Taguchi Method: Process Optimisation to increase Performance and Productivity

Taguchi Method: Process Optimisation to increase Performance and Productivity

Problem solving technique to help improve process performance.

Taguchi method might have initially been developed for the manufacturing sector, but they have become popular in other fields. An array of companies uses the approach for problem-solving and optimising quality as part of quality management

What is The Taguchi Method?

The Taguchi method (TM) is a problem-solving technique to help improve process performance, to increase efficiency and productivity. The Taguchi method is centred around reducing potential variations in a process through design of experiments.

The objective of using the methodology is to produce high-quality products with low costs to the manufacturer. Reducing variations in processes through the robust design of experiments.

Taguchi developed this method for designing experiments as a way to investigate how different parameters affect process performance and a way to define how well the process is functioning. 

Genichi Taguchi a Japanese engineer, developed the system to identify variances before they occur to increase the reliability of goods. Creating experiments using a “ recipe book” approach. Taguchi main aim was to improve the quality of manufacturing goods, but now it is used in many more businesses.

Organisations have a lot to gain if they apply the Taguchi system in different areas of their operations. Toyota adopted Taguchi’s techniques

For that, though, it's paramount to understand how the framework functions and what benefits it offers.

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Understanding The Taguchi Method

Learning the origins of Taguchi's approach is part of the job for any manager who intends to use the methods. The Taguchi method is a quality control system developed by Japanese statistician and engineer, Genichi Taguchi

In the 1950s, Taguchi was developing a telephone-switching system when he started looking for ways to improve product quality. Japan received his ideas well and in the 1980s, the concepts became popular in the West. Notable companies such as Ford, Toyota and Boeing adapted Taguchi's methods. The system used statistics to measure quality as a calculation of loss.

The use of loss function to gauge quality is not without its criticisms but Taguchi structured his methodology to deviate from the norm. His concepts offer an alternative perspective in data analysis and processing. The use of the loss function means that the Taguchi methods consider a product's loss to society. 

Loss in a product is measured by variations in its performance and the side effects it causes. From this calculation, you get the loss of variation in function, which is how much different a product is from how it's supposed to work. Marketing, biotechnology and advertising are some of the industries that use Taguchi's approach.

Taguchi Method Example

To grasp the Taguchi approach better, let's take an example of a precision drill that is designed for specific hole sizes. Whatever the material, the tool is supposed to drill the same holes. So, one way to determine the quality of the drill is by how much it deviates from this standard. 

The Taguchi system requires that the same design specifications be used for every unit of this product. If the drill caused injury during operation, then that is a side effect and a loss of function. Using Taguchi's methods, this issue would need to be addressed during production.

Philosophy of the Taguchi Method

There are three philosophies the Taguchi method is based around:

Quality Designed into  Product: Quality is designed into a process not inspected after. What process most affects the product?

Minimise Deviation from Target: Design product so immune to uncontrollable environmental factors.

Quality Function of Deviation: Measure losses system-wide from a product of poor quality.

The Main Factors in Taguchi Method

The Taguchi method is about quality control that focuses on the importance of research and development (R&D), and product design and development as a key way to reduce the occurrence of failures in the manufacturing process.

As Taguchi looked to improve product design while lowering costs, he explained that the framework can be viewed in three main components:

Systems Design: Focuses on the primary aspects that are necessary to produce the required product. It can include the best combination of materials and processes.

Parameter Design: Involves the most suitable set of rules that govern the established design elements. Defining the components in each parameter makes it easy to minimise the variation from a product. The Taguchi approach empathises this stage because it is often overlooked during industrial design practice.

Tolerance Design: Look at the factors that play a significant role in product quality. It then identifies tolerance limits that provide the variation required in the design.

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Steps in The Taguchi Method

The Taguchi method approach is about fine-tuning a particular process for the best outcomes. He proposed a standard procedure that companies can use to get the most out of any system. They are:

  • Establish the principle functions, side effects and challenges.
  • Identify the testing conditions, noise elements, and quality traits.
  • Define the objective function that requires optimisation.
  • Find the control factors and their levels.
  • Pick the orthogonal array matrix experiment.
  • Execute the matrix experiment.
  • Evaluate the data, predict the performance and optimum levels.
  • Conduct the verification experiment and plan for future actions.

What is Taguchi Method Used For?

Quality and Process improvement is essential for both business and especially customers benefits. Company financial profit, working hours, productivity, waste, and downtime cost and loss.

Customer trust is critical for relationships, substandard products, delayed delivery, financial implications, wasted time and project delays.

The Taguchi method can be used to control product quality, thus helping boost performance and productivity. With this approach, you tackle inefficiencies straight at the production line, which ensures that goods come out in their best forms.

Business Process Quality Control

Genichi Taguchi Contributions to business quality is vast:

Taguchi Quality Loss Function

Genichi Taguchi Books:

Introduction to Off-line Quality Control

On-line Quality Control During Production

Taguchi's Quality Engineering Handbook

Orthogonal Arrays and Linear Graphs

Taguchi Techniques for Quality Engineering

Taguchi Methods, Research and Development

Design of Experiments (DOE)

The Mahalanobis-Taguchi System

System of Experimental Design: Engineering Methods to Optimize Quality and Minimize Costs

Robust Engineering: Learn How to Boost Quality While Reducing Costs & Time to Market

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