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Taguchi philosophy.

Taguchi methods are statistical methods developed by Genichi Taguchi to improve the quality of manufactured goods, and more recently also applied to engineering,biotechnology, marketing and advertising. Professional statisticians have welcomed the goals and improvements brought about by Taguchi methods, particularly by Taguchi's development of designs for studying variation, but have criticized the inefficiency of some of Taguchi's proposals.

 Quality control methodology that combines control charts and process control with product and process design to achieve a robust total design. It aims to reduce product variability with a system for developing specifications and designing them into a product or process. Named after its inventor, the Japanese engineer-statistician Dr. Genichi Taguchi who also developed the quality loss function.

Five major points of the Taguchi quality philosophy are :
    1.In a competitive market environment, continual quality improvements and cost reductions are necessary for business survival. 2.An important measurement of the quality of a manufactured product is the total loss generated by that product to the society.
    3.Change the pre-production experimental procedure from varying one factor at a time to varying many factors simultaneously (SDE) , so that quality can be built into the product and the process.
    4.The customer's loss due to poor quality is approximately proportional to the square of the deviation of the performance characteristic from its target or nominal value. Taguchi changes the objectives of the experiments and the definition of quality from "achieving conformance to specifications" to "achieving the target and minimising the variability.
    5.A product (or service) performance variation can be reduced by examining the non-linear effects of factors (parameters) on the performance characteristics. Any deviation from a target leads to poor quality.


 The old traditional definition of quality states quality is conformance to specifications. This definition was expanded by Joseph M. Juran (1904-) in 1974 and then by the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) in 1983. Juran observed that "quality is fitness for use." The ASQC defined quality as" the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy given needs."
Taguchi presented another definition of quality. His definition stressed the losses associated with a product. Taguchi stated that "quality is the loss a product causes to society after being shipped, other than losses caused by its intrinsic functions." Taguchi asserted that losses in his definition "should be restricted to two categories: (1) loss caused by variability of function, and (2) loss caused by harmful side effects." Taguchi is saying that a product or service has good quality if it "performs its intended functions without variability, and causes little loss through harmful side effects, including the cost of using it."


We have seen that Taguchi's quality philosophy strongly emphasizes losses or costs. W. H. Moore asserted that this is an "enlightened approach" that embodies "three important premises: for every product quality characteristic there is a target value which results in the smallest loss; deviations from target value always results in increased loss to society; [and] loss should be measured in monetary units (dollars, pesos, francs, etc.)."
Figure I depicts Taguchi's typically loss function. The figure also contrasts Taguchi's function with the traditional view that states there are no losses if specifications are met.

Figure 1 Taguchi
Figure 1
Taguchi's Loss Function
It can be seen that small deviations from the target value result in small losses. These losses, however, increase in a nonlinear fashion as deviations from the target value increase. The function shown above is a simple quadratic equation that compares the measured value of a unit of output Y to the target T.:

where L(Y) is the expected loss associated with the specific value of Y.
Essentially, this equation states that the loss is proportional to the square of the deviation of the measured value, Y, from the target value, T. This implies that any deviation from the target (based on customers' desires and needs) will diminish customer satisfaction. This is in contrast to the traditional definition of quality that states that quality is conformance to specifications. It should be recognized that the constant k can be determined if the value of L(Y) associated with some Y value are both known. Of course, under many circumstances a quadratic function is only an approximation.
Since Taguchi's loss function is presented in monetary terms, it provides a common language for all the departments or components within a company. Finally, the loss function can be used to define performance measures of a quality characteristic of a product or service. This property of Taguchi's loss function will be taken up in the next section. But to anticipate the discussion of this property, Taguchi's quadratic function can be converted to:

This can be accomplished by assuming Y has some probability distribution with mean, a and variance o.2 This second mathematical expression states that average or expected loss is due either to process variation or to being off target (called "bias"), or both.

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