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Statistical Thinking: Improving Business Performance, Second Edition by Ron Snee, Roger Hoerl

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Chapter 1

Need for Business Improvement

If you don’t keep doing it better—your competition will.

—Anonymous

In today’s global marketplace success—even survival—hinges on an organization’s ability to improve everything it does. In this chapter, we demonstrate why corporations need to improve how they run their businesses and how the use of statistical thinking can improve business operations. Statistical thinking can be applied to both business operations and methods of management.

The main objective of Chapter 1 is to better understand the effect of global competition on business and other organizations in our society and how this impact is forcing us to improve. You will become familiar with the various approaches to improvement and how statistical thinking plays a role in each of these methods. This will enable you to see how the broad use of statistical thinking can help businesses and other organizations improve.

We begin with a short case study. Generalizing from the case study, we then discuss today’s business realities, the need to improve, and the recognition that improving how we work is part of the job. The need to improve while we accomplish our work is illustrated with an overall model for business improvement. We then briefly review some new management approaches. Common themes that run through these approaches are identified, and the role of statistical thinking in these themes, and hence in the improvement effort, is noted.

TODAY’S BUSINESS REALITIES AND THE NEED ...

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