Using Excel for Data Analysis

Have you been searching for a way to create in-depth, versatile and accurate charts using specified data without breaking the bank on expensive software? If so, look no further. You don’t need to go out and purchase overpriced software that makes promises to create control charts and statistical references when you have an underutilized tool right at your fingertips. What is this tool? Microsoft Excel. The truth is that several businesses out there don’t know about the many capabilities of Excel. Yes, excel is handy for making simple graphs and charts but in reality it is capable of so much more. In fact, Excel has been gaining speed on many of the specialized applications available since Excel can offer many of the same charts and statistical data as other software packages without the extra hassle. If you are a bit skeptical about Excel being able to handle your data situations, you are not alone. However, many businesses were skeptical in the beginning and are now enjoying the functions of Excel on a whole different level.

Anyone Familiar with Shewhart Control Charts?

Shewhart control charts also known as simply control charts or process-behavior charts are often utilized in analyzing statistical processes and are most commonly used in the manufacturing field to see if the business being done is in statistical control. Shewhart charts are beneficial in industry because they help distinguish discrepancies due to “special causes” from variations stemming from “common causes”. The term “special causes” can be described as intermittent type problems which are more locally received such as inaccuracies in measurements recorded or even the failure of a particular machine in a factory. Special causes usually do not happen every day and are considered as more of a operating mishap. On the other hand, “common causes” are commonly seen or observed everyday within the manufacturing business. Examples of this would include, but are not limited to defective materials, insufficient product design, or even extreme humidity levels.

The Shewhart process was initially discovered by Walter Shewhart a physicist (hence the name Shewhart control chart) in the 1920’s and is one of the basic seven tools to help measure and chart quality control. In order to quickly change a basic line chart into a control chart all you need to do is enhance your data by adding additional columns showing both the upper and lower limits along with the center line. There are many helpful websites out there that share the step-by-step guidelines for how to easily and accurately change your information into a shewhart chart with minimal confusion.

Should I Give Excel a Try?

Now after acquainting yourself with both Microsoft Excel and Shewhart control charts, why not give it a try? If your business offers Microsoft Excel and you have it literally right at your fingertips it may be a huge cost savings to incorporate its capabilities into your data analysis. However, the choice is up to you. Ultimately, it is true that the improvement of a process can only start once a strong statistical control is established and Excel may quite possibly be the tool to help get you and your business there.

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