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May 28, 2014

Kevin White shares best practices for applied statistics at Eastman Chemical

KevinWhite.pngKevin White of Eastman Chemical knows the power of applied statistics.Statistical problem-solving at Eastman Chemical has a long history, and I was fortunate to hear about it from Kevin White, who leads the Applied Statistics Group at Eastman. Kevin is the featured guest on the latest episode of Analytically Speaking. The Applied Statistics Group continues to grow and be more strategically leveraged over the years because the group has repeatedly proven its value, solving a wide variety of problems and fostering innovation. Kevin’s father used to lead the group, so Kevin was raised hearing about the power of applied statistics at Eastman.  

Kevin first encountered JMP as a student and has been using JMP software for more than 25 years. Even though he wasn’t exposed to newer statistical methods like optimal design of experiments (DOE) in school, he and his group make it a point to invest in learning new statistical methods on an ongoing basis. One way he fosters continuous learning is by encouraging his team to attend conferences like JMP Discovery Summit (in fact, Kevin is on the steering committee). Another way is assigning chapters from Peter Goos and Brad Jones’ Optimal Design of Experiments book for group discussion, followed by inviting Brad to speak to the group and field questions. 

DOE drives many strategic decisions, enabling faster innovation, deeper process knowledge, optimized processes and differentiation of Eastman’s product value over competitor products. Kevin and his group make good use of many other methods: statistical process control, process screening, stability analysis, modelling, and more, describing JMP as their “Swiss army knife” in a recent customer success story.

There is a strong data-based decision-making culture at Eastman. Kevin describes best practices that he says make their statisticians better, like the collaborative efforts that take place with scientists and statisticians. He notes that such efforts led to winning the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. We hope you’ll watch this latest episode of Analytically Speaking to hear Kevin share more best practices and how analytics is a strategic asset at Eastman.