Barriers faced by engineers when applying design of experiments

Martín Tanco (TECNUN, University of Navarra, Gipuzkoa, Spain)
Elisabeth Viles (TECNUN, University of Navarra, Gipuzkoa, Spain)
Laura Ilzarbe (TECNUN, University of Navarra, Gipuzkoa, Spain)
Ma Jesus Alvarez (TECNUN, University of Navarra, Gipuzkoa, Spain)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this article is to provide an extensive review of the barriers faced by engineers when applying design of experiments (DoE). The aim is to help new practitioners learn from the past and avoid possible barriers that they may encounter when applying DoE in industry.


An exhaustive literary review was carried out to find articles in which hindrances to the application of DoE were mentioned. The information is organised and grouped into 16 barriers with this end in mind.


The 16 barriers can be classified into three different groups: business barriers; educational barriers; and technical barriers. It is shown that DoE can be successfully applied without overcoming every barrier, although it is inconvenient to do so.

Practical implications

Although DoE is commonly found in statistics and quality literature, it is clearly underused in industry. The paper brings together ideas from those with experience in DoE to detect the reasons behind this anomaly.


Very little material has been published regarding the difficulty of applying DoE. Unfortunately, what is available is repetitive, unstructured and incomplete. The paper is intended to encourage discussion between practitioners and experts, in order to find a way to define, categorise and eventually overcome the most problematic barriers.



Tanco, M., Viles, E., Ilzarbe, L. and Jesus Alvarez, M. (2009), "Barriers faced by engineers when applying design of experiments", The TQM Journal, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 565-575.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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