The power of canonical variate analysis (CVA) biplots, when regarded as extensions of ordinary scatterplots to describe variation and group structure in multivariate observations, is demonstrated by presenting a case study from the South African wood pulp industry. It is shown how multidimensional standards specified by users of a product may be added to the biplot in the form of acceptance regions such that the roles of the respective variables that influence the product can be ascertained. The case study considers an alternative to CVA and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) when the application of these procedures becomes questionable as a result of dealing with small sample sizes and heterogeneity of covariance matrices. It is explained how analysis of distance (AOD) analogous to analysis of variance may be performed in such cases. Biplots to accompany AOD are provided. The biplots and AOD illustrated in the case study from the wood pulp industry have the potential to be used widely where a primary product, influenced by several variables, is produced and where this product is of importance to various secondary manufacturers depending on which set of multidimensional specifications are met.
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