February 2001

Vol. 3, No. 2

Here's this month's issue of Quality eLine, a newsletter from PQ Systems, Inc. that provides industry news, case studies, quality tips, and information about software products and training services.

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In this issue, you will find:

Data from everyday life: Time to refinance your home?
Check out these charts. Remembering the high rates of the 80s, you'll be surprised at this chart showing residential mortgage rates since 1973. If you're considering re-financing, this data will be useful. Go to chartsyoucanuse.htm.

News from the web: A chart-a-week reflects details about our lives
Our newest feature, "Chart of the week," runs USA-Today-type statistics through CHARTrunner. In a jiffy, you can see a chart that reflects something about details that make our lives interesting..


Quality Quiz: Another quiz from Professor Cleary--and last month's winners!
Winners of last month's quiz (and a copy of Quality Gamebox) are: Allen Dembski (GE Medical Systems); Keith Eastman (Dayton Wheel Products Co.); Denise Gillisse (Azteca Foods, Inc.); Bill Gray (White Electronics Design); Vicki Havard (MTD Technologies, Inc.); Michelle Holcomb (Malco Products); Gene Nadelson (Pall Corporation); David Tilton (Tyco Electronics); Justin VanMeter (LINPAC Materials Handling); and Bruce Weber (Lamsco West). Congratulations!

And now for February's question. After you have read the question, click on the response that you think is correct. As in previous quizzes, if you answer correctly, you can register to win a free copy of Quality Gamebox.

As president of Greer Grate and Gate, you have seen your performance metrics improve dramatically. While others disagree, you assume that this has happened because of the quality manager you personally hired, Franklin Benjamin. (Last month, you will recall, we found Benjamin working hard to cover up his lack of statistical understanding. He had sought an answer to a question from his statistics professor, Dr. Stan Deviation, then passed it on as his own.)

Occasionally you have had your doubts about Benjamin, but as long as the company's performance remains consistent and its stock prices high, you don't want to rock the boat by questioning his knowledge. You were chagrined to discover that he has not yet used SQCpack, although the purchasing agent bought it for him several months ago, and that he does not understand the connection between data and analysis. But you have been hopeful that all will go well--even though you overheard a colleague, Ursa Minor, ask him about kurtosis and were appalled to hear him refer her to a dermatologist.

Your question this month involves evaluating Benjamin's advice. Is one likely to find kurtosis in the data analysis room or in the pantry? Is it treatable by a dermatologist, or will it require a surgeon? How often can it happen before it becomes dangerous? Will Ursa become an even bigger star?

Before recommending the appropriate steps to be taken, you must first understand the meaning of kurtosis. What is it? Click on the correct response.

a. A scrap problem that affects output.
b. A statistical measure that indicates the peakedness of a data set.
c. A statistical measure that indicates which side of a distribution has the longest "tail."
d. Similar to psoriasis, but more common among younger people.
e. A statistical method that determines the location of mode.
f. A genuine lack of courtesy to office colleagues.

Six Sigma and more:
David Schwinn keeps harping on metrics

Just any old numbers won't do if you're trying to understand processes by looking at data. David reiterates the importance of selecting the right metrics. Go to sixsigmaandmore.htm.



Copyright 2001 by PQ Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.