Minitab vs SigmaXL for Six Sigma

Which is the best statistical software for Lean Six Sigma or statistical problem solving?

This is a question that quality professionals often ask, when they are starting to foray in to any kind of structured improvement program. Irrespective of the forum, most often, the question is about Minitab vs xxx. This indicates the popularity of Minitab. So I decided to do a series of posts comparing different statistical software available in the market, one at a time. The first one in this series is going to be Minitab vs SigmaXL 

Minitab vs SigmaXL

While there are many good statistical software - both paid and free or opensource, Minitab and SigmaXL are one of the most popular in the Lean Six Sigma professionals community. Here is a summary of my evaluation of the latest versions of the software - Minitab 18 and SigmaXL 8.0.

SLFeaturesMinitab 18SigmaXL 8.0
1Software TypeStand aloneMicrosoft Excel Add-in
2Individual User LicenceYesYes
3Concurrent user licenceYesNo
4Primary User BaseBusiness Users + Statistical and Six Sigma expertsStatistical & Six Sigma Experts
5Popularity90% of Fortune 100 companies use Minitab Statistical SoftwareMostly used by smaller companies, and expert consultants.
6FamialirityNeeds initial familiarity timeExcel based, so excel users feel familiar
7Operation SystemWindows OnlyWindows, Mac
8Learning CurveSmoother - users with relatively less experience in statistics can start using in-built Minitab Assistant feature to decide which tool to useSteeper - requires thorough knowledge of statistics for use, and guidance is limited to self-research.
9Help DocumentationExhaustive documentation, Online as well as inbuilt/offline point of use help, with brief descriptions, explanation of statistical concepts, how-to instructions, sample data, explanations and tutorialsLimited to how-to documentation in a downloadable PDF workbook
10PricingCostlier for individual users, but can be cost effective considering concurrent (can be installed in unlimited computers) user licensing optionCheaper for individual user licence, but concurrent user licencing option doesn’t exist
11Graphical ToolsRich Graphical reports that can be saved as projects, and exported /copied to Microsoft Word and PPTGraphical reporting limited to features available in Excel
12Auto updation of GraphMany graphs, including control charts can be updated automatically (or manually) by adding new dataAnalysis needs to be re-executed
13Pre-analysis of dataUses many pre-analyses of data to check adequacy of sample size, dispersion of data, stability of data, and auto-recommends statistical methods (for example recommends p-chart or laney p-chart automatically)No pre-analysis or recommendation feature. Give results as per statistical formulas, based on options selected by the user
14Statistical ToolsComprehensive - basic to most advanced tools are availableMost basic tools are available. Limited number of advanced tools are available.
14.1Hypothesis testsYesYes
14.2ANOVAMore than 2 way/factors possible, including ANOVA general linear modelOnly up to 2 way is possible. ANOVA general linear model, and multi-way ANOVA is not available
14.3Corelation and Linear regressionYesYes
14.4Power and sample SizeYesYes
14.5Control ChartsAll types of control charts avaailableLimited types. Cusum, EWMA not available
14.6Design of ExperimentYes, including general full factorial - capable of designing and analyzing simple to complex experimentsDOE available for up-to two level and fractional factorials. Complex design of experiments not supported
14.7Response surface methodYesNo
14.8Reliability AnalysisComprehensive reliability analysis tools availableLimited to Weibull analysis
14.9Non-normal data analysisComprehensive options of non-normal distributionLimited to converting non-normal data to normal using Box-Cox transformation


As long as advanced statistical  analysis is not  required, and you and your team are confident about the  tools and options to use, SigmaXL will suffice your needs, and save some money.

However, if you or your team members are primarily business users, who want to use statistics as a tool to solve business problems or get deep insight into your data, Minitab should be preferred over SigmaXL.



Posted in Minitab, Six Sigma.
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