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Using Statistics in Business

Gary Fetter, Virginia Tech. This website is focused on statistical concepts useful in business.

Statistics is a study of variation that involves collecting, classifying, organizing, displaying, and summarizing information. It is as much an art as it is science. Statistics is commonly organized into two main areas: 1) Descriptive Statistics, and 2) Inferential Statistics. Descriptive statistics is concerned with numerical and graphical measures for describing and presenting data. Inferential statistics, on the other hand, involves procedures designed to make estimates and generalizations about certain characteristics of a large population using data taken from a subset of that population.

Everyday we see statistics in action. Reports claim that 4 out of 5 patients who are taking a certain drug report that they experienced unusual pain in their legs, 1 out of 4 homeowners are facing foreclosure, that you have less than a 1 in 1,217,000,000 chance to win the lottery.

Statistics are widely used in business. For example, production managers test manufacturing processes to ensure that products are produced within desired customer and regulatory specifications. Auditors sample a subset of accounts receivable transactions to make inferences and decisions about the validity of the total accounts receivable number reported on the company's balance sheet. Restaurant managers use statistics to examine variability of important performance measures, such as customer orders and food cost, to plan work schedules and estimate material purchases. And, information technology managers use statistics to monitor network bandwidth performance and to make decisions on how to allocate resources.

I'll be adding to this site and plan to make content available for download, so please check back for updates!

Copyright © 2008, Gary Fetter