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Multivariate statistical analysis has come of age over the last decade. Dofasco, a leading North American provider of Solutions in Steel/spl trade/ and Tembec, a multinational, integrated forest products company have applied this technology in many industrial applications. The intent of the paper is to give an introduction to the application of on-line multivariate statistical analysis in industrial settings, and its impact on daily operating costs, product quality, throughput, equipment reliability and environmental impact. The paper introduces the reader to the basic concepts of multivariate statistical analysis for both continuous and batch processes. As well, the paper examines the types of problems to which multivariate statistical analysis can be applied in an industrial process, and our experiences in deploying robust, on-line applications.