What is the 'Taguchi Method of Quality Control'

The Taguchi Method of quality control is an approach to engineering that emphasizes the roles of research and development, product design and product development in reducing the occurrence of defects and failures in products. The Taguchi Method considers design to be more important than the manufacturing process in quality control and tries to eliminate variances in production before they can occur.

BREAKING DOWN 'Taguchi Method of Quality Control'

Genichi Taguchi, a Japanese engineer and statistician, began formulating the Taguchi Method while developing a telephone-switching system for Electrical Communication Laboratory, a Japanese company, in the 1950s. As a result of his success, he eventually became well-known in both Japan and the United States, with companies such as Toyota, Ford, Boeing and Xerox adopting his methods.

The Taguchi Method Encourages Efficiency

The Taguchi Method gauges quality as a calculation of loss to society associated with a product. In particular, loss in a product is defined by variations and deviations in its function as well as detrimental side effects that result from the product. Loss from variation in function is a comparison of how much each unit of the product differs in the way it operates. The greater that variance, the more significant the loss in function and quality. This could be represented as a monetary figure denoting how usage has been impacted by defects in the product.

For instance, if the product is a precision drill that must consistently drill holes of an exact size in all materials it is used on, part of its quality is determined by how much the units of the product differ from those standards. With the Taguchi Method of quality control, the focus is to use research and design to ensure that every unit of the product will closely match those design specifications and perform exactly as designed.

Loss from detrimental side effects on society speaks to whether or not the design of the product could inherently lead to an adverse impact. For example, if operating the precision drill could cause injury to the operator because of how it is designed, there is a loss of quality in the product. Under the Taguchi Method, work done during the design stage of creation would aim to minimize the possibility that the drill would be crafted in a way that its use could cause injuries to the operator.

From a higher perspective, the Taguchi Method would also strive to reduce the cost to society to use the product, such as designing products to be more efficient in their operation rather generate waste. For instance, the drill could be designed to minimize the need for regular maintenance. 

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