In this chapter we shall examine the methods that have been proposed by the Japanese engineer, Genichi Taguchi. His quality engineering ideas and statistical procedures have been used in Japan for decades, but it was the mid-1980s when the Western world became aware of his views toward process control and quality improvement in general, and the set of tools that he advocates.
This eventual awareness led to the creation of the American Supplier Institute, Inc. in Romulus, Michigan. The objective has been to educate engineers, in particular, in statistical process control (SPC) and Taguchi methods. Presentations have also been made to engineers in the form of “executive briefings.” Shin Taguchi, a nephew of Dr. Genichi Taguchi, and Professor Yuin Wu have taught Taguchi methods as well as standard control-charting procedures to American industrial personnel.
In this chapter we introduce the reader to Taguchi's quality engineering ideas, which for the most part have been enthusiastically received. We then discuss his statistical procedures, which have been highly controversial but which have sparked new research.
The pervasiveness of Taguchi's techniques cannot be denied, and the widespread use of these methods is undoubtedly due to a substantial entrepreneurial effort. Taguchi's methods have been used in a wide variety of applications; the following list is a sample of journal titles since ...