Quality Control Engineering

Statistical Quality And Process Control

3 min read
Statistical Quality Control The field of statistical quality control can be broadly defined as those statistical and engineering methods that are used in measuring, monitoring, controlling, and improving quality. Statistical quality control is a field that dates back to the 1920s. Dr. Walter A. Shewhart of the Bell Telephone Laboratories was one of the early pioneers of the field. In 1924 he wrote a memorandum showing a modern control chart, one of the basic tools of statistical process control. Harold F. Dodge and Harry G. Romig, two other Bell System employees, provided much of the leadership in the development of statistically based sampling and inspection methods. The work of these three men forms much of the basis of the modern field of statistical quality control. World War II saw the widespread introduction of these methods to U.S. industry. Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Joseph M. Juran have been instrumental in spreading statistical quality-control methods since World War II. The Japanese have been particularly successful in deploying statistical quality-control methods and have used statistical methods to gain significant advantage over their competitors. In the 1970s American industry suffered extensively from Japanese (and other foreign) competition; that has led, in turn, to renewed interest in statistical quality-control methods in the United States. Much of this interest focuses on statistical process control and experimental design. Many U.S. companies have begun extensive programs to implement these methods in their manufacturing, engineering, and other business organizations.

Defining Cost And Value

4 min read
Defining Cost and Value Any attempt to improve the value of a product must consider two elements, the first concerns the use of the product (known as Use value) and the second source of value comes from ownership (Esteem value). This can be shown as the difference between a luxury car and a basic small car that each has the same engine. From a use point of view both cars conduct the same function – they both offer safe economical travel (Use value) – but the luxury car has a greater esteem value. The difference between a gold-plated ball pen and a disposable pen is another example. However, use value and the price paid for a product are rarely the same, the difference is actually the esteem value, so even though the disposable pen is priced at X the use value may be far less. It is important for all managers to understand the nature of costs in the factory and for any given product. Whilst there is no direct relationship between ‘Cost’ (for the factory) and customer ‘Value’ in use and esteem, this education process is important. A shocking figure, that is often used as a general measure, is that typically 80% of the manufacturing costs of a product will be determined once the design drawing has been released for manufacturing. The costs of production are therefore ‘frozen’ and determined at this point. These costs include the materials used, the technology employed, the time required to manufacture the product and such like. Therefore, the design process creates many constraints for the business and fixes a high degree of the total product cost. It is therefore a process that demands periodic review in order to recover any ‘avoidable’ costs that can be removed throughout the life of the product (by correcting weaknesses or exploiting new processes, materials or methods) and lowering the costs of production whilst maintaining its Use value to the customer.

Introduction Of Value Analysis

5 min read
WHAT IS VALUE ANALYSIS This report provides a management overview of a ‘process’ known as Value Analysis. Value Analysis (VA) is considered to be a process, as opposed to a simple technique, because it is both an organized approach to improving the profitability of product applications and it utilizes many different techniques in order to achieve this objective. The techniques that support VA activities include ‘common’ techniques used for all value analysis exercises and some that are appropriate under certain conditions (appropriate for the product under consideration), . The VA approach is almost universal and can be used to analyze existing products or services offered by manufacturing companies and service providers alike. For new products, the Value Engineering (VE) approach, which applies the same principles and many of the VA techniques to pre-manufacturing stages such as concept development, design and prototyping. At the very heart of the VA process review is a concern to identify and eliminate product and service features that add no true value to the customer or the product but incur cost to the process of manufacturing or provision of the service. As such, the VA process is used to offer a higher performing product or service to the customer at a minimal cost as opposed to substituting an existing product with an inferior solution. This basic principle, of offering value at the lowest optimal cost of production, is never compromised. It is the principle that guides all actions within the VA process and allows any improvement ideas to be translated into commercial gains for the company and its customers. The VA process is therefore one of the key features of a business that understands and seeks to achieve Total Quality Management (TQM) in all that it does to satisfy customers. For many of the worlds leading companies, including names like Hewlett Packard, Sony, Panasonic, Toyota, Nissan, and Ford, the VA process of design review has provided major business returns. The key to realizing these returns is knowledge, of the customer requirements, the costs of the product, and an in-depth knowledge of manufacturing process and the costs associated with failures due to poor or inadequate product design. All these inputs to the VA process are vital if decisions regarding product and process re-design are to yield lower costs and enhanced customer value.

The Focus Of Value Analysis

4 min read
The Focus of Value Analysis The key focus of the VA approach is therefore the management of ‘functionality’ to yield value for the customer. Let us emphasize this point a little. Not that long ago, consumers of electric kettles were offered a variety of different types of metal-based boiling device. The value of a kettle is derived through heating water and therefore its functionality can be determined (temperature, capacity, reliability, safety etc.). Now faced with the same functionality (to boil water), designers would probably look towards a kettle made of plastic. Plastic has the same functionality as metal in terms of containing and boiling water. The action to boil water is conducted by the same part - known as the element. However the switch from metal to plastic does not impair this value and functionality with the customer –they still want to boil water - but it does result in a cost saving for the manufacturing company. If a company that traditionally made metal kettles did not review its design process then it would be severely disadvantaged when attempting to compete against the lower cost plastic alternative. This is a simple example used only to provide an illustration of the VA concept but it does demonstrate the point of maintaining value whilst reducing costs. If a company seeks to reduce the costs of producing a product then it must seek out costs that are unnecessary or items of the product that provide no functional value to the customer. If you adopt this approach then the VA process is concerned with removing a specific type of cost. This cost is one that can be removed without negatively affecting the function, quality, reliability, maintainability or benefit required by the customer. As such, the target for all VA activities is to find these costs as opposed to simply re-engineering a product design with no real purpose to the re-engineering exercise. The VA approach is therefore formal and systematic because it is directed towards highlighting and dealing with these ‘recoverable costs’ of production. The objective is to create value for money as opposed to creating new products that do not provide customer satisfaction but are relatively inexpensive.