Putting Taguchi Methods to Work

Article

Wilkins, James O., Jr.   (2000, ASQ)  

Quality Progress    Vol. 33    No. 5
QICID: 13917    May 2000    pp. 55-59
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Article Abstract

During the 1980s, the Big Three automakers and their suppliers found that Taguchi methods were useful for improving product and process design performance in the manufacturing environment. In spite of the success of Taguchi methods for the automotive industry in the 1980s, their use faded as the focus on quality improvement moved from manufacturing environments to upfront design activities. Ford Motor Company discovered that Taguchi's approach can be applied to more than the design of experiments and manufacturing. Because Taguchi methods were considered a tool for manufacturing they could not be used in upstream engineering processes, but as a need to eliminate downstream quality problems upstream in the 1990s brought the focus on Robust engineering once again. Robust engineering was developed by Genichi Taguchi as a way to rapidly optimize the performance of processes and products while reducing costs in research and development and in advanced engineering areas. The concept requires engineers to concentrate on design function. Often, companies measure the performance of their products or processes in terms of warranty/costs, scrap or network costs, or customer complaints. These measurements are applied after a product is designed, manufactured, and in the hands of consumers. If engineers identify the Ideal Function for a particular design, as in the Taguchi method, they must then focus on what consumers want. This forces the actual function of a design to approximate the ideal, and quality and reliability improve as a result.

Keywords

Automobile industry,Taguchi, Genichi,Taguchi method,Case study


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