Now I like to think I am quite an objective & freethinking person and don’t always follow the herd when I think something is wrong. I’m not a complete contrarian but am willing to “go it alone” when I feel something is important. So it is a great disappointment to me to say I have only recently discovered DoE. Let me explain the circumstance of enlightenment first.

Over about a month, one of our processes fires two letters and an outbound telephone call to our customers to achieve a particular goal. The process is about 50% effective and we were discussing options for improvement. People talked about changing the wording on the letters or the call date. During the meeting, memories rushed-in of me in BB training, adjusting the settings on a catapult and measuring the distance the ball travelled and I slowly said, “we…could…design…an…Experiment”. I nearly pulled it off but didn’t quite have the confidence or conviction to convince people that DoE would fit the bill.

As I do, I dived into the DoE material, we had a classic 3-factor, 2-level, factorial experiment and I didn’t see it! How could I have got myself into a situation where I have ignored one of the fundamental tools of Lean Six Sigma? How could I have been so blind?

Since my earliest days on BB training when we covered DoE, the picture was painted of a tool used in manufacturing that really does not transfer into a transactional environment. The exercise was “manufacturing”, the examples were manufacturing. The books I have give manufacturing DoE examples; one of the more transactional books completely ignores it and most give a passing reference. My coaches have never really talked about using DoE and when they did they talked about it being difficult to apply in a transactional environment.

I never really challenged the orthodoxy here and feel I have really missed out. Am making serious amends and it’s a strict study diet of confounding, blocking, attribute response, response surface design and loss function for me.

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