Is Design of Experiments (DOE) Only Applicable to Complex and Expensive Systems and Processes?

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Michael: Is DOE only applicable to complex and expensive systems, such as manufacturing environments or product design, or is it valuable for somebody like me who can change a webpage myself and the cost is basically zero to make all those changes?

Mark: That is one of the myths about DOE, Mike, and you kind of hit on it there, saying, “Well, it is only for complex situations, complex products, services, and that.” DOE can be used in any area of life. For example, I go for shoulder therapy to my physical therapist. And I ask him. I said, “Okay, I have only got time today, in a day, to do four or five exercises, and you got to tell me what those four or five best ones are. And not only that. You got to tell me the order in which I am supposed to do them because obviously order might make a difference too.” And this young man — good young guy — looked at me and said, “Man, this guy must be out of his mind.” And I said, “We can help you with this. Just look out in the waiting room how many patients you have. Are you doing any testing? Are you recording any data? And we can show you how to collect that data to help you.” So, I do not care, Mike, if it is in the orthopedic therapy room, whether it is in finance, or whether it is in education. And education, I mean I remember of the days of the Air Force Academy where we would sit around the table and some people would say, “Well, we got to quiz daily. We got to give daily quizzing. That helps the learning.” And somebody else will say, “That does not do anything. Daily quizzing does not help anything.” How are you going to answer that question? You got to test it. Okay, same thing with computer-based learning. You have got those advocates of it. You have got the advocates that do not espouse to computer-based learning. You got to test it. I do not care, Mike, if it is in education, if it is finance, or if it sales and marketing. We will get into a little bit of that later, but if your budget for sales or for marketing is a certain level, how do you break that budget up into the various categories where you can spend your advertising dollars? What is the optimal mix? It can be used for anything. It can be used for any time you want to find what factors are the most important that effect some response or some value variable that is an output. This is the way to do it.

Michael: Yeah, all right.

Mark: It does not have to be hard. You can do it for one factor, two factors, and multiple factors. DOE is sometimes called multivariate testing because the beauty of it is you can test many things simultaneously.

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