CATEGORY: Data Mining & Visualization

REVIEWER: Navaid Ahmed, quality engineer for John Deere.

BACKGROUND: One of the world's oldest and most respected enterprises, Deere & Company creates smart innovations in the form of advanced machines, services and concepts for worldwide customers on farms, at work and at home. John Deere is committed to everyone we serve. We are a global leader in providing equipment for use in agriculture, construction, forestry, and lawn and turf care. Additionally, the company engages in a variety of complementary businesses that support our equipment customers.

PLATFORMS: Oracle, Windows 95.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Before we used STATISTICA from StatSoft, performing capability studies had always been a big problem at Deere. It required too much time for data analysis, and the resulting control charts could not be manipulated to extract the information needed. Using STATISTICA's interactive quality control charts resolved the issue. When we conduct a capability study meeting, we are able to show the design and manufacturing engineers the outcome of the change of tolerances and sometimes the nominal dimensions on the capability indices. This helped change the perception of capability studies for most of the design and manufacturing engineers. Using STATISTICA with the interface software developed by Deere & StatSoft solved the problem of SPC charts for normal production run parts. We are able to plot control charts as the data is collected from the coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: STATISTICA works well with our CMM systems. We can import data from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets from the suppliers and conduct an extensive statistical analysis on the data provided by them. Sometimes the suppliers are not able to conduct an accurate analysis for unilateral tolerances, and we are able to provide them with the best analysis. I hope to utilize the Web-based function which is included in the latest version. WebSTATISTICA Server enables users to access data and analytical tools from virtually any computer in the world as long as it is connected to the Web.

STRENGTHS: For the functions I perform, the interactive ability of this software is its main strength. The different ways that data analysis can be performed and its ease of use with easy-to-read output are also some of the main strengths of STATISTICA. The ability to work with Microsoft Excel is also a plus.

WEAKNESSES: STATISTICA contains a wide array of modules for various data analysis needs. Some engineers believe that the different modules cause confusion, but this problem hopefully will be alleviated with the new version.

SELECTION CRITERIA: The versatility and flexibility of the product were the main reasons for selecting STATISTICA. It can be used for a variety of different forms of statistical analysis. Excellent service support and broad-based statistical analysis capability were the major advantages that this product had over others we considered. The decision to select STATISTICA at John Deere was unanimous.

DELIVERABLES: STATISTICA delivers quality control charts, capability studies, data analysis and SPC reports published on the intranet Web site.

VENDOR SUPPORT: StatSoft did an excellent job of supporting the product during implementation. Representatives from StatSoft came to Dubuque, Iowa, to train Deere's design, manufacturing and quality engineers during the implementation stage. These representatives intelligently answered our questions and addressed any concerns. When I have any questions, StatSoft representatives are very cooperative. Quick e-mail responses and solutions to problems I faced have been the best part of working with the vendor.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation for the STATISTICA part of the software is adequate and easy to understand if you are well-versed in Windows and statistics.

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