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This month, readers share their praise for and application of two articles from the August issue. 


Concise and clear – it must be an ISE case study

David Brandt did a great job on the write-up about my research and practice of teaching automotive and manufacturing engineering technology (August, Case Study). I would not have been able to write in such a concise way.

You have made this boring topic very interesting and exciting reading. The organization and the flow of thoughts are great throughout the article.

I highly appreciate your valuable time and effort to make the case study.

Shaheen Ahmed
Assistant professor, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Mankato, Minnesota

In this Six Sigma case, retraining was in order

I read the article "Six Sigma Can Estimate Custom Jobs" in the August issue with a great deal of interest. I deal with columns of numbers when valuing a business and machinery and equipment appraisals. So I began the calculation of the numbers to see the "story" they would tell.

First, I renamed the third column (the one labeled "actual hours" in Figure 1 on Page 43) "variance" in order the see the disparity. After running descriptive statistics, a check for outliers and histograms, I reached the following conclusions.

There were no outliers, and the average variance was 30.31 percent. There were two numbers that were three or more standard deviations from the average. The standard deviation of the budget hours was 39 percent higher than the actual hours.

I know of no industry benchmark for a company goal of 10 percent variance between bid price and actual hours.

To correct the situation, you may elect to subtract 30 percent from your bid estimates or retrain your bidders/estimators.

To confirm my conclusion, I asked my friend, who is retired from Arthur Anderson, what he thought. His response was, "I don't need to see the numbers to conclude that the bidders/estimators need to be retrained."

R. Wayne Moorhead
Moorhead Business Brokerage LLC
Leawood, Kansas


The photo caption for "Patterning out Terrorist Behavior" on Page 10 of the September issue incorrectly stated that Salih Tutun and Mohammad Khasawneh of Binghamton University presented their research at the 2016 IIE Annual Conference and Expo. The research was presented at the 2015 conference.

Send letters to Michael Hughes at or to IISE, 3577 Parkway Lane, Suite 200, Norcross, GA 30092. Correspondence to the editorial staff is treated as a letter to the editor unless otherwise indicated. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity. Include your city and state of residence or employment. Letters from anonymous authors will not be published, but we will consider requests to publish letters with the author's name withheld.