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    I’m looking to implement a software package to help manage our six sigma program.

    What are the major packages, and the differences between them?

    What are the features that I should be looking for when evaluating a good package?


    Kim Niles

    There are several stat software companies out there but as far as I know only Stat Graphics is both stats and Six Sigma. See . In addition, Stat Graphics is the best for companies because it does the same things as the best of them all and is much much much more user friendly.

    For many other Stat software links, see my list at




    As far as software, what are you looking for? Are you looking for the statistical portion, the project management portion, the full six sigma tracking/reference software for a company?

    If you are looking for statistical software, there is not a piece of software on the market that is specifically for six sigma. Minitab, Statgraphics, and JMP are all multi-purpose statistical tools that have the statistics needed for Black Belts. I would check to see what your consultant recommends.

    If you are looking for project management software, check with the major six sigma consultants as well. They should be able to set you up with contacts for company wide information systems as well as individual project management software. Many companies just write the software themselves using their current databases.



    Joe Perito

    Martin, I would not buy a stats package today unless it was menue driven and operated in a Windows envirnoment. DOS based or command driven packages are just too clumsy and demands too much time and learning for the user. While there are plenty of good SPC packages out there, from time to time you will need more stats capability than a simple SPC package will have to offer. So, you want windows logic, user friendy, menue driven software that has a full range of statistical capabilities… including SPC. The package I reccomend is Statgraphics. It has so many ststistical functions built into it, I doubt that any body knows all its statistics. Still, its there if you need and understand it. It also has deffinitions and glosseries built into it… and its as easy to use as any of the SPC packages.


    Grant Blair

    Lot of salesmen for SGraphics must post here
    Minitab is the standard for Six Sigma, always has been. I get kidded about this, because I come from a NC State/SAS background and switched to Minitab many, many years ago because it was so much easier to use.
    However, since I have no $$$ axe to grind, I would recommend Minitab at
    I’m still using Version 12 ( I also have a phobia about
    Version 13 and Apollo 13…sorry!!!)
    Easy to use, windows based, been around long enough
    to work the bugs out, and cheap (compared to SAS..)


    Neil Polhemus

    I’m the only one with a bias that posts here. The others are long-time STATGRAPHICS users. Anyway, for an admittedly biased comparison, check out


    Grant Blair

    Glad you admit it’s a biased comparison .
    I freely admit I’ve never used everything in Minitab,
    but I think you’re off base when you claim Minitab doesn’t handle Box-Cox transformations, only handles
    18 distribution types, and is limited in:
    Control Charts, Experimental design and Time Series, which I use and am familiar with.(and was also using to automatically update web pages 5 yrs ago) Also, Minitab has been very good about free upgrades to fix bugs.(gossip is…….SG is buggy
    Now, if you really want to impress me, show me how to
    generate OC curves in Statgraphics. It’s the one area
    I continually complain about to Minitab.


    Ken Myers


    You should consider upgrading your Minitab 12 to v13. There are many enhancements that make the cost worthwhile. If it makes you feel any better it’s now version 13.3. I do agree that Minitab has been the defacto software adolpted to support Six Sigma efforts. However, StatGraphics or JMP will work just fine also. When working with a consulting group you should first consider what they have experience using to avoid support mismatch.



    Neil Polhemus

    Thanks for the response. I would be happy to correct anything I got wrong in the comparison. With respect to the Box-Cox transformation, STATGRAPHICS automatically determines the optimal Box-Cox power in both the univariate analysis, multiple regression, and GLM procedures. While Minitab can compute the transformation if you specify the power, I don’t think it automatically optimizes it. With respect to the OC Curves, they are generated in the following STATGRAPHICS analyses:
    1. Hypothesis Testing (one sample)
    2. Hypothesis Testing (two samples)
    3. Sample Size Determination (one sample)
    4. Sample Size Determination (two samples)
    5. Create Design (in the DOE section)
    6. Xbar and R Charts
    7. Xbar and S Charts
    8. Xbar and S-squared Charts
    9. Individuals Charts
    10. P Chart
    11. NP Chart
    12. C Chart
    13. U Chart
    14. Moving Average Chart
    15. EWMA Chart
    16. Acceptance Charts
    17. Acceptance Sampling for Variables
    18. Acceptance Sampling for Attributes

    In #6-17, STATGRAPHICS also creates a plot of the Average Run Length of the chart, which is closely tied to the OC Curve.

    If you’d be more specific about the “gossip”, I’ll be happy to respond. While every program has bugs, I know of no major problems.

    P.S. I guess you figured out that the URL I provided had a misplaced period at the end. It should have been


    Neil Polhemus

    P.S. If you are attending the ASQ meeting in Charlotte next week, stop by the Manugistics booth and I’ll be happy to continue our discussion.



    Neil and Grant,

    The use of Minitab by most Six Sigma professionals is a study in Quality 101.

    Minitab is the default standard because they listened to us and gave us features that were useful. They matched the capability analysis with the AIAG standards. They matched Gausge R&R with the AIAG standards and included ANOVA and control charts as improved dianostics. And the list is long and continues today.

    Neil – do you know of any software company other than Minitab that will listen and talk to customers and add functionality at their request? I don’t.



    Neil Polhemus

    I’m in charge of development for STATGRAPHICS, and I must say that almost all of the enhancements we make come from suggestions by current and prospective users. Part of my motivation for monitoring this board is to understand what practitioners need. Like Minitab, we have fashioned our Gage R&R, Gage Linearity, and Process Capability procedures to follow the AIAG standards. Is Minitab a popular choice for Six Sigma? Obviously. Do STATGRAPHICS, Jmp, and several other packages contain the same tools? Absolutely.




    The company I work for also uses Minitab for it’s Six Sigma program. A good friend of mine stated that he was in contact with your company a few years back mainly to try an get a corporate license but could not get anywhere. We both used Statgraphics early on in our careers and loved it because of its user “friendly-ness”. We were disappointed that the company decided to go with Minitab but the word was that the makers of Statgraphics were not willing to work with us regarding licenses. Now that we’ve been with Minitab for several years now we have adopted it as the software of choice.

    As far as recommendations, I have not used Statgraphics in a long long time but Minitab has Gage R & R testing for attribute data. I do know if Statgraphics has this feature or not.


    Neil Polhemus

    Thanks for the comments. I’m sorry to hear that Manugistics wasn’t able to negotiate a deal with you. I think you’d find us much more responsive today.

    With respect to the Attribute Gage R&R procedure Minitab added in 13.3, I can’t say we have anything exactly like it in 5.0. However, you can expect to see something in the very near future. We have some very interesting graphics to go along with it, too.


    Grant Blair

    Thanks for the invitation.I was set up for AQC
    (its right up the road from Ninety Six SC), but got
    caught up in the Recession blues in the last 2 weeks.
    Lost one of my clients, plus son and Daughter-in-law
    became gurus..we’re all having to beat the
    bushes for a while.
    In all seriousness, I know Statgraphics, Minitab
    and JMP have good stuff, but ouldn’t resist a little teasing. The info on OC curves is especially interesting…I’ll look into it


    Grant Blair

    I agree…all of the packages are good…just couldn’t resist a little teasing.
    I’m from a generation that remembers Dame Hamby introducing everyone to FORTRAN in his stat class
    at NCS. I even know what SAS really stands for: (Statistics for AG Students };->. Sorry about the MTB13 phobia. I have other phobias worse than that!
    To be honest, the only packages I get nervous about
    are the ones using Excel macros…usually home-grown.
    Over the years, these are the ones I’ve seen which
    can be REALLY buggy.

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