Quality During Design Podcast Blog

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The Who’s Who of your Quality Team

I’m a fan of cross-functional teams. My main reason is that the different perspectives that each person brings from their respective areas of the business helps create a more complete vision of product and performance risk. Part of quality (and design!) means assessing and managing risk, and I’ve seen time and again the power of bringing people together: better understanding,…

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When it’s Not Normal: How to Choose from a Library of Distributions

When trying to fit a probability distribution to quantitative results, sometimes the normal probability doesn’t fit. Minitab has a wealth of distributions to pick from. Do you just pick whichever one Minitab tells you fits the best? Maybe not. Just because the distribution fits your data doesn’t mean it’s a good one to use. We…

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What are TQM, QFD, Six Sigma, and Lean?

You may have heard of QMS but are not sure how your activities fit in. Or, you’ve heard of QFD, ISO 9000, Six Sigma, Lean…these cryptic names that you’re not sure what they’re about. You may be doing activities under one of your company’s procedures and asking, “Why am I spending time on this?”  Sometimes it’s good to re-orient to the big picture….

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The Designer’s Important Influence on Monitoring After Launch

Because of your role as a designer in product development, you have great input into the planning for what field (or real-use) data should be monitored for your product. We talk about this as post market surveillance, which is a typical term used for medical devices. This episode talks about how the post market surveillance…

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How to Handle Competing Failure Modes

If we’re not careful with or ignore failure modes, we can choose the wrong reliability model or statistical distribution. If our product performance is close to the required limits and/or we need a very accurate model, this could be a big problem. We talk about the importance of failure modes and step-through a tensile-test example…

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About Using Slide Decks for Technical Design Reviews

A danger of using slide decks for technical design reviews is loss of important technical information. In order to summarize something in a slide or slide deck, the presenter thins-out information without its raw data and divorces it from the plots, graphs, and other technical analyses. Slide decks are useful to the presenter to pull…

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Remaking Risk-Based Decisions: Allowing Ourselves to Change our Minds.

Recent news highlights an accident involving a product with tragic results. This podcast explores this as cautionary tale and example outside of our own design house. The goal is to shift our perspectives to let us gain a better understanding of risk-based decisions. We also talk about allowing ourselves room to change our minds about…

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Need to innovate? Stop brainstorming and try a systematic approach.

When we’re trying to innovate, we can get trapped into the old thinking that the solution has to be out there somewhere. We need to think outside the box to find the solution to a problem. We should stop brainstorming and, instead, think inside the box with Systematic Inventive Thinking. We use systematic approaches to…

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HALT! Watch out for that weakest link.

HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Test) uses the weakest link mentality. We apply stresses beyond what our designs would normally see in the environment to make something fail. It’s meant to be an iterative test program where you are testing, analyzing the results, determining the root cause, fixing the design, and then testing it, again.

This blog reveals more about its roots, why you should perform HALT (or not), when in the design process it’s best (hint: really early), and who likely needs to be involved. Also understand how HALT is different from ALT.

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The Designer’s Risk Analysis affects Business, Projects, and Suppliers

It takes a village to produce a design from concept to realization. Everyone along the way seems to think of risk a little bit differently. Designers are both directly and indirectly involved with all these risk management methods, but it’s important to understand who is looking at what type of information. Why? Because of communication. One group…

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