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

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Chapter 2

Statistical Thinking Strategy

Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read or write.

—H. G. Wells

This chapter illustrates how various statistical thinking tools fit together to form an overall strategy to business improvement. This overall strategy is the common theme throughout the text. Each new methodology or tool introduced in later chapters will be positioned as a component of this strategy. The main learning objective is a good conceptual understanding of the statistical thinking strategy and how it applies in practice. Other learning objectives include understanding of the following:

  • The existence of variation in business processes
  • The synergy between data (empiricism) and subject matter theory
  • The dynamic nature of business processes
  • The sequential nature of statistical thinking

These are all critically important concepts relative to applying statistical thinking effectively to real business processes.

We begin by reviewing two case studies that illustrate various aspects of statistical thinking. The first case study involves a traditional business function (sales) and demonstrates how statistical thinking can be applied there. The second case study is an application by a high school soccer coach. Although coaching can be considered a business, the main reason for including this case study is to show how statistical thinking applies to everyday situations. This case study may provide a useful example when ...

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