Genichi Taguchi Biography
Genichi Taguchi was a Japanese engineer and statistician, renowned for developing a methodology for the application of statistics to improve the quality of manufactured products. He was born in Tokamachi, Japan on January 1, 1924.
Initially, he became interested in studying textile engineering, with the aim of working in the kimonos family business. However, due to the military escalation in the Second World War, in 1942 he was recruited and taken to the Department of Astronomy of the Navigation Institute of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
After the end of the war, in 1948 he entered the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, where he was under the command of the eminent statesman Matosaburo Masuyama, who motivated the interests of Taguchi in the design of experiments. At that time, he worked at the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and contributed to the experimental work of penicillin production at the Morinaga pharmaceutical company.
By 1950, Taguchi began working with the Electrical Communications Laboratory of the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, at the time that statistical quality control was becoming popular in Japan, influenced by W. Edwards Deming and the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers. Genichi Taguchi spent 12 years creating methods to improve the quality and reliability of the Electrical Communications Laboratory. By that time, he was also a consultant to Toyota. From 1954 to 1955 he worked as a visiting professor at the Institute of Statistics of India, where he teamed with R. A. Fisher and Walter A. Shewhart.
He finished his doctorate at the University of Kyushu in 1962, completed work with the Electrical Communications Laboratory, to whom he continued providing a consulting service. In that same year, he traveled to Princeton University sponsored by John Tukey, who gave him a period to stay at the Bell Laboratories, which was Taguchi’s competence when he works in the Electrical Communications Laboratory.
In 1964, he began working as a professor of engineering at the Aoyama Gakuin University. Two years later, he began his collaboration in various works of Yuin Wu. Around 1980, Yuin Wu invited Genichi Taguchi to give a lecture in the United States. During his visit, Taguchi promoted his return to the Bell Laboratories, where his teaching had a little lasting impact. During that second visit, he collaborated with Madhav Phadke and the interest of the Bell Laboratories for his methodology was growing little by little, as well as in other important companies such as the Ford Motor Company, Boeing, Xerox and ITT Corporation.
Beginning in 1982, Genichi Taguchi was an advisor to the Japanese Standards Institute and executive director of the Suppliers Institute of America, an international consulting organization.
Genichi Taguchi died on June 2, 2012, at the age of 88 years.
Among the contributions of Taguchi, his contribution to industrial statistics stands out. The Japanese suggested that it is cheaper to redesign the manufacturing processes and products than to perform quality improvement actions after an audit. Based on this concept, Genichi Taguchi created his own philosophy of quality in which he proposed:
- Loss function: Quality must be defined in monetary form through the loss function, in which the greater the variation of a specification with respect to the nominal value, the greater the monetary loss transferred to the consumer.
- Continuous improvement: The continuous improvement of the productive process and the reduction of variability are essential to survive at present.
- Variability: Can be quantified in monetary terms, the variability of the operation of the product causes a loss to the user.
- Product design: Quality is generated and the final cost of the product is determined.
- Optimization of product design: A product can be designed based on the non-linear part of its response, in order to reduce its variability.
- Optimization of the process design: Variability is reduced by means of the design of experiments, by selecting the optimal levels of the variables involved in the manufacture of the product.
- Quality Engineering: Taguchi also developed a methodology that he called quality engineering, which is divided into line and offline engineering.
Taguchi also raised the concept of robust quality, which was oriented to the design of the product in a uniform way even if it was manufactured in unfavorable conditions. With this approach, Taguchi focused mainly on preventing variations in the quality of the environment where a product is manufactured or processed, something that affects the quality of the final article.
- Indigo ribbon of the Emperor of Japan.
- Willard F. Rockwell Medal of the International Institute of Technology
- Honorary member of the Japanese Society of Quality Control. Shewhart Medal of the American Society for Quality: 1995.
- Quality Guru of the British Department of Commerce and Industry: 1990.