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## Discussion Forum #5

The discussion forum session this week again draws upon the advanced reading assignment. As you prepare for week 7 you want to turn your attention to the difference between a population and a sample. How can knowledge about one help you to understand the other? How does the concept of sampling enter into this analysis?

The Discussion Question Is:

Read the “Statistics in Practice” information on page 320. How are the sampling techniques used by Meadwestvaco helping the company meet it’s objectives? Why do they need to sample?

How are the sampling techniques used by MeadWestvaco helping the company meet its objectives? Why do they need to sample?

MeadWestvaco’s internal consulting group uses sampling to provide information that enables the company to obtain significant productivity benefits and remain competitive. Managers need reliable and accurate information about the timberlands and forests to evaluate the company’s ability to meet its future raw material needs. MeadWestvaco’s managers can develop plans for the future, including long term planting and harvesting schedules for the trees.

Sampling is performed by collecting data from sample plots throughout the forests as the basis for learning about the population of trees owned by the company. To identify the sample plots, the timberland holdings are first divided into three sections based on location and types of trees. Using maps and random numbers, MeadWestvaco analysts identify random samples of 1/5- to 1/ 7-acre plots in each section of the forest. MeadWestvaco foresters collect data from these sample plots to learn about the forest population.

Foresters throughout the organization participate in the field data collection process. From time to time, a team of two people gathers information on each tree in every sample plot. The sample data are entered into the company’s computer system called a continuous forest inventory (CFI). The CFI system is used by management to generate reports that include a number of frequency distribution summaries that contain statistics on types of trees, present forest volume, past forest growth rates, and projected future forest growth and volume. Sampling and the associated statistical summaries of the sample data provide the reports essential for the effective management of MeadWestvaco’s forests and timberlands.

Sources:

Anderson, D. R., Sweeney, D. J., Williams, T. A., Camm, J. D., Cochran, J. J., Fry, M. J., & Ohlmann, J. W. (2020). Statistics for Business and Economics. Boston, MA: Cenga

How are the sampling techniques used by MeadWestvaco helping the company meet its objectives? Why do they need to sample?

MeadWestvaco’s sampling techniques are helping the company meet its objectives because it is allowing them to gather further information needed in order to further increase their productivity levels and give them more of a competitive edge in the industry. These sampling techniques help the MeadWestvaco’s forests and timberlands to receive the best management than these forests and timberlands would otherwise receive through obtaining reliable and accurate information.

MeadWestvaco collects data by sample plots, in which they place throughout the forests. These sample plots are divided amongst three sections that are based on geographic location and the types of trees. These sample plots assist MeadWestvaco foresters with obtaining data about the forests’ populations. MeadWestvaco needs to continue to sample because the information they are receiving from these samples are allowing them to develop future plans that include both long-term planting and harvesting schedules for the trees. The sample data is also needed because this data is being entered into the company’s CFI system which will allow MeadWestvaco’s management to analyze multiple frequency distribution summaries that show statistics on various tree-types, as well as the past, present, and future projections for the forest growth.

References:

Anderson, D. R., Sweeney, D. J., Williams, T. A., Camm, J. D., Cochran, J. J., Fry, M. J., & Ohlmann, J. W. (2020). Statistics for Business and Economics. Boston, MA: Cengage.

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