Data collection is a way of keeping score on your process. Numerical data is much more informative than qualitative data. It is one thing to say that a restaurant is very good (qualitative) but it is more meaningful to say that a restaurant scores a 93 out of 100. Keeping score and establishing a baseline is important for being able to judge the effect of improvement actions.
Please identify a process for which you can observe or collect numerical data. Data collected from a process are one way of “keeping score.” An example is collecting the time it takes to serve a customer at a drive through window. Please collect between 20 and 30 sequential data points from this process. For most cases, collecting time data in terms of seconds rather than minutes is preferred. Do not use the XX:XX time format. This quickly gets confused in Minitab, which we will use in future assignments. Please convert your times to decimal values. (10 minutes and 30 seconds is 10:30 in time format and is 10.5 in decimal format. This level of understanding is assumed at the Master’s level.) Please record the consecutive data points into a single column in Excel. Later we will copy this data into Minitab. Please make your assignment submission as a Word or PDF document. Please submit your Excel file as a supporting document.
This assignment and as well as assignments for the following weeks depend upon collecting data from a single homogeneous process. A homogeneous process is one that is essentially acting under consistent, unchanging conditions. That doesn’t mean that you won’t experience some variation. All processes experience random sources of variation. It might happen that while you are collecting the data, your process is impacted by a non-random event that significant changes the output data. It may impact the process for only a singe data point and then revert to being a homogeneous process, or it may be an event that forever changes the output, maybe for the better or maybe for the worse. If during the data collection you observe a significant change in values, due to a possible change in conditions, don’t reject the data points; simply make a note of it.
I would prefer that you choose a process from your place of work. Some students may not be employed and so one easy idea for this assignment is the drive up lane for a fast food restaurant. The data that can be collected is the time it takes to serve each customer at the final window. This data can be easily collected from the safety of your car, using the stop watch function of your smart phone.