Software / Quality Exclusives

Innovations: QI Macros Focus on "Vital Few" Tools

Software boasts tools designed to solve 99% of typical business problems.

QI Macros is software designed for manufacturing companies to control chart templates and provide real-time charting from gages on the production line. Source: KnowWare International Inc.

An example of a pareto chart created using QI macros. Source: KnowWare International Inc.

KnowWare International Inc.’s (Denver) QI Macros is software designed for manufacturing companies to control chart templates and provide real-time charting from gages on the production line. Hypothesis testing tools such as ANOVA, t Test, Levene’s test and others are part of the package. The software works in Microsoft Excel 2000-2011 in both PC and Macintosh formats and, according to the company, is the only product that supports Macintosh.

“It’s so easy to use that people don’t need much training to get started,” says Jay Arthur, creator of QI Macros. “There are four wizards to simplify analysis: Statistics, PivotTable, Control Chart and Chart.”

According to Arthur, QI Macros focuses on tools that will solve 99% of typical business problems.

“There is a ‘long tail’ of statistical tools that are rarely used,” says Arthur. “A statistician might occasionally require more exotic tools like Attribute Agreement Analysis. The QI Macros focus on the ‘vital few’ tools, not the ‘trivial many,’ as Juran would say.”

QI Macros has a PivotTable Wizard to analyze rows of text data and convert it into measurements that can be charted. There are many control chart macros and fill-in-the-blank templates.

“Some people try to create their own control chart templates, but use incorrect formulas and wonder why the QI Macros deliver different, more challenging results,” says Arthur.

What makes QI Macros innovative, says Arthur, is that, unlike most statistical process control (SPC) packages that ask users to first select a chart and then select the data, QI Macros asks users to first select the data and then choose a chart. The advantage is that QI Macros can look at the data (integer or decimal, single- or multi-column) and decide what chart or statistic to use.

“The Chart, Control Chart and Statistics Wizards make it easy for a user to get the right answer,” says Arthur. “Where [other software] asks users to navigate a decision tree in the Quality Advisor to choose a chart or statistic, the decision tree is built in to the QI Macros and does the work for you.”

The software also contains fill-in-the-blank control chart dashboards that can handle hundreds of metrics.

The software also contains fill-in-the-blank control chart dashboards that can handle hundreds of metrics. Source: KnowWare International Inc.

The Idea of QI Macros

According to Arthur, when he left the phone company in 1996 after five years in total quality management, he knew he needed easy-to-use tools. As a quality professional and computer programmer, he noticed that Windows 95 and Excel 5.0 had a macro programming capability, so he started developing the tools for his own use.

“When I discovered how easy it could be to draw a pareto chart, histogram or control chart using Excel and macros, I put together a prototype and started offering it through direct mail to members of the American Society for Quality [ASQ],” he says.

Arthur called the software QI Macros because it was for quality improvement [QI] and used Excel’s macro language [Macros].

“Through endless feedback and improvement over the last 15 years, the QI Macros have evolved into a rich environment for performance improvement and sustaining improvements,” Arthur says.

Today, there are more than 100,000 users in 80 countries in industries as diverse as healthcare, hotels, manufacturing (especially auto), transportation, power and aerospace. In particular, the software is used to improve quality processes and procedures at Boeing, Florida Power & Light and Kaiser Permanente. The Veterans Administration uses the software to improve quality and cost of care for veterans in hospitals and medical centers.

For more information, contact:

KnowWare International Inc.

2253 S. Oneida Street, Ste. 3D

Denver, CO 80224

(888) 468-1537


Available in both PC and Macintosh formats

Runs in Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7

Requires Excel or Office 2000, XP, 2003, 2007 or 2010 (Macintosh Excel 2001, 2004 or 2011)

Works in all international versions of Excel

Uses 8 MB storage

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