Design Excellence Center

There are many initiatives in the United States, today, directed at ensuring the robustness of our engineering designs.

Most OEMs, as part of their new product development, have instituted Design for Six Sigma (DFSS). Plantech's Design Excellence Center incorporates activities from receipt of customer requirements through research and development, new product development, and manufacturing.

Our consultants have an average of 25 years of operational experience in the manufacturing and service sectors. We have exceptionally experienced service, operations, technical and general managers on our team who will lend real-world expertise to help you reach your desired goals, so the solutions we help you implement will work in your environment, not only in some text book.

With offices around the globe, Plantech can provide you consistent, reliable services, delivered anywhere that your organization or suppliers are around the world, all under one project leader and utilizing our local resources who are experts in the local culture and language.

Design Excellence Center Courses

Course Days
Design Excellence: Management
1. Program Planning for Product Design & Development 1
2. Project Management for New Product Design & Development 2
3. Portfolio Management 1
Design Excellence: Technical
Design Creativity (QFD; TRIZ; Taguchi DOE) 3
Quality Function Deployment (QFD) 2
Robust Design (Boundary Diagram, Interface Matrix, Parameter Diagram, DFMEA, DVP) 2
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) US Version (Minitab Required) 5 or 10
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) Chinese Version (Minitab Required) 5
DFMEA (System & Component Level) (w/DRBFM) and DVP&R 2
Design of Experiments (Minitab Required) 3
Reliability Analysis (Minitab Required) 3
Variation Simulation (includes Tolerance Stackup Modeling) (computer assisted) 2
Value Analysis/Value Engineering 2
Team Management & Development
Project Management 2 or 3
Team Facilitation 2
Other Engineering-Related Tools
GD&T 3
GD&T Gage Design 2
Tolerance Stackup 2

A key part of any product realization process is the robustness of the design. In the United States, many "Design for" initiatives such as Design for Assembly, Design for Cost, Design for Manufacturing, Design for Test, Design for Logistics, Design for Performance, and so on are now being referred to as Design for Excellence (DFX). The JTEC panel found that Japanese design emphasizes two key areas: the overall development process and concurrent engineering. As shown in Figure 7.1, there is a strong customer focus at the product planning phase and in the product evaluation phase of the product development process. The overall product development process is rooted in what Japanese firms call the "market-in." Market-in refers to having a clear set of customer-driven requirements as the basis for product development. This is a fundamental requirement for DFX. Concurrent engineering of product design and development activities provides the second main step in achieving DFX.

Figure 7.1. Japan's product development activities (Toyoda Machine Tool Co.).

In order to effectively deploy a timely design, thorough testing of the design and process training are considered a must. The JTEC panel members toured a number of training facilities affiliated with process development laboratories. Company employees, often including foreign nationals, receive months of training on specific manufacturing processes before equipment is installed overseas.

A successful DFX process requires carefully managed design of new products. As shown in Figure 7.2, there are numerous activities that must be coordinated in order to develop and implement a successful product realization effort. Information must be gathered and analyzed from regions of the globe in which products will be introduced, and products must be market-tested in those specific regions. An engine controller for use in an American version of a Japanese automobile, would, by necessity, receive its reliability testing in the United States. Products that are targeted globally, however, also get tested in Japan in order to carefully control the products' globalization. Technology development activities must operate in parallel with product technology planning and market development planning to assure timely development and introduction of new products.

Figure 7.2. Concurrent development requirements (Sony Corp.).

In Japan, product development and market testing is widespread. A visit to the Akibahara, Tokyo's electronics district, introduces the visitor to many consumer products that will never leave the shores of Japan. The strategy of testing products at home differs from the strategy of some U.S. companies that test new products in whatever region of the world is most likely to provide the initial product order. Experience has shown that Japanese consumers are more demanding and also more willing to buy new products than consumers in many overseas markets. As a result, the latest versions are typically found in Japan first. The best-received new products sold in Japan are then exported with expectations of high acceptance in overseas markets.

Concurrent Development Activities

Focus on concurrent engineering is prevalent in all the organizations the panel visited. The primary objective is to get the overall design right at the lowest cost. This requires making critical decisions as to product features/functions, manufacturability, and most importantly, cost. JTEC panelists saw numerous examples of this focus on concurrent engineering in order to lower product cost. Our hosts at Sony described in detail an effort to develop the adhesives used in the assembly of the CD pickup head in order to achieve cost goals of the product line. Similar stories from other companies abound. Functional boundaries are disregarded once product or cost objectives are specified.

Evidence of Japan's concurrent engineering culture was overwhelming to the JTEC panel. As shown in the following figures, firms use a variety of concurrent engineering schematics to depict product, process, and equipment development efforts. For a firm with a core material competence, the product is often a new material, and its schematic would show concurrent development of materials, process, and equipment. Concurrent engineering is a culture in Japan. New products and materials are developed simultaneously with the processes and equipment needed to produce them.

Japanese firms first attempted to break down functional barriers as part of the TQM (total quality management) activities initiated to incorporate quality into product design activities. This was the beginning of what is today referred to as concurrent engineering. The strategic objectives typical of Japanese firms in the mid-1980s were summed up in the quality; cost and delivery (QCD) motto (see Chapter 2). Functional compartmentalization was totally inadequate to effectively meet the cross-functional.

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