January 23, 2014

Reliability testing and beyond

Today, it was very interesting to learn about why companies conduct product testing. Mostly for the reason for, how the product is going to operate, maintenance costs, how reliable it’s going to be, how customers’ requirements are met, government regulations are being met attached to certain industries. For instance, design reducing emission levels to reduce pollution in the UK for the vehicles. Another interesting information in the same context was getting to know about a policy in the UK about MOT safety check like every 3 years has to be taken to the garage for checking, wheels, engine, and seat belt safety and suitable to operating ensuring that safety standards are being met.

I learned so many types of product testing used in different industries. For instance another type is REL growth testing is done during, when the product evolves over a period of time and life cycle, and to check if its meeting customer reliability requirements. It tests cause of failures during design period, identify what the failure and stress levels are which cause the failure. It is much more cost and time efficient. Used mostly for testing some critical parts of air-craft. From the example of Train crash video we saw in the class today, high costs were involved for introducing air suspension so they went with the cheaper solution of introducing rubber technology in the wheels for the added comfort and smooth journey, but without putting them through any testing phase and only approved by the management. So no idea of the stress levels and fatigue was gauges resulting into the catastrophe.

Another type of testing we learnt today was ALT Accelerated life testing: where you increase the usage rate during testing to the max. For instance increase in the number of revolvation during testing a train wheel on a testing system ( from the train crash video today). Over stress testing put the product in extreme environments like temp or speed or stress. Constant stress is when product is put to constant stresses during testing by controlling the environment like temperature or acceleration. Step stress testing like stats at 40 degree than 5 degree up and then after some time stepping up to 50 degree, assessing failure level at different levels, and what can be done to eradicate such failures, probability plot can be used for this kind of testing.

January 21, 2014

Design for X

I understood design X as, integration of a manufacturing and production process, in a way that the best output is obtained in terms of saving time, cost ( specially re-designing), error reducing. Using different techniques like Poke Yoke, efficiency and effectiveness of production systems can be optimised.

Reflecting back from PIUSS module, to improve reliability of both process and product design, I believe it is important for product designers to identify early life and potential failure points and mechanisms through past data and supplier history. I also learned the real sense of reliability through the mirror of quality. What conditions will the product be used by the end-user would give a good insight for the designers to design accordingly, for a longer product life cycle. More reliable product would boost the brand value for the company as well as save maintenance cost for the end user. For instance Toyota is considered popular because of its reliability.

Product reliability is critical for a company’s business, especially for companies like the air-craft manufacturing industries as more safety risk is attached to it, therefore airlines companies choose more reliable carriers looking at their past accident records. Companies can build or destroy their reputation depending on how reliable their products are. The video shown in the class today, of the air crash investigation of flight UA-232 gave me an insight on how a manufacturing negligence of a supplier of Mc Donald Douglas ( aircraft manufacturers), resulted in fatality of so many human lives.

Quality of the components and materials used for manufacturing should be according to the usage and environment that the product is expected to operate in. For instance building designs in Tokyo are being engineered considering the city being in an earth quick zone. The load vs strength probability was another add on for me to understand how much care should be observed during developing design for products.

January 20, 2014



Today’s lecture with Elliot Hirst, gave me an insight into how the corporates differentiate to introduce their products considering factors like geographic, demographics and attitudes. Voice of the customer says it all, if the companies are ready to listen and act. A company’s product-line has a higher probability of success, if it carefully manages research to identify appropriate areas for their product design and placement, considering their right need and sufficient demand.

I can think of a practical example. If i ask myself which countries should Ferrari target, as their potential clients?. Well, many factors have to be considered, like looking at their overall economic strength, a smooth and open road network, quick sales, service, spare parts availability and maintenance network. North America, China and UAE make strong potential markets according to the above factors as all these regions have developed economies and people have higher buying power, the road network is great for cars like Ferrari.

Although the content could not be discussed in depth, however, I managed to grasp the overall understanding of how the companies should manage to research on listening to the true voice of its customers and give it considerable weitage, in order to improve the quality of their products. This can be done in shape of conveniently designed questionnaires and surveys to gather data from the customers.

Gathering such data would be instrumental for the company not only to innovate and design new products, but also would help the product designers to tailor and add features to them according to the customer needs and market trends.

January 17, 2014

The Kano Model

The KANO model added useful knowledge for me in the QFD lecture, as it talks about the degree to which the basic customer needs are met, and also to which ‘wow’ factor is created in terms of achieving customer satisfaction.

I learned that it also represents that only meeting the base-line requirement of the customer does not create customer delight, since such level is already expected. To create wow experience, designers need to surprise customer with innovative features which they are not expecting, leading to a higher customer satisfaction.

It was surprising for me to discover how companies go out of the way to understand customer needs, like Toyota gave $1.5m to few of their people to go and spend in the US to get into the circle of rich people and try to understand what they really need and want in a luxury car as customers. Useful information was gathered resulting into the brand Lexus. I think, Toyota would not have been able to make a differential if they launched the same car with their badge on it, as it was only considered to be a popular mass market car.

January 16, 2014

Presenting DFSS and EFQM

The presentation day was a great learning experience. I thought it was knowledge well gained in a summary of what DFSS mostly talks about. The topic which we were given required us to show relevance of DFSS with the excellence models. Choosing EFQM as our excellence model and looking to make it relevant with the DFSS did not turn out to be very difficult.

I thought that the very understanding of an excellence model like EFQM, already reflects the basis for knowing for what DFSS is. Both stem from the TQM concept, except, the former applies to overall organisation for process, management and people improvement and the later, seems to be more product specific. However, it was concluded that both have similar objectives of mastering excellence in a business by jacking up the overall quality, be it the process, product or people, but importantly for DFSS, customer satisfaction.

A very good example I can think of is Apple Inc. Each one of their product line is innovative, but their design team keeps working not only around people’s feedback, but also with every updated model, they continuously add features to excite customers. This is only possible if Apple as a company, is following a consistent business excellence model, which provide continuous sustainability to their creativity.

November 20, 2013

6 sigma implications

Had a very informative discussion with Mr. Jan about the real time implications of six sigma. I was particularly interested in few questions i wanted to ask one of which was regarding aaplications of six sigma in service industries like hotel industry or banks. Interestingly, i was told that wherever the concept of turn around time TAT is being used, be it for the manufacturing processes or a services industry, six sigma can be implemented successfully e-g to reduce the TAT for opening an account with a bank.

Starbucks coffee came into discussion being a service business, however Jan said that it is more of a factory or a manufacturing concern, making coffee and therefore could use six sigma as a tool to reduce variation in processes.

Upon asking him a question about sentiments of corporate America about Dr Demimg being an American helping Japan not only to revive it's economy after WW2; but also superceeding U.S in so many ways. The Americans although started to get inquisitive in mid 70's about Japan's thrieving economy and began to start to cheat and copy by having sneek peek into their system, as how are they doing so well. Although even geting to know alot about Japan's economic secrets, the US still was stiff, proud and lazy enough to follow them and Deming's techniques.

November 19, 2013

Assembly line

The exercise of assembling aeroplanes gave the real life sense of industry processess involved experienced by workers and their supervisors. The supervisors responsibilty to keep track of the measurement of the turn around time of the product through every assembly stage and taking note of the data about the defects, inventory and delays form start to the end, is key to affectively calculate and reduce variation using six sigma.

To keep the variation in the normal range, it is important to take constant data so if any special cause arises, previous data could be compared to make decision of a corrective action. During the assembling planes, it was realised that any worker taking less time than the required on his stage, could take up more work in order to compensate the time for the worker taking more time.

November 18, 2013

Six sigma resistance to change

Today the discussion on denial to resistance to change was very informative and became much clearer with the example of the chickens when stopped from reaching their daily root to their feed area by a glass sheet. The behaiors and reactions of the chickens were different, some of them started making noises, some tried to make their way around the glass, some tried flapping their wings to fly over the galss, few started picking food on their side of the ground and few just gave up.

If we apply the same in terms of human behavior in terms of the resisting change in organisations, stands true as mostly on applying management of change, the first reaction is mostly in denial, and resistance in shown in terms of raising voice, being vocal(specially by the old members working for a while). The new joiners may apadt and embrace quickly. The effective process introduced by the managers is first anticipating resistance, being reeady for the immediate denial by most members, facing resistence by them, engaging them in a dialogue through carrot approach and finally developing acceptance by the members to embrace change as a way of life.

November 17, 2013

Pma few key points

Choosing to answer Learning Organisations during study and research for pma of creating business excellence, the books which i read and the journals which i explored, all talked about few similar proven guidelines about organisational improvement. One out of many is the role of leadership's own engagement to embrace the culture of learning through sharing, tolerence in accepting opinions and giving enough weightage to them.

As the leadership takes on to commit change, the rest shall be guided and engaged to adapt the same culture by the inpirational and charismatic and visionary leadership. It is the responsibility of the leaders and managers to unlock the personal potential of each employee for larger interest of the organisation.

October 27, 2013

Excellence & Quality

One of the key take away for me from the CBE module is the introduction to the word excellence in business. Although I had known, studied and experienced the word quality before, but I now discovered that quality is just a pre-requisite of achieving excellence in businesses and can be vice versa.

Getting to know about the ways to achieve excellence has been an eye-opener and surprisingly never at one point in time it felt boring, dis interesting or unworthy. The way all the excellence models are designed staring from the leadership envisioning the strategies for business, setting the right directions and inculcating the same in their people/employees, who apply them to the processes considering the society and environment to yield the best product or service, seem to be a common characteristic for all.

On a broader scope they all look the same, until one zooms in to know that yet, they are so different in many ways. But so what? that difference gave me an opportunity to critically analyse them. However they have a common objective, a common goal and a common agenda, i-e to achieve excellence!!!

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