A survey was carried out to characterize experimentation in three different European regions: the Baden-Württemberg region, The Basque Country and the rest of Spain. Results of the survey show that even though experimentation is a frequent activity, almost 95% of companies conduct experiments; the strategies used to carry them out are primitive. The one-factor-at-a-time strategy is used by 75% of companies far more than the 23%, which apply design of experiments (DoE). Results show that this may be due to the current lack of knowledge of DoE in these regions, where only 33% are familiar with the technique. Finally, the rate of applications of DoE among Six Sigma users is 40%, twice that of non-users, which stands at 19%. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.