In May 1998, Taguchi was made an honorary member of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), one of many awards and commendations bestowed on him. In support of his nomination it was said that his leadership in the quality control field was unsurpassed, and his influence would be felt for a long time in engineering, quality fields and industry sectors, throughout the world. Taguchi is famous for his pioneering methods of modern quality control and low-cost quality engineering. He is the founder of what has come to be known as the Taguchi method, which seeks to improve product quality at the design stage by integrating quality control into product design, using experiment and statistical analysis. His methods have been said to fundamentally change the philosophy and practice of quality control. Life and career
Genichi Taguchi, born in Japan in 1924, served in the Navigation Institute of the Japanese Navy during the Second World War. He then worked in the Ministry of Public Health and Welfare and in the Institute of Statistical Mathematics of the Ministry of Education, meeting the renowned statistician, Matosaburo Masuyame, who nurtured Taguchi's statistical skills. In 1950, Taguchi joined the Electrical Communication Laboratory (ECL) of Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Company, gaining six years experience in experimentation and data analysis while developing telephone switching systems. The commercial benefits resulting from his ECL work helped Taguchi to earn the Deming prize in 1960, for his contribution to the field of quality engineering. He went on to win this award, one of Japan's most prestigious commendations, a further three times. In 1962, Taguchi was awarded his doctorate by Kyushu University, after working with industrial statisticians (and beginning his work on the signal to noise ratio) at Bell Laboratories in the US. He continued working for ECL in a consulting role and became part of the associate research staff of the Japanese Standards Association, where he founded the Quality Research Group. In 1964, he took up a professorship at Aoyamagokuin University in Japan, where he spent the next 17 years developing his methods. Throughout this time, Taguchi methods were largely unheard of outside Japan. He developed his concept of the quality loss function in the early 1970s, but it was during the 1980s that Taguchi methods became established, when he revisited AT & T Bell Laboratories in the US, as director of the Japanese Academy of Quality. After that, American interest from companies such as Xerox, Ford and ITT in Taguchi's methodology increased. In 1982, Taguchi was involved in seminars for Ford executives, and the next year he became executive director of the Ford Supplier Institute (later known as the American Supplier Institute). He was also further honoured in 1986, receiving the Indigo Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to Japanese economics and industry, and the International Technology Institute's Medal for his work on statistical methods to achieve cost and quality improvements. Throughout much of this time, Taguchi was also operating as a full-time consultant to various major companies in the US, Japan, China and India. Apart from occasional work with, for example, Lucas Industries, Taguchi's ideas only became known in Europe from 1986, when the Institute of Statisticians organised a conference in London. The UK Taguchi Club (now, the Quality Methods Association) was formed the following year and, since then, Taguchi methods have been in regular and widespread use in the West, particularly in the car industry. Taguchi himself is now in semi-retirement. Taguchi methods
Taguchi developed methods for both online (process) and offline (design) quality control. This formed the basis of his approach to total quality control and assurance within a product's development life cycle. His approach emphasised improving the quality of product and process prior to...
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