Industrial Statistics


Industrial Statistics is concerned with maintaining and improving the quality of goods and services. It involves a broad range of statistical tools but maintaining and improving quality involves an overall approach to the management of industrial processes that transcends the use of these specific tools. Variability is inherent in all processes, whether they be manufacturing processes or service processes. This variability must be controlled to create high quality goods and services and must be reduced to improve quality. Industrial Statistics focuses on the use of statistical thinking, i.e., the appreciation of the inherent variability of all processes. It also focuses on developing skills for modeling data and designing experiments that can lead to improvements in performance and reductions in variablity.


Industrial Statisticians work closely with process experts both to maintain and improve the quality produced by processes. This involves introducing and maintaining charts to evaluate whether a process is in a state of statistical control. Establishing statistical control provides one with the capacity to predict the future behavior of the process, thus establishing whether the process is capable of meeting the goals set for it. When the process is not under control, various tools are available to help identify problems and suggest how to get the process back under control. Finally, in order to improve processes, one must explore the possibility of changing the process. Design of Experiments (DOE) provides tools for systematically changing processes to learn about the important factors in a process and to optimize the levels of the factors used in the process.

Students interested in Industrial Statistics should have a strong background in statistics and an interest in applying statistics to an industrial or engineering field. Prospective graduate students come from a variety of backgrounds including engineering and business. Students interested in the Industrial Statistics option at UNM should include STAT 470/570: Industrial Statistics and STAT 472/572: Sampling in their coursework. Students should consult their Statistics faculty advisor for more information.

The Ellis R. Ott Scholarship program is administered by a governing board for the Statistics Division of the American Society for Quality. This is a prestigious national program. The UNM Industrial Statistics program has been honored to have students win this scholarship in both 1998 (Larry Pratt) and 1999 (Mei Qiu).


Industrial Statisticians work in almost all sectors of the economy. The American Society for Quality is a primary professional resource with career services . In addition, the American Statistical Association advertises job opportunities and conducts a placement service at its annual meetings. The field of Industrial Statistics is enjoying a very high level of interest from both the public and private sector. Students with a BS, MS or Ph.D. have been in high demand in recent years.