After WWII Japanese manufacturers were struggling to survive with very limited resources. If it were not for the advancements of Taguchi the country might not have stayed afloat let alone flourish as it has. Taguchi revolutionized the manufacturing process in Japan through cost savings. He understood, like many other engineers, that all manufacturing processes are affected by outside influences, noise. However, Taguchi realized methods of identifying those noise sources which have the greatest effects on product variability. His ideas have been adopted by successful manufacturers around the globe because of their results in creating superior production processes at much lower costs.
Here are some of the major contributions that Taguchi has made to the quality improvement world:
The Loss Function - Taguchi devised an equation to quantify the decline of a customer's perceived value of a product as its quality declines. Essentially, it tells managers how much revenue they are losing because of variability in their production process. It is a powerful tool for projecting the benefits of a quality improvement program. Taguchi was the first person to equate quality with cost.
Orthogonal Arrays and Linear Graphs - When evaluating a production process analysis will undoubtedly identify outside factors or noise which cause deviations from the mean. Isolating these factors to determine their individual effects can be a very costly and time consuming process. Taguchi devised a way to use orthogonal arrays to isolate these noise factors from all others in a cost effective manner.
Robustness - Some noise factors can be identified, isolated and even eliminated but others cannot. For instance it is too difficult to predict and prepare for any possible weather condition. Taguchi therefore referred to the ability of a process or product to work as intended regardless of uncontrollable outside influences as robustness. He was pivotal in many companies' development of products and processes which perform uniformly regardless of uncontrollable forces; an obviously beneficial service.
Born on the first day of 1924, Genichi Taguchi studied textile engineering at Kiryu Technical College. After WWII he worked for the Japanese Ministry of Public Health and Welfare and conducted the nation's first study on health and nutrition. He also applied his quality improvement knowledge at Morinaga Pharmaceutical and even worked for a candy maker, Morinaga Sieka, to reduce the melting properties of caramel at room temperature.