Quality Engineering Practices

An innovator, designer, leader and a multi-tasking precision master is known as an engineer. He has a lot of burden on his shoulders just like a doctor has during operation. Technically an engineer is a technical doctor, whose single mistake can lead to huge disasters and good quality engineering practices can be beneficial for a long period of time. Quality has been defined differently by different people of which one of the best definition is “Meeting or exceeding Customer Requirements”.

It is something which is always in a continuous changing state depending on the target customer requirements. To measure quality in technical terms different people have different parameters of which a few are following:

  1. Conformance to specifications
  2. Cost Effective
  3. Long lasting attributes
  4. Meeting Customer Expectations
  5. Cost Effective
Figure 1: Different Perspective

In the above mentioned diagram we can see both the individuals are right at their end, but unfortunately none of them is able to understand the difference in interpretation. Thus, the very first step to achieve quality is to understand targets and requirements of the user and the complete design of the designer.

Different Philosophies in Quality

Over a past few years different philosophers have set different parameters for quality engineering practices. Among them the three most famous are Juran, Deming and Crossby. Their philosophies are in use of successful known multi-national companies such as Toyota, Motorola, and Samsung etc.

Below is a table mentioning quality parameters of these three famous philosophers.  (click to enlarge)

Philosophical literature review for quality engineering practices.
Table: Philosophical Literature review of Quality Engineering Practices

Role of Engineers for Quality Engineering Practices

Every step, every design should be monitored and should pass the pilot test before final implementation thus this leads to saving of conformance cost. Once a product is sent for processing to the manufacturing team without conducting a pilot test on prototype, the company can face massive financial loss as the error improvement cost adds in and thus takes more time to re-do. We generally talk about financial loss in terms of loss in money. Whereas, loss in time is also a huge loss as the company takes time to re-do, and new production is stopped.  Ultimately loss happens in the production line due to waiting time.

Furthermore, virtual product testing can also be taken in place by several available software’s to check proper design such as AUTO-CAD for product design, for wireless network testing OPNET can be used before implementation and several other software’s are available for virtual testing and thus waste can also be eliminated.

Mathematical Models for Quality Measurement

The two most used effective models to measure quality engineering practices are Balance Scorecard and House of Quality.

Balance Scorecard:

It works on checking four perspectives which are as follows:

  1. Financial
  2. Internal
  3. Customer
  4. Innovation & Learning

These are the four testing parameters of this mathematical model and through it error in the right spot is easily detected and thus improved to avoid loss. Below is an attached image which explains it in precise required information

Figure 2

Two additional measures are also taken into account when using this model which are the leading and the lagging measures. The lagging measures accounts for the past issues and defects caused whereas leading works on forecasting the future measures and incidents to be accounted in the ‘if’ situation.

House of Quality (HOD):

HOD depicts the exact requirements of the customer, lessens the time for implementation, encourages teamwork and provides a detailed required documentation. There is a direct linkage of customer requirements with technical descriptors which eases the analysis of feasibility.

Waste Elimination/Quality Maintenance Techniques

Waste is either in the form of cash or time or resources. To achieve quality waste elimination is the key source. If this is minimized then profit is ultimately achieved and quality target is accomplished. Defects, idle service, re-do of tasks and delivery delay are key points of waste which can be removed by following the below mentioned processes which are:

  1. Lean
  2. Kaizen
  3. Kanban
  4. TPM
  5. Six Sigma
  6. Many more..

From the above mentioned processes the most used one is six sigma and lean. Lean is used to eliminate waste in the form of time wastage. Toyota works on lean and by adopting this process their demand and delivery has speed up thus leading to more profit to the company. Six Sigma works on removing defects to six decimal places. The pioneer to introduce six sigma is Motorola. Motorola achieved the highest number of customers after removing their defects to such high level of accuracy. And ultimately success knocked their door.

Conclusion

Everything can be proposed and planned, but cannot be implemented without a master i.e. an engineer. To achieve high results an engineer must be vigilant, quick decision maker and should learn when to implement which methodology. As only the right decision at the right time can enable the company to achieve target successfully with high level of profits. Quality should be deeply engraved in vision, mission and implementation of each company to reach the sky.

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