ISO 9001:2008 and Quality Gurus - Dr. Genichi Taguchi (born 1924)
I’ve selected seven personalities called quality gurus, who influenced the concepts behind ISO 9000 standard. Their prolific work and contribution to
quality is substantial. Along them, are many others, and I apologize myself for not mention them here.
Raised in textile town of Takamachi, Japan, Taguchi studied textile engineering. World War II found him in Astronomical Department of
navigation Institute. After several years in Ministry of Public health and Welfare of Japan, where he met Matosaburo Masuyama, a
statistician who supported him, he was hired at electrical Communication Laboratory, a rival of Bell Laboratories (see the story of Deming).
Here, Taguchi worked to find ways of improving quality and reliability. Taguchi collaborated with Shewhart and Fisher.
Taguchi's contribution to quality consists in what is called Taguchi Loss Functions, also design of experiment to product design. His
estimation was that 80% of all defective items are caused by poor design. Therefore, emphasis should be on design stage.
Design of experiment is an engineering approach which is based on developing robust design; this is a design which results in a product
which can perform over a wide range of conditions. In other words, it's easier to design a product which would operate under a large range of conditions,
rather than to control these conditions so that the product to work as intended.
Loss function has implication to quality costs. Traditionally, if a product characteristic falls outside specification limits, it will increase the cost of poor quality.
However, if that characteristic is closer to specifications and not to intended target, the quality of that product is poorer, even if it stills satisfy the
requirements. This may lead to lower customer satisfaction. Taguchi proposed that, as conformance values moves away from the target, loss increases as
a quadratic function. This means that smaller differences from the target result in smaller costs.
Read more about Genichi Taguchi on Wikipedia...
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Last updated: 07 Jan 2010