The standard error of the fit (SE fit) estimates the variation in the estimated mean response for the specified variable settings. The calculation of the confidence interval for the mean response uses the standard error of the fit. Standard errors are always non-negative.
Use the standard error of the fit to measure the precision of the estimate of the mean response. The smaller the standard error, the more precise the predicted mean response. For example, an analyst develops a model to predict delivery time. For one set of variable settings, the model predicts a mean delivery time of 3.80 days. The standard error of the fit for these settings is 0.08 days. For a second set of variable settings, the model produces the same mean delivery time with a standard error of the fit of 0.02 days. The analyst can be more confident that the mean delivery time for the second set of variable settings is close to 3.80 days.
With the fitted value, you can use the standard error of the fit to create a confidence interval for the mean response. For example, depending on the number of degrees of freedom, a 95% confidence interval extends approximately two standard errors above and below the predicted mean. For the delivery times, the 95% confidence interval for the predicted mean of 3.80 days when the standard error is 0.08 is (3.64, 3.96) days. You can be 95% confident that the population mean is within this range. When the standard error is 0.02, the 95% confidence interval is (3.76, 3.84) days. The confidence interval for the second set of variable settings is narrower because the standard error is smaller.