All entries for January 2014

January 19, 2014

Learning in Mistakes

As humans, we are bound to make mistakes and this involves mistakes in our product and process. But I would say errors are beneficial to our processes because we learn from them and they help us improve our product. I have learnt this week the importance of lesson learned (LL). LL helps organisation to capture errors by eliciting the expert knowledge directly related to that process and then analyse and identify those areas of improvement and most importantly use the information to continually improve their products in terms of making them more robust against those previous errors.

One truth is that without making errors, business would never find better ways to improve on their product and learn. Making mistake is healthy to an extent but it’s important for business to control the gravity of the errors they make in their product or process and this is what six sigma and DFSS does reduce the errors to a desirable level and the little error left we are able to capture the information using Expert knowledge, QFD, FMAE etc. and reapply it to the current product to achieve robustness. As for Toyota, i guess they have been able to apply the lessons learned from their product error to improve their current product and this is one of the main importance of making mistakes and learning from them.


January 17, 2014

FMAE vs Reliability test

We all have been subjected to testing at one stage in our lives and this is to show our areas of weaknesses or strength and same applies to reliability test. We test because we want to verify that our product design can be trusted to perform what is supposed to do in any condition and in case it falls below our expectation, we can recreate the design and build robustness especially against those Noise factors that are beyond the control of the design engineers.

After what I learnt today, I think the reliability test is more important compared to FMAE because the reliability test would actually subject the product to that extreme situation and then design robustness into the product against all those extremities but FMAE is using only our imaginative judgment and its possible that a little hazardous detail could have been missed or not captured in the brainstorming session. The reliability testing would be very important in any industry that has to do with product that are directly attached to human lives e.g. healthcare,pharmaceutical,transport, food industry e.t.c


January 16, 2014

Understanding FMAE

After learning about the design for reliability this week, today we learnt about the tools that organisation used to design reliability into their product which would help them avoid the cost of unreliability and warranty cost. The FMAE focuses on the processes that manufacture the products.

The FMAE technique is a proactive approach whereby organisation project the worst case scenario that could occur in their process and hereby build a better understanding and robustness with the help of the FMAE technique. FMAE helps organisation avoid the cost they would incur as a result of unreliability of their product. Apart from the Tea process we used the FMAE technique on today, I think the technique can also be applied to every process in different sector i.e. service, manufacturing and construction. But I think the FMAE major shortfall is that it requires an expert knowledge and in the case where this is lacking, then the cost of unreliability can’t be avoided by the organisation especially if the organisation is small in nature and can’t afford to commit the necessary time needed for the FMEA implementation. But apart from this I think organisations should have Systems that exists that permit proactive evaluation of vulnerabilities before close calls occur.


January 14, 2014

QFD and Mind Games

Having being introduced to QFD in class today, i thought to myself that it feels like a game of chess (much thought and strategy) well I guess there is much to QFD than it actually meets the eye. QFD is like a game of sensitivity, response, commitment, foresight and drive to meet our customers’ needs way before the customers realise they even need them.

Trying to relate QFD to a football match where teams compete to thrill their fans and also win a cup. The fans are the customers and the teams represent the organisation. Before a coach can send his team out there, they prepare the team comprising of their finest players and have a strategy or formation that would help them ‘wow’ their audience. This applies to organisation to before they launch their product.

The truth of the matter is Customers don’t really know what they want precisely. As a customer myself when mobile phones were first launched, i felt life couldn’t be any better. After, came the launch of the QWERTY keypad mobile phone and am like ‘wow I didn’t know I needed this, now i can type my messages faster’ (am sure most people felt this way too). If they asked me for a customer feedback then on mobile phones without a QWERTY keypad i would have not given a precise feedback that i want a phone with a QWERTY keypad i can only hint them of my needs. This is where the importance of QFD comes to play i see customers feedback as an hint not an answer so QFD help organisation to analyse and find answers to the voices of customers amongst the feedback . i guess this is how ‘Apple’ have been able to keep our credit card out of our pocket for so long.

QFD provides an organisation with a magnifying glass that helps them to have a better understanding of their customer’s needs, product design, competition and their processes.


January 13, 2014

The Toyota Way

After learning about the Design for X in class today, I couldn’t help but think about the Toyota recall Crises that erupted between 2009 and 2010. Toyota had to recall different models of their vehicles due to accelerator problems (quality problem with the supplied accelerator pedals), power steering problems, and breaking problems. Toyota which was seen as a brand that stands for quality had to pay the cost of unreliability of their product which damaged the quality and reliability reputation that Toyota portrayed. The major cause of the product recall was traced back to Design errors in terms of environmental designs and design for serviceability. Although some errors were identified human errors but Toyota couldn’t blame their customers because it would go against everything the brands portrays ( The Toyota Way).

Toyota could have avoided this error if more attention was paid to the voice of the customers this would have helped them in designing product that can be used by anyone irrespective of height, gender or age. Capturing the voice of the customer is important in Design for X because this helps the business to fulfil customers’ needs by building the needs of the customers into the design of the product in terms of quality, reliability serviceability, and maintainability. Supplier’s management in relation to quality is also important because if a problem goes wrong in a supplied assembly part, the whole product becomes affected.


January 11, 2014

DFSS and Business Size

Today, I learnt that the DFSS and six sigma project are not mutually exclusive project which I absolutely agree because we have to apply either of them at different level of needs of a business whether new product development or process improvement. But then I thought that the size of the business also determines which methodology to adopt. DFSS or Six sigma

Researching this week on DFSS methodology I have come across lots and lots of large organisation using DFSS but hardly did I see a smaller organisation who applied the DFSS methodology. As a small business trying to grow and give better products and services, the six sigma methodology would be more appealing to them compare to DFSS due to the financial dedication of most DFSS projects and smaller business don’t have too much cash to ‘play with’ compare to larger business . By adopting the six sigma methodology for a small business this helps them to first gradually develop their existing processes and offer better customers satisfaction and then as time goes on when the organisation profit begins to grow (like Takashi Osada said ‘when the business process is right, the results would take care of themselves’) more customers demand their product then the DFSS methodology can then be applied because they would need to uphold their quality standard by improvising and innovating.

I think DFSS is more applicable in larger organisations who already have a large customer base and six sigma methodology is applicable to all organisations irrespective of their size.


January 09, 2014

Communication in DFSS and DEMAIC project

I am really learning a lot from my team mate while working on our presentation. Today I was confused on the level in which communication affects the success of a DFSS and six sigma project.

I used to think communication was more effective in a DFSS project compared to Six sigma project but I learnt that effective communication is necessary to achieve success in both project because if there isn’t effective communication then employees tend to show resistant or won’t see the benefit or importance of the six sigma approach and overall effective communication help employees overcome any personal bias and any difficulties faced as a result of cultural change in implementing the DFSS or Six sigma projects.


January 06, 2014

SIX SIGMA or DFSS which does it better?

After getting a background introduction of what DFSS is today in class and based on my previous knowledge of six-sigma I would say that DFSS seem to have a broader significant effect on organisation than six-sigma.

I think this is so because six-sigma is a methodology that focuses on improving existing business process especially in manufacturing industry and if the there is so much variation in the process this tends to affects the quality of the output and it would sort of be like a drawback in the organisations journey to achieving quality in its products.

This is where the importance of DFSS comes to play since the major goal of the DFSS is all about designing high quality product based on customers values and feedback organisation focus should be on designing quality into the product from the design phase and in such a way that much attention won’t have to be paid to the production process of such product. I think this is why Toyota is still one of the most successful automobile companies now because they have been able to fully implement the DFSS methodology (in terms of quality, price and continuous innovation) into their products and in turn satisfy customer’s needs.

Ability to stay ahead of competition in this age means ability to deliver high quality product at a minimal cost and faster delivery period. So I think organisations focus should be on adopting and implementing the DFSS methodology while using six-sigma as a supporting method..


January 2014

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