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Design of experiments for non-manufacturing processes : benefits, challenges and some examples

Antony, J. and Coleman, S. and Montgomery, D. C. and Anderson, M. J. and Silvestrini, R. T. (2011) Design of experiments for non-manufacturing processes : benefits, challenges and some examples. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, 225 (11). pp. 2078-2087. ISSN 0954-4054

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Abstract

Design of Experiments (DoE) is a powerful technique for process optimization that has been widely deployed in almost all types of manufacturing processes and is used extensively in product and process design and development. There have not been as many efforts to apply powerful quality improvement techniques such as DoE to improve non-manufacturing processes. Factor levels often involve changing the way people work and so have to be handled carefully. It is even more important to get everyone working as a team. This paper explores the benefits and challenges in the application of DoE in non-manufacturing contexts. The viewpoints regarding the benefits and challenges of DoE in the non-manufacturing arena are gathered from a number of leading academics and practitioners in the field. The paper also makes an attempt to demystify the fact that DoE is not just applicable to manufacturing industries; rather it is equally applicable to non-manufacturing processes within manufacturing companies. The last part of the paper illustrates some case examples showing the power of the technique in non-manufacturing environments.