pottery as a sequential process, keeping work-in-progress stock between each step and timing each operation, insisting on good measurement, especially with his pyrometer, and keeping good records. Charles Babbage, irked by criticism of his ivory Cambridge tower, travelled the country and produced a good book in 1835 On the Economy of Machine and Manufactures, on a similar theme, with good observations and guidance of industrial practice. Into the 20th century, and from strong theoretical underpinnings the development of: good experimental design methods from Fisher, Tippet, Box and others; statistical control methods from Shewhart; statistical management from Deming; and so on. 

But toward the end of the last century, strong theoretical approaches seemed to give way to fads and faiths: the DTI launched its Quality Improvement campaign, and since then we have had : TQM; SPC; Taguchi methods; Six Sigma; and so on.  Practitioners in Industry and Business may rightly feel they have been deluged with ‘Good Guidance’ and standards: British; American; European; and International.

No wonder, some people are bewildered by these campaigns that have become faiths but also short-lived fashions. So, what is right and what is wrong?

We shall review and express our opinions, challenging the audience and ending with the question:   “How can the RSS encourage more statisticians to work in industry and how can industry be persuaded to employ more statisticians?”

Registration is free. So that we can plan for audience size, please register with Angela McNally, Unit Administrator, ISRU, School of Maths and Statistics, Herschel Building, Newcastle University.
Tel:  0191 222 5750, email: [log in to unmask]

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Dr Shirley Coleman,
Technical Director, 
ISRU, Newcastle University