Dorian Shainin worked more than 60 years to improve the professional approach to industrial Problem Solving. He is best known for the "Shainin techniques," practical tools he developed to help manufacturers solve problems, including problems that had been considered unsolvable.
Through his work with more than 900 organizations, Shainin developed a discipline called Statistical Engineering. He specialized in creating strategies to enable engineers to "talk to the parts" and solve "unsolvable" problems. The discipline has been used successfully for Product Development, Quality Improvement, Analytical Problem Solving, manufacturing cost reduction, Product Reliability, Product Liability prevention, and research and development.
After earning a degree in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1936, Shainin joined United Aircraft Corp. (now United Technologies Corp.) as an engineer and was later in charge of Quality Control at a large division of the company. Sixteen years later, he joined Rath and Strong Management Consultants.
Shainin retired from Rath and Strong as a senior vice president, and in 1975 established his own consulting practice, Shainin Consultants, Inc. His sons Peter and Richard later joined him in his business.
From 1950 through 1983, Shainin was on the faculty of the University of Connecticut, where he originated and conducted the continuing education program for people in industry. At one of his seminars, the medical directors of two Connecticut hospitals convinced him to work on some of their critical management problems. As a result, The Newington Children's Hospital (now part of the Connecticut Children's Medical Center) appointed him statistical consultant to the medical staff from 1957 to 1994. Thus, he had the opportunity to adapt several of his techniques to the problems of the etiology of infirmities, particularly disabled children.
In the early 1960s, Shainin served Grumman Aerospace as a Reliability consultant for the lunar module of NASA's Apollo project. The lunar module Prototype components and systems had been empirically tested using the Shainin multiple environment overstress probe testing system to be statistically sure that even the weakest failure mode had a statistical margin of safety. NASA initially awarded that contract to Grumman because no other aerospace competitive proposal demonstrated that safety ability.
Shainin wrote more than 100 articles and was the author or co-author of several books, including Managing Manpower in the Industrial Environment; Tool Engineers Handbook; Quality Control Handbook; New Decision-Making Tools for Managers; Quality Control for Plastics Engineers; Manufacturing, Planning, and Estimating Handbook; and Statistics In Action.
Shainin died in 2000.
Shainin's Design of Experiments
Shainin discussion threads in the Elsmar Cove Forums