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Methodology for capturing and formalizing DFM Knowledge
Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Volume 26, Issue 5, p. 420-429, October 2010 | I. Ferrer, J. Rios, J. Ciurana, M.L. Garcia-Romeu
Design for manufacturing (DFM) practices lead to more competitive products from the point of view of cost, development time and quality. However, the success of considering manufacturing issues during design process would be higher if manufacturing information was more readily available and designers needed less experience to select information relevant to DFM.This paper presents a method for identifying and formalizing the relevant manufacturing information that designer should have available for DFM. The method is based on the Axiomatic Design theory [1]. It helps the designer capture the relationship between design and manufacturing information. The information related to obtaining the design parameters that achieve product functionalities is the most relevant DFM information. A case study where the method is applied to the design of a connecting rod for an alternative internal combustion engine is presented. The manufacturing processes considered were hot closed die forging and powder metallurgy.
Pareto optimization of a five-degree of freedom vehicle vibration model using a multi-objective uniform-diversity genetic algorithm (MUGA)
Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Volume 23, Issue 4, p. 543-551, June 2010 | N. Nariman-Zadeh, M. Salehpour, A. Jamali, E. Haghgoo
In this paper, a new multi-objective uniform-diversity genetic algorithm (MUGA) with a diversity preserving mechanism called the e-elimination algorithm is used for Pareto optimization of a five-degree of freedom vehicle vibration model considering the five conflicting functions simultaneously. The important conflicting objective functions that have been considered in this work are, namely, seat acceleration, forward tire velocity, rear tire velocity, relative displacement between sprung mass and forward tire and relative displacement between sprung mass and rear tire. Further, different pairs of these objective functions have also been selected for 2-objective optimization processes. The comparison of the obtained results with those in the literature demonstrates the superiority of the results of this work. It is shown that the results of 5-objective optimization include those of 2-objective optimization and, therefore, provide more choices for optimal design of a vehicle vibration model.
Use of Six Sigma to Move Verification of Vehicle Remote Keyless Entry Upstreams in Product Development Process
2010-01-0701, SAE 2010 World Congress, Detroit, Michigan, USA | B Bergqvist; M Nilsson; D Jiresten
A primary goal within the industry is to shorten the lead time to get shorter time to market and lower cost. System verification can set the limits for how short the lead time can be. Traditionally verification of automotive communication systems like Remote Keyless Entry, RKE, is performed in a complete vehicle late in the product development process.To fulfill the quality demands during the shorter project time Volvo Cars, VCC, has experienced that it is necessary to develop new requirements and verification methods. Six Sigma contains a complete toolbox to do this in a structured and time efficient way.VCC has together with other Ford Motor Company, brands and the supplier Continental developed methods and requirements so that the RKE system can be verified before vehicles are built. Only a last validation has to be performed in a complete vehicle.The process consists of: - Well-defined technical requirements on the transceiver and key fob modules that can be verified in a bench test. - Requirement levels for the individual parts in the communication link (antenna, cable, transceiver, key fob) are set by using a verified link budget formula for the complete communication link in different environments. - By using antenna simulations and the link budget formula, fulfillment of complete vehicle requirements can be calculated before vehicles are built. - A new harmonized RF-protocol for RKE and other functions has been developed in order to decrease complexity and number of variants for both vehicle manufacturer and supplier.
Toyota's true flaw is drifting from lean disciplines mode
John Torinus | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | April 03, 2010
The lapse in Toyota's quality performance is no reason to retreat from the lean management disciplines that it pioneered. To the contrary, if Toyota had not lost its way on its broad, decades-old strategy of eliminating defects, early warning signals would have brought an army of its quality experts swarming all over the problem. Corrective action would have occurred long before the accelerator malfunctions became an issue in the field. That lean disciplines work is beyond debate. Every Wisconsin company that has adopted them in a serious way has seen surprisingly big reductions in scrap, through-put, inventory and other forms of waste. Toyota's march to the top of the worldwide automotive industry was directly a result of higher perceived quality in its cars, and that perception was based on fewer defects per vehicle.
Genchi Genbutsu a Successful Tool for Quality Improvement During the Product Development Process
SAE 2009-36-0319
The automotive competition is growing every day, and automotive products (vehicles and components) are often developed in one country though it's made based on a global architecture, used and applied in other markets, and with the high competition between automakers, engineers cannot afford make mistakes during the product development mainly in global architectures. Be the customer or put yourself in the customer's place is the key to good product planning, design, development, and also, marketing, therefore to understand exactly what the customers are complaining about on the current products to consider these lessons learned on the new products the Genchi Genbutsu is key tool to find the root cause of any problem which is the key to a lasting solution and a successful product development. The article describes some successful steps to apply the Genchi Genbutsu during the automotive product development.
Quality Improvement and Warranty Cost Containment: Better Answers Are in the Text
SAE 2004-01-2666
The automotive industry is plagued with quality concerns and with quality and warranty management issues. As shown the industry spends on average more than 2% of its product revenues on warranty costs that total over $10 billion per year. With average warranty reserve exceeding $700 for a vehicle with a typical profit margin of only $175, and market pressure to provide longer and more comprehensive warranties, OEMs and Tier I suppliers carry longer term liabilities and are under increased financial pressure. Increased visibility to product quality, underscored by the TREAD Act warranty data reporting requirements and the FASB warranty disclosure rules, will continue to add to the pressure on OEMs to improve initial quality and significantly improve their ability to quickly detect and correct quality problems. But despite the noticeable results of the concentrated effort by North American manufacturers to improve initial quality, these improvements alone will not suffice to address lifecycle quality in any significant way. Increasing vehicle complexity, frequent new model introductions, and an intricate supply chain will continue to burden the industry and will lessen the impact of initial quality improvement on the bottom line. In addition to improving designed-in quality, OEMs must develop strategies and tools to recognize problems sooner, analyze them faster, and be able to consistently and efficiently focus on those that have the greatest contribution and the most impact on customer satisfaction and on the bottom line. This paper describes a quality management paradigm that facilitates an agile and responsive quality-driven organization. This paradigm is centered on replacing the existing coding system by comprehensive mining of failure information from all available repositories, focusing on extracting information from free text repositories that provide more detailed information about problem characteristics than do the codes currently being used.
Where Toyota went wrong
Fortune Feb 2010
T Jin, H Liao, M Kilari

In an article in Fortune magazine A Taylor contends that when Toyota gets around to doing one of its famous root cause analysis of the recent recall, it should start by looking in the mirror. As the company grew to become the largest automaker in the world, it failed to adjust its corporate structure to accommodate its altered scale. And it in its zeal to deliver profits as well as revenue, it may have overlooked fundamental principles that used to underpin its business.
Reliability growth modeling for in-service electronic systems considering latent failure modes
Microelectronics Reliability, Vol 50, Issue 3, p. 324-331, March 2010
T Jin, H Liao, M Kilari

A latent failure mode is a type of failure that may not occur until the system has operated in the field for a certain period of time. Predicting latent failures is often difficult, but it has a great importance for reliability management in terms of system maintenance and warranty services. This paper proposes a stochastic model to predict the reliability growth for field or in-service electronic systems considering latent failures. The proposed model can be applied to electronics industries where extended in-house reliability testing cannot be implemented due to the tight design schedule. Based on the new method, the product management can proactively implement corrective actions against key failure modes using relevant engineering resources. A discussion between the effectiveness of corrective actions and the associated cost is also provided. Finally, field failure data collected from a fleet of automatic test equipment are used to demonstrate the applicability and performance of the model.
An analytic hierarchy process approach with linguistic variables for selection of an R&D strategic alliance partner
Computers & Industrial Engineering, Vol 58, Issue 2, p. 278-287, March 2010 S Chen, P Wang, C Chen, H Lee
This study establishes a mechanism for partner selection that emphasizes the relation of criteria and motivation. Since the motivations for establishing strategic alliances follow different enterprises’ needs, attempting to identify universal criteria weights that enterprises should employ when seeking a proper partner are not productive. Consequently, the weighting process for criteria must consider the intensity of motivations for establishing the alliance. When evaluating companies with closer levels of performance, the approach of pair-wise comparison is more suitable than the direct scoring method. Considering the strategic level, most comparisons may be vague and linguistic variables defined as fuzzy numbers are applied to this situation. The calculation procedure for the weighting and evaluation processes under a vague environment is proposed and validated by using an illustrative example.
How good is your benchmarkingBest-in-class benchmarking also can test organizational commitment to change. As the GBN study reported, all too many companies find out what is needed to be the best and then back away for a variety of reasons.
New ASME Y14.5 - 2009 Standards for GD&TThe new ASME Y14.5-2009 standard on dimensioning and tolerancing reflects a culmination of effort extending over 15 years. It is a revision of the ASME Y14.5M-1994 standard. The design process has changed over the past 15 years, and so have geometric dimensioning and tolerancing standards. Geometric concepts are now much easier to read and understand; revisions emphasize use of basic dimensions and geometric tolerancing as the preferred way of controlling the form, orientation, and location of features. The M in the title of the old standard recognized the fact that it was metric compatible and was deemed no longer necessary, so it was dropped.
The Top Ten Mobile Solutions for Lean ManufacturingQuality and error proofing - validating process accuracy and improve customer satisfaction, eKanBan are among the top ten mobile solutions suggested in this paper. In order to succeed, manufacturers must find a way to cut costs without impacting quality, customer service or product availability. Lean initiatives are helping manufacturers drive wastes out of plant floor operations by simplifying, standardizing and continually improving processes.
How to optimize knowledge sharing in a factory networkDesigning a manufacturing network entails devising and managing flows of innovation and know-how - not just determining what to produce and where - and organizing the resulting logistics flows.
Squeezing more ideas from product teardownsEngineers and purchasers love product teardowns - the practice of dismantling products into parts as a way to spark fresh thinking. Few manufacturers, however, elevate the practice above Skunk Works status, and many executives pigeonhole it as a tactical exercise in cost cutting. Some companies, however, are throwing open the doors of their Skunk Works labs and using teardowns as opportunities to increase cross-functional collaboration.
Unlocking the potential of frontline managers
According to this report in McKinsey Quarterly, typical frontline managers have to operate as cogs in a machine, and that is a huge waste. Instead of being stuck writing reports and enforcing rules, they should coach employees and improve the things that really affect quality.
Future role of quality throughout the enterprise
While a Quality Officer may still see their role as one of cost reduction by implementing defect and waste reduction strategies and continuous improvement efforts around satisfying customers, a growing number view themselves as more of a macro-leader, directly connecting their quality practices to business trends and top-line growth. They can be revenue-generators and revenue protectors, as well as cost-cutters. This report by Mike Adams, looks at the future role of quality throughout the enterprise.
Continuous Improvement -- Are You Focusing on the Trivial?
July 22, 2009
The continuing evolution of business models and strategies has led to many organizations outsourcing more and more of their value-adding activities and becoming more like general contractors in managing their supply chains to deliver products and services to their customers. Many manufacturers are seeing the direct labor portion of their cost of goods sold (COGS) drop into the single-digit percentages while purchased components and materials often account for over 60% of their COGS (with overhead at 30% or more). The focus now needs to be on the extended supply chain, both upstream and downstream. By focusing on continuous improvement and waste elimination in this extended supply chain, you can often identify cost-reduction opportunities that are much larger than those you can identify within your own four walls.
Staats, Bradley R. and Upton, David M., Lean Principles, Learning, and Software Production: Evidence from Indian Software Services (March 30, 2009). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 08-001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1370409
The authors of this paper spent several years analyzing software projects at Wipro Technologies. Wipro trained selected groups of programmers and managers in lean development techniques, which called for dedicating small teams to specific tasks in an iterative production schedule. Each team reported its status daily on a "visual control board" that tracked the progress of each task, allowing everyone on the team to see the scope of projects and enabling project managers to solve problems early. Through interviews with dozens of employees, access to project updates, and data on the results of specific projects, the authors found that the lean development teams tended to finish products ahead of schedule and more efficiently.
Levine, David and Toffel, Michael
Quality Management and Job Quality: How the ISO 9001 Standard for Quality Management Systems Affects Employees and Employers(July 13, 2009). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Research Paper No. 09-018. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1237730
Several studies have examined how the ISO 9001 Quality Management System standard predicts changes in organizational outcomes such as profits. This is the first large-scale study to explore how employee outcomes such as employment, earnings, and health and safety change when employers adopt ISO 9001. We analyzed a matched sample of nearly 1,000 companies in California. ISO 9001 adopters subsequently had far lower organizational death rates than a matched control group of non-adopters. Among surviving employers, ISO adopters had higher growth rates for sales, employment, payroll, and average annual earnings. Injury rates declined slightly for ISO 9001 adopters, although total injury costs did not. These results have implications for organizational theory, managers, and public policy.
Quality as a Competitive Advantage of Travel Agents, Ivanov, Stanislav; Yearbook of International University College, pp. 150-156, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1293729
The paper presents a theoretical framework for evaluating service quality in travel agencies. It identifies eight factors influencing perceived service quality, namely: offered products, promotional and informational materials, office and equipment, ambiance, personnel, servicing process, correctness of issued travel documents, payment. The paper also presents some of the marketing activities which will help a travel agent to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
Safety Analysis of an Airbag System using Probabilistic FMEA and Probabilistic Counter Examples
Traditionally, FMEA does not take the probabilities with which these failures may occur into account. Recently, this shortcoming was addressed by integrating stochastic model checking techniques into the FMEA process. A further improvement is the integration of techniques for the generation of counter examples for stochastic models, which we propose in this paper. Counter examples facilitate the redesign of a potentially unsafe system by providing information which components contribute most to the failure of the entire system. The usefulness of this novel approach to the FMEA process is illustrated by applying it to the case study of an airbag system provided by our industrial partner, the TRW Automotive GmbH.
A coordinate SPC model for assuring designated fit quality via quality-oriented statistical tolerancing
Computers & Industrial Engineering, Volume 57, Issue 1, p. 73-79, August 2009
On the basis of studies to process quality indices and fit quality indices, the quality-oriented statistical tolerancing is introduced, which provides an interface between fit quality and the process parameter design of mating parts. A statistical mating model via the quality-oriented statistical tolerancing under information-based manufacturing condition is discussed. Compared with traditional mating model for a pair of hole/shaft fit, the statistical mating model is developed for equal batches of hole/shaft fit, and it can achieve a designated fit quality and minimum defective ratio by fully utilizing statistical tolerance zone and the known information of manufactured mating parts via a coordinate SPC model and local network and information system. Thus, production cost for mating parts can be reduced obviously. This new approach provides a possibility and guideline to concurrent design of the process quality, statistical tolerances to assure designated process quality and fit quality for hole and shaft parts.
Sequential pattern mining algorithm for automotive warranty data
Computers & Industrial Engineering, Volume 57, Issue 1, p. 137-147, August 2009
This paper presents a sequential pattern mining algorithm that allows product and quality engineers to extract hidden knowledge from a large automotive warranty database. The algorithm uses the elementary set concept and database manipulation techniques to search for patterns or relationships among occurrences of warranty claims over time. These patterns are represented as IF–THEN sequential rules, where the IF portion of the rule includes one or more occurrences of warranty problems at one time and the THEN portion includes warranty problem(s) that occur at a later time. Once sequential patterns are generated, the algorithm uses rule strength parameters to filter out insignificant patterns, so that only important (significant) rules are reported. Significant patterns provide knowledge of one or more product failures that leads to future product fault(s). The effectiveness of the algorithm is illustrated with the warranty data mining application from the automotive industry. A discussion on the sequential patterns generated by the algorithm and their interpretation for the automotive example are also provided.
A Systematic Approach to Sustainable Design of Car Seat Assembly Using the Modified Qualitiy Function Deployment Method
Today there are over 600 million vehicles on the world´s roads with another 60,000,000 new vehicles produced each year worldwide. It is estimated that around two thirds of world´s oil output goes to transportation whereby road vehicles alone consume around 40%. The automotive industry uses approximately 15% of the world´s steel, 40% of the world´s rubber and 25% of the world´s glass, with the consumption of raw materials and other resources further growing due to the rapid development of the automotive sector in China and India. In addition, transportation accounts for around 25% of greenhouse emissions worldwide, whereby 90% of transport related emissions come from road vehicles, predominantly cars. Clearly, current levels of consumption and emissions are unsustainable. This paper will present a systematic approach to sustainable design of a car seat assembly using the modified Quality Function Deployment method as an integrating medium for stakeholder requirements and technical targets (including LCA, LCC etc.). Car seats represent a critical element of the vehicle system, due to the wide range of functions and requirements that they are required to meet. These include adjustability of driver position, ergonomics/comfort, aesthetics, safety, etc.
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) for an Automotive System Supplier
The expected result of an engineering organization that practices the disciplines of Robust Engineering in its "up-front" design process is near zero quality issues. The designs these teams engineer show a clear understanding of the customers expectations of function over varying usage conditions. The teams also comprehend the environmental and manufacturing noise factors, and the sub-systems interactions to deliver a robust product to the market place. This paper outlines the chosen approach of ArvinMeritor, as a typical first tier supplier of automotive roof system, to conduct such a DFSS project. Project selection, the development of robust engineering skills and the definition of a lean DFSS process for a small engineering organization are presented. As an example of this activity, the progress on a design of a manual sun shade with regard to its operation efforts is demonstrated.
Monitoring laser cut quality using acoustic emission
The paper presents results of an analysis of acoustic-emission (AE) signals obtained during laser cutting of a steel plates, which are frequently used in the production of automotive body components. In the course of laser cutting, continuous signals, which are related to the quality achieved of the laser cut, are measured. After laser cutting characteristic AE bursts in the specimen material, which are results of a thermal influence, can be detected. The presence of dross is an important indicator of poor quality of laser cutting. The investigation on laser cutting was conducted on an unalloyed steel DC04 sheet and on austenitic stainless steel X5CrNi18-10 sheet of 1.5mm in thickness. The same physical mechanism in the cut formation at both steels, however, resulted in a considerable different cut quality, which was indicated by the AE signals captured after the cutting process.
Develop a Process Control Plan
SME Manufacturing Engineering Magazine - David Bengtson, The Johnson Gage
Process validation and documentation is a critical component of success in today's manufacturing world. From Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) to development of comprehensive production and quality assurance methodologies, measurement of the production process defines the manufacturing world.
Weibull Plots Predict System Reliability
Machine Design, October 20, 2008 - John Berner
Weibull plots are statistical tools that give engineers a good look at the reliability of their designs while in prototype stages. Key points of the article state that Weibull plots fit a curve through data, not data to a predetermined distribution's curve, and that After evaluating subsystems, their Weibull data is combined to represent the complete system.
Does the total cost of warranty have any correlation to product quality?
Warranty Week
GM and Ford together spent over $8.5 billion on claims during 2007. The important measure of warranty cost is the cost as a percentage of sales. Even more revealing are changes in these rates over time. Based on a comparison of the worldwide claims rates seen for Toyota, Ford, GM, Honda, DaimlerChrysler and U.S. quality data collected by J.D. Power and Associates, one does seem to be related to the other.
Impact of quality variations on product reliability
Reliability Engineering & System Safety Journal - R. Jianga and D.N.P. Murthy
The reliability of manufactured products can differ from the desired design reliability due to variations in manufacturing quality. Failure data from field provide useful information to assess if the changes in product reliability variations are significant or not and to identify the cause for the variation. In order to devise statistical methods to detect this, one needs to model the effect of quality variations in manufacturing on product reliability. This paper looks at this issue and examines the Weibull case in detail.
Toyota Says Quality Circles Still Paying Dividends
Wards Auto
The real advantage is developing a workforce that can learn, execute, and most importantly, improve on the investment you have made.
Chrysler repairs decline 30% for the year
The Detroit News, 02 Oct 2008
Chrysler's repair claims for cars under warranty have dropped 30% in the past year as the automaker focuses on customer satisfaction after lagging behind the industry, according to a J.D. Power and Associates survey. Chrysler has targeted smaller improvements rather than more expensive fixes to keep customers happy after scoring the lowest among major automakers in a quality survey this year.
Enabling Six Sigma With a New Approach for Detailed Design
2008-01-2302; SAE Aerospace Manufacturing and Automated Fastening Conference and Exhibition, North Charleston, South Carolina, USA, 09/16/2008 - 09/18/2008
Many aerospace & defense organizations have placed an increased emphasis on reducing the time to transition products from engineering to manufacturing while simultaneously reducing the product technical risks. One area with the greatest impact on these objectives is detailed design. This is the stage in the product development lifecycle when the development team addresses the detailed product definition and "Design for Six Sigma." Unfortunately, most aerospace & defense manufacturers still follow a serial process for creating the detailed design. In addition, producibility is often not formally addressed because it is treated as an additional step that requires extra engineering effort that delays completion of the product definition. This paper presents a solution piloted at Aerojet for the detailed design and manufacture of missile propulsion systems. The software tool at the core of the solution captures manufacturing engineering expertise and provides real-time, quantitative information to link design requirements to the manufacturing processes. This practical approach to Six Sigma-enabled design has been created to help engineering create the detailed design documentation, while simultaneously addressing producibility analysis and characteristic accountability. The result is a reduction in the time to complete detailed design. As importantly, by ensuring compliance with requirements, the solution helps to reduce nonconformances, design changes, and quality escapes.
Qualifying Capacitive Sensing Hole Measurement System Technology Using Gage R&R Analysis 2008-01-2302; SAE Aerospace Manufacturing and Automated Fastening Conference and Exhibition, North Charleston, South Carolina, USA, 09/16/2008 - 09/18/2008
The Capacitec CMS3 Reader, coupled with the CHP 48 sensor probe, achieves (plus or minus) 3mum accuracy by mapping 24 diameters in high tolerance drill holes for the manufacture of composite or metal aircraft components. Gage repeatability and reproducibility (Gage R&R) studies presented will show better than (Plus or minus) 0.0001" (2.5mum) for this measurement technique. Using non-contact inspection for quality control is a way to perform this inspection more efficiently than traditional contact measuring instruments, while reducing sampling time compared to other methods. Gage repeatability is improved using non-contact methods because capacitive sensing at short distances has a linear and predictable correlation to displacement. Gage reproducibility is also better because different users introduce a different touch using bore gages and other contact measuring devices. In conclusion, using a probe that profiles 24 diameters at the click of a button using non-contact capacitance technology not only saves time but is a significant improvement to overall gage R&R.
Reliability sampling plans for Weibull distribution with limited capacity of test facility
Computers & Industrial Engineering Vol. 55, Iss. 3, P. 721-728
This paper establishes reliability sampling plans for the Weibull lifetime distribution based on type II censored data with limited capacity of test facility. The products are sold under a general rebate warranty policy. It is also assumed that the shape parameter of the lifetime distribution is known, and the scale parameter is a random variable varying from lot to lot. A cost model is established which contains the cost per unit on test, the cost per unit time for life test, and the costs of rejecting and accepting a unit. An algorithm for determining the optimal reliability sampling plans which minimize the expected average cost per lot is provided. Some numerical results to illustrate the use of the proposed method are studied.
Chrysler May Simplify Satisfaction Surveys
Ward's Dealer Business, 01OCT2008
Chrysler may pare down its satisfaction surveys to two fundamental questions for dealership customers: 1.would you buy another vehicle from this dealership? 2. would you return to this dealership for service? A source says those bottom-line queries would replace longer surveys based on numeric index scoring. Critics say the customer-satisfaction index system is flawed. Auto dealers have complained about it for years. The National Automobile Dealers Association took up the cause in 2003, saying CSI surveys were too long, poorly worded, asked loaded questions and failed to account for customers - unhappy with some aspects of their purchased vehicles - taking it out on dealers by giving them low scores.
Understanding A3 thinking : a critical component of Toyota's PDCA management system
Durward Sobek
Toyota views A3 Reports as just one piece in their PDCA management approach. A3 report is an effective tool when it is implemented in conjunction with a PDCA-based management philosophy. Shows that the process leading to the development and management of A3 reports is at least as important as the reports themselves. Provides a number of examples as well as some very practical advice on how to write and review A3 reports.
Quality crucial to Chrysler recovery
Detroit Free Press, 16SEP2008
Improving quality and working more closely with dealers will be key factors to Chrysler LLC's turnaround, Cerberus Capital Management Chairman John Snow said.
Goal-setting and measurement tracking methods used in manufacturing and other industries can help spur athletes to optimum performance
The Gazette 08/23/08 Donna Nebenzahl
Michael Nichols, chairman of ASQ, says that "a synergy exists between business and athletes. Obviously preparing Olympians doesn't require an assembly-line approach, but the same types of goal-setting and measurement tracking methods used in manufacturing and other industries can help spur athletes to optimum performance. Learning from prior experiences, setting structured goals, sweating the small stuff, using hard facts to make decisions, creating actionable measurements tied to goals, and studying the competition are key elements to success in Olympics as in business."
Sequential pattern mining algorithm for automotive warranty data
Computers and Industrial Engineering, Vol 57 Issue 1 August 2009 J Buddhakulsomsiri, A Zakarian
This paper presents a sequential pattern mining algorithm that allows product and quality engineers to extract hidden knowledge from a large automotive warranty database. The algorithm uses the elementary set concept and database manipulation techniques to search for patterns or relationships among occurrences of warranty claims over time. Once sequential patterns are generated, the algorithm uses rule strength parameters to filter out insignificant patterns, so that only important (significant) rules are reported. Significant patterns provide knowledge of one or more product failures that leads to future product fault(s). The effectiveness of the algorithm is illustrated with the warranty data mining application from the automotive industry. A discussion on the sequential patterns generated by the algorithm and their interpretation for the automotive example are also provided.
A coordinate SPC model for assuring designated fit quality via quality-oriented statistical tolerancing
Computers and Industrial Engineering, Vol 57 Issue 1 August 2009 Y Zhang, M Yang
On the basis of studies to process quality indices and fit quality indices, the quality-oriented statistical tolerancing is introduced, which provides an interface between fit quality and the process parameter design of mating parts. Compared with traditional mating model for a pair of hole/shaft fit, the statistical mating model is developed for equal batches of hole/shaft fit, and it can achieve a designated fit quality and minimum defective ratio by fully utilizing statistical tolerance zone and the known information of manufactured mating parts via a coordinate SPC model and local network and information system. Thus, production cost for mating parts can be reduced obviously. This new approach provides a possibility and guideline to concurrent design of the process quality, statistical tolerances to assure designated process quality and fit quality for hole and shaft parts.
Long-term quality of autos in the U.S. has improved by 5% from 2007 to an average of 206 problems per 100 vehicles
JD Power 2008 Vehicle Dependability Study
The study measures the problems experienced by owners of three year-old vehicles. It says more than 60% of the brands in the survey have improved their dependability since 2007. Some of the biggest improvements were in compact and midsize cars. Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand led the pack for the 14th straight year with 120 problems per 100 vehicles, down from 145 last year. The Mercury brand came second, followed in order by Cadillac, Acura, Ford and Buick. Land Rover, with 334 problems per 100, had by far the worst score. Isuzu, Kia, Suzuki and Saab also ranked near the bottom, although Saab was the most improved brand, with 65 fewer problems than a year ago.
Toyota Revives Emergency Cost Cutting Measures
Toyota Motor Corp is stepping up cost-cutting efforts in order to cope with soaring prices of materials such as steel. In addition to cost reduction in the manufacture of new models, the leading Japanese automaker plans to conduct emergency measures to cut costs of existing models, a first since 1993, in order to alleviate price hike pressure for its automobiles. In fiscal 2008 to March 2009, rising material prices are expected to offset benefits gained from cost-cutting efforts that have been a driving force behind Toyota's brisk growth. President Katsuaki Watanabe has commented that he cannot deny product price hikes are possible in the future. But it is hard for Japanese automakers to transfer higher material prices onto their product prices because of the sluggish domestic market. Toyota intends to cut costs in every possible area and will review the manufacture of auto parts from the design stage, a senior Toyota official said. In 2005, the company started integrating parts of new and fully-remodeled cars. It is also streamlining steel use. The overall cost reduction efforts are expected to save the company over 300 billion yen in fiscal 2008. Toyota is also drastically reducing expenses in the administrative divisions.
Six Sigma: Definition and underlying theory
Journal of Operations Management, Vol. 26, Iss. 4, P. 536-554; Schroeder, R.G.; Linderman, K.; Liedtke, C.; Choo, A.S.
Six Sigma has been gaining momentum in industry; however, academics have conducted little research on this emerging phenomenon. Understanding Six Sigma first requires providing a conceptual definition and identifying an underlying theory. In this paper we use the grounded theory approach and the scant literature available to propose an initial definition and theory of Six Sigma. Our research argues that although the tools and techniques in Six Sigma are strikingly similar to prior approaches to quality management, it provides an organizational structure not previously seen. This emergent structure for quality management helps organizations more rigorously control process improvement activities, while at the same time creating a context that enables problem exploration between disparate organizational members. Although Six Sigma provides benefits over prior approaches to quality management, it also creates new challenges for researchers and practitioners.
Nissan plant on nonstop 'journey of improvement'
Canton site weathers early years
Clarion-Ledger 05/25/08 by Jack Mazurak

Nissan's U.S. sales shot from about 650,000 in 2003 to more than 940,000 in 2005 and the company hauled itself from the brink. Ratings from J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Survey found buyers complained about loose molding, wind noise, squeaks, rattles, paint defects and water leaks on the Armada, Quest and Titan. The Quest's launch was rockiest. Nissan twice recalled it because of defective parts. Headquarters in Japan dispatched about 200 mechanical, structural, electrical, chemical and materials engineers to U.S. facilities to rectify production, design and supplier problems. Nissan in September 2004 extended Quest warranties from three-years or 36,000 miles to five years or 60,000 miles.
5 Secrets to Toyota's Success
How the world's biggest automaker achieves "continuous improvement"
U.S. News & World Report Online 05/27/08 by Rick Newman

Ford and Chevy dominated the market when Toyota, a virtually unknown importer, opened its first American car dealership in California in 1957. More than 50 years later, Toyota is now the world's biggest carmaker, earning top marks from experts and customers alike for quality and innovation. U.S. News asked David Magee, author of How Toyota Became # 1, to highlight some of the reasons for Toyota's success: 1) long-term planning; 2) studious speediness; 3) an open mind; 4) obsession with waste; and 5) humility
A proposal for an economic quality loss function
Quality loss functions share an obstacle with most other quality concepts concerning their limited communicability to top management. In the allocation of financial resources, a company's executive board is commonly interested in the profit implications of competing projects, but existing concepts fail to capture the profit impact of changing quality levels, thus putting quality initiatives at a disadvantage compared with more "classical" investment opportunities. To address this problem this paper proposes a new type of function we call "economic quality loss function". The suggested function is composed of measures for the single profit parameters and indicates how sensitive a company's profit function is to defect levels. By providing a simple comprehensive measure, it helps the practitioner evaluating quality initiatives and communicating their desirability to top management.
An Overview of the Shainin System for Quality Improvement
This paper by Stefan Steiner & Jock MacKay of University of Waterloo, Canada and John Ramberg provides a comprehensive understanding of the Shainin System for improving quality.
Recovery at Fiat :: The miracle of Turin
What can Detroit's troubled Big Three learn from the miracle of Turin? First, that they should not have been seduced into neglecting their primary business, carmaking. Second, that they could and should have addressed their own operational and product-line problems sooner. Today Detroit may be getting back on the road, but had its bosses been as bold and as honest as Mr Marchionne, they too might already be motoring merrily.
Ford ties Honda, Toyota in initial quality survey
Ford is in a dead heat with Japan's Toyota and Honda in terms of initial vehicle quality, according to a report based on an annual survey of new vehicle owners conducted for Ford by the RDA Group, a market research firm based in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The study looked at 2008 model cars and trucks from all full-line manufacturers. Drivers were asked to list any problems they had encountered during their first 90 days of ownership. Like the Golden Globes, the RDA study is considered an indicator to J.D. Power's Initial Quality Survey. Last year, Ford had 14 vehicles ranked in the top three of their respective segments, more than any other automaker.
Quality in Foreign Downstream Manufacturing
Recent quality issues in China are similar to chapter two of a book by James B. Twitchell - Twenty Ads that Shook the World. Twitchell discusses a time in the U.S .around 1900 where over-the-counter medications faced a hurdle with the proliferation of inferior and unsafe remedies. The industry changed as ethical drug manufacturers such as Eli Lilly began to differentiate themselves on the attributes of trust and quality. The key was an integrated supply chain from raw material to end product, which monitored quality throughout the process.
Sharp dethrones Toyota in (JUSE) quality management ranking
Sharp Corporation rose to the top of a 2007 ranking of manufacturers on efforts to improve product quality, snatching the crown from Toyota Motor Corporation
Lockheed Martin Presented NASA's Highest Award for Quality
Lockheed Martin was awarded the George M. Low Award, NASA's highest recognition for demonstrated excellence and outstanding achievements in quality and performance on the Mission Support Operations Contract (MSOC).
China vows hard line on quality, even if hurts exports
China will keep taking tough measures to improve the quality of its products, even if that means exports suffer, Vice Premier Wu Yi said ...
Counterplan for quality emergencies
China's top quality watchdog is drafting a plan that will offer a prompt and effective response to emergencies arising from poor-quality products.
Do cheap Chinese goods have to mean trade-off in quality?
Weak supervision is responsible for allowing subpar goods onto American store shelves, says Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who called Sunday for creation of a new Commerce Department import czar to boost regulatory defenses.
Nissan Motor Co. opens new field quality center in Japan
Defects aren't something automakers usually like to spotlight. But Nissan Motor Co.'s new plant, opened last month in Atsugi, a town just west of Tokyo, does just that. Nissan is investing $7.3 million in the center, which brings suppliers and developers under one roof to speed response to defects and improve quality. In the past, Nissan did not have a central location where such problems were handled.
Car poll hails Japanese quality
Japanese cars are the most reliable, the least polluting and the best to own, according to consumer group Which?
"Quality and Sustainability - the key for the future of steel"
The steel industry needs to start benchmarking itself against leading global manufacturing and service companies in order to activate its long-term potential, Lakshmi Mittal, President and CEO of ArcelorMittal, said on June 20, 2007.
Evolve (Indian) national quality standards for statistics: Manmohan (Singh)
Inaugurating the first 'Statistics Day' celebrations on the occasion of the birth anniversary of renowned statistician P.C. Mahalanobis, he emphasised the role of statistics in India's progress towards becoming a knowledge economy to integrate with the international economic order. In such a situation, the hallmark of a country's reputation would be the credibility and transparency of its statistical system.
'Master Craftsmen' Ensure Lexus' Quality
The indisputable stars of the Tahara plant are the so-called "master craftsmen," the 2,700 veteran workers whose eyes are sharp enough to catch minuscule errors even robots and computers miss, all to ensure Lexus' top-notch quality. Like a judo or karate martial arts class, Toyota has a "dojo," or training studio, where workers are taught how to gauge proper bolt-tightening by the buzz of the mechanized screwdriver, and how to pat the parts into the car on the line with the right touch, like an acupuncturist at work.
Quality Ratings on Hospitals.
An example highlighting quality of service - this tool provides you with information on how well the hospitals care for all their adult patients with certain medical conditions. Hospital Compare was created through the efforts of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and Human Services, and other members of the Hospital Quality Alliance: Improving Care Through Information (HQA).
Using Quality to Drive Business Growth: A Webinar June 28.
In recent research studies and at the annual quality-focused meetings, the Global Benchmarking Council (GBC) of Best Practices, LLC observed a growing shift in the application of quality tools and the deployment of resources. Businesses are moving quality from the back office to the front lines, from targeting compliance-based gains in productivity and efficiency to driving organic growth.
Assuring Quality of Analytical
& Measurement Results: IUPAC Role

Over the past 30 years the value of world trade has risen dramatically. In 2005 it amounted to almost USD 17 trillion. A large proportion of this trade is dependent upon chemical analyses, since food, pharmaceutical products, medicines, ores, and chemical products in general represent the largest groups of trading items. To gain acceptance in the trading process, the quality of analytical measurement results needs to be assured and demonstrated.
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