Upcoming Holiday Party is Free to Members

We’re throwing a Party! This year we’re offering our holiday party FREE OF CHARGE to full members of ASQ 0505 and a guest. Why party-hatsare we offering a free holiday event to our members? Because we’re in the holiday spirit and because we sincerely appreciate your membership. We want you to stay with us throughout your career so we’re throwing this free event to highlight our section’s mission and to encourage you to volunteer and participate in our events next year. There are some great ideas in the pipeline and we want you to be part of it all.

Register by December 11th with your member ID number to reserve your free place and one guest. Didn’t register in time? No worries – walk ins will also be welcomed.  See our event in our calendar for more information.

Also, we need some help from our ASQ Philly Quality Fasurveysaysmily! Clark Fuss (our chair) is putting together a Family Feud style game
for the holiday party and is asking for input. Will you be a part of our ‘survey says’ results? Just click here to answer 10 questions. Share with your colleagues, too! Thanks.


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A digest of the week’s top Quality News Today stories, quality-related headlines from publications around the globe.

KAPE is Holding its 11th Annual Awards Banquet & Conference

The Keystone Alliance for Performance Excellence (KAPE) is holding its 11th Annual Awards Banquet & Conference on November 16 & 17 at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA. In addition to Pre-Conference Workshops and Breakout Sessions of interest to all sectors, this two-day event features keynote presentations from three of the 2015 Baldrige Award Recipients.

  • Dean Kappel, President Emeritus, Mid-America Transplant. Presentation title: Commitment to Excellence: Leading a Journey to Save More Lives
  • Mary Searcy Bixby, Founder & CEO, Charter School of San Diego, Presentation Title: Leadership for a Futuristic School
  • Glenn Crotty, Jr,. M.D., Executive Vice President & COO, Charleston Area Medical Center Presentation title: Transforming Care Together

On another note, this conference will be the launch of the Pennsylvania program’s transition to a Regional Baldrige Program that serves PA, NJ, and DE. The regional program will be called the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence.

 As you know, it’s imperative that we have a strong regional Baldrige program that serves as a gateway to the national program.

11th Annual Awards Banquet & Conference Page

Espionage and Statistical Inference


by ASQ Member Jay Armstrong

We don’t usually confuse statisticians with spies, and yet, statistics played a significant role in the defeat of Germany in the Second World War.  By the 1930s, Germany’s pre-war industrial prowess and engineering capabilities were both mature and formidable.  This was particularly true for her various weapon systems.  With D-Day looming, of greatest concern were the newest Mark V “Panther” series tanks. Unfortunately, these were superior to the allies’ tanks across all performance dimensions – armor, cannon size, speed, and mobility. Beyond this painful reality, was the critical need to understand the actual number of tanks Germany was manufacturing in order to develop effective tactics and counter-measures.  This is where statistics – or more precisely – the point estimation formula came in.  The Germans, notorious as they are for order and precision, thoughtfully applied serial numbers to their equipment, which exactly matched the production date for that item.  This compulsion would provide the allies with a solution to their problem.

The idea that serial numbers could provide insights into material production output first arose in 1943 and was immediately used by the Economic warfare Division to gauge German tire yields. More creative statisticians soon realized that such thinking could be leveraged against all military output and began asking for the serial numbers from captured and destroyed tanks.  The front-line soldiers, although annoyed at what seemed to be a trifle, complied.  Let’s review the statistical underpinnings of this thinking with an example.  Suppose that I have the serial numbers for 20 destroyed tanks in Table 1.


What is a reasonable estimate of the total number of tanks that have been produced, to date?

Or statistically speaking, I want to perform an: “estimation of the maximum point of a discrete uniform distribution using sampling without replacement.”

Our useful formula, the “Maximum Likelihood Estimator” is:


Where:   = the estimated total number of tanks

n-in-formula= the estimated total number of tanks

m = the highest obtained serial number

n =  the sample size (my destroyed tanks)

I note from my sample that “669” is the highest serial number in the series, and thus becomes “m.” My sample size is “20” and is therefore, “n.” Substituting, I determine that  equals 701.45, or approximately 700 tanks.

After the war, the statistical calculations proved to be far more accurate and reliable than did the traditional methods of SWAG and intelligence gathering at German factories (Table 2).  The actual monthly production number – 245 tanks/month, matched the statistical prediction of 246 tanks/month.  Depressingly, initial Allied intelligence had suggested an astounding 1400 tanks were being produced monthly.  In fact, the Germans had cleverly contributed to this numerical confusion by painting and repainting higher numbers on their tank turrets to confuse spies.