Quality Improvement

Minutes of meeting in Rimini, Tuesday 24 September 2002

Present: Kristina Birch (KB), Froydis Bjerke (FB), Shirley Coleman (SYC), Helle Dore Hansen (HDH), Oystein Evandt (OE), Roland Goebel (RG), Adam Jednorog (AJ), Camilla Madsen (CM), Jeroen de Mast (JdM), Robin Nicolson (RN), Anja Schleppe (AS), Kamil Torczewski (KT).

It was felt that the Quality Improvement working group is very important because it provides a forum for exchange of ideas around getting statistics used and other implementation issues. These cut across the various other ENBIS working groups. ENBIS members can take part in more than one working group and the Quality Improvement group should address practical issues with wide application.

It was noted that six sigma activities are relevant to all working groups and that the main page of the ENBIS website should contain a reference to six sigma so that search engines pick it up.

The Quality Improvement working group should provide a toolbox to help in the "missionary" aspects of statistics. Everyone has books, journal articles, training courses and websites that they have found interesting and these should be shared with everyone else. For example, www.isixsigma.com is a good site and www.amazon.com is good for books. Full details of price, publisher, etc are necessary.

Quality improvement activities are part of a work package in the Pro-Enbis European project. As part of the project outcomes there is now a case study resource and a highly comprehensive, entertaining and informative demonstration suite that can be orientated towards people interested in statistics from a wide range of different industries, companies and backgrounds. These could be shared. In return, if we do joint work leading to published papers and there are two or more authors from different pro-Enbis Institutions, and you include the required acknowledgement, the papers will go towards a pro-Enbis deliverable. For details see the Pro-Enbis website (EC section).

There is a Quality Improvement Forum in the ENBIS website but it has not been used very much. Everyone should have a look at the Forum very soon. It should be possible to post our lists of interesting books, etc and our ideas in the Forum.

Regarding ENBIS 2003 conference

It was suggested that there should be an optional free session to follow the keynote speaker so that there could be a round table discussion with the speaker in an informal atmosphere. This would make it easier for everyone to get close to the speaker. It was discussed whether this session should immediately follow the presentation or be later to allow for thinking space. It was agreed that to avoid "thinking space" becoming "forgetting space" that the round table discussion should be immediately after the presentation. It would be better if the keynote speech was towards the end of the first day when people are full of thoughts and ideas.

The ENBIS founding conference in Amsterdam in December 2000 included a 30- minute talk on "The art of networking". This was excellent and a similar session should be included in future conferences. Possible topics are 'Dealing with difficult people", "Communication", something similar to Roland Caulcutt's "Statistical types and client types", "Culture change" and "Understanding your customer".

Book discussion

It may be possible to use the Quality Improvement Forum on the ENBIS website to have a discussion around a particular book or article. From the list of interesting books and articles to be submitted to the Forum, we will try to find a book or article that everyone can read during a particular month. There will then be a web-based discussion on the book during a particular week.


We should submit some articles to magazines such as TQM, Quality Progress, Six Sigma Forum and Quality Management. Any other ideas for suitable journals are welcome.

Agreed actions for all:

try out the Quality Improvement Forum before Christmas
- promote ENBIS by making sure that the ENBIS website is linked into our work websites
- post a list of interesting sources of information that you have found including books, journal articles, training courses and websites. Include price, publisher, provider and details of how to obtain them
- consider writing an article for a suitable journal

Anyone who has forgotten their password can email Jeroen de Mast and ask him very nicely for help.

Minutes prepared by SYC, 26th September 2002 and circulated to attendees for comment. Final version 8th October 2002.


Minutes of meeting Tuesday 18 september 2001 at 2pm in Oslo

In attendance:

Ulla Baur (UB), Bo Bergman (BB), Froydis Bjerke (FB), Shirley Coleman (SYC), Helle Dore Hansen (HDH), Roland Gobel (RG), Jostein Lillestol (JL), Tor Magnussen (TM), Wessel van Wieringen (WvW).

It was agreed that the Quality Improvement working group is very important because

  • It links engineers and statisticians
  • Addresses a problem area rather than a technique
  • Provides a balance to the less practical statistical aspects of ENBIS
  • Provides a forum to attract practitioners to ENBIS
  • Is a forum for sharing non-sophisticated statistical tools
  • ENBIS would be unthinkable without it

The group agreed that members of the QI working group are people interested in encouraging the use of statistics in business and industry.

The QI working group has a role in getting behind rhetoric and sharing ideas. For example, we are interested in discussing how ISO9000, EFQM and other standards and guidelines lead to people missing the best of statistics.

It was noted that the QI working group is the natural place for six sigma activities.

Regarding ENBIS 2002 conference

A more appropriate name for the next conference would be the ENBIS Network event or such like.

The ENBIS 2002 conference needs to be open to appreciation by all users of statistics, not just to experts in particular fields. In the group we agreed that the level of a lot of the papers in Oslo was too academic for practitioners, and that if ENBIS is going to fulfill its ambitions, this must be reflected in the 2002 conference programme. We must not let ENBIS become another statisticians' conference.
We suggest having parallel sessions available to practitioner non-experts throughout the conference.

People should be encouraged to submit interesting issues and work in progress rather than finished papers and research reports.

The QI working group would like to see a session at ENBIS 2002 consisting of interactive case studies where someone introduces a problem area and everyone is encouraged to join in discussing what could be done.

The QI working group realises that we all have areas we are not familiar with or do not understand, as well as areas in which we have sound knowledge. Opportunities for getting and offering help are rare. The QI conference session could have a question and answer session facilitated by the group. This would be an alternative to the usual format of an expert presenting some work and the discussion following on from that lead.

We could try a 'walk and talk' session where people sit around the room with a poster describing an area of interest and others walk from group to group joining in the talk as they wish.

Ideas for QI working group web page

These include

  • Presenting frequently asked questions (FAQs) about quality improvement and statistics generally, and answers
  • Suitably anonymised mistakes that members have made
  • Examples of where regulations are statistically misleading or wrong
  • Comments on statistics in ISO9000 and other standards



Everyone agreed to undertake some actions, at least before the conference in September 2002. SYC was proposed as group leader.

SYC undertook to ask the ENBIS webmaster, Jeroen de Mast (JdM), about ways of communicating within ENBIS.

JdM said that there is a 'forum' facility within the ENBIS web page but it is not working properly at the moment. When it does work we will be able to click on the forum button and add in our comments, questions, answers and ideas. Incidentally, if anyone has forgotten their username, email JdM and he will send it to you.

At present we can only have things put on the web by JdM and can only communicate with each other via email lists. The best route at the moment is for people to email SYC who will communicate with JdM. This will provide anonymity for everyone and comments can be posted on the web with or without a name. SYC will be the only person who will know who they are from.

Agreed actions

UB - to consider some case studies for use in our session and in our web page BB - to consider providing six sigma and engineering input for the session FB - to help with the overall organisation of the session for the conference HDH - to supply a case study RG - to be involved in discussions of technical support JL - to provide the first and other FAQs TM - to provide an example for the conference session WvW - to provide an example of a mistake (from a colleague) The route for feedback at the moment will be by email to the group or to one of the group. I look forward to hearing from you.

Minutes prepared by SYC, 19th September 2001.

Meeting in Amsterdam, 11 December 2000


Summary of Quality Improvement Working Party at the First ENBIS Conference, Amsterdam, 11 December 2000 Martin Gibson


  • Funding, Growth, Economics - we endorsed the executive view that these were important and asked what can we do to support them
  • What is lacking in Quality Improvement? - we need to raise the profile that users of statistical methods make a difference
  • Quality in its' simplest form could be
    1. reducing variation in processes, products and systems and
    2. is about understanding variation or
    3. pleasing customers as reducing variation alone may not get us to "quality" products!

We need to promote ENBIS.

  • How do we "sell" ENBIS to the Business & Industrial community?

ENBIS needs to

  • Develop short tutorials not 20 minute overviews but 3 or 4 hour hands-on tutorial. Some theory with examples / case studies
  • Examples on applications which are practical in nature
  • Provide assistance in writing Statistical Standards and Articles
  • Publishing in non-statistical magazines, co-ordinate the activity to make this happen - sharing the skills
  • Provide training in Presentation skills


  • a place where users communicate

Deliverables for ENBIS

  • An appropriate magazine(s) for us to publish ENBIS activities / articles. For example see In praise of Bayes in The Economist at ( http://www.economist.com/PrinterFriendly.cfm?Story_ID=382968 )
  • List of European companies using Six Sigma, with a definition of what Green and Black Belts are in those companies
  • A plan from ENBIS to enroll Chief Executive Officers to ENBIS
  • How do we get to the Managing Directors and CEOs to use Statistical Methods?
  • Enlist C.E.O. of NOKIA to ENBIS as a future speaker


  • Must publicise that we can make an improvement to the 'bottom line'
  • Should capture 'Best practice' from a European perspective.
  • We could make the working groups the six main topics (received after the meeting)


If we are to make a difference we need to decide amongst ourselves what role we will play in the future of ENBIS. Please consider how you will be able to help.

Martin Gibson ( gg1000@waitrose.com )