Design process error-proofing
The goal of this research is to develop methods to prevent disastrous failures like the MCO as well as other, more seemingly minor, quality losses, project delays, or budget overruns caused by errors made during the design process. This presentation documents a “design process error-proofing” (DPEP) approach which seeks to understand the nature of design errors, develop tools which predict potential design process errors, and identify strategies which detect, mitigate, or, ideally, prevent errors from occurring. This approach is inspired both by quality methods, particularly Shigeo Shingo's poka-yoke, as well as infamous historical failures caused by design errors. Because of the success of quality management in production, organizations are beginning to realize they now need to shift their focus earlier to the design process in order to stay competitive. Before developing error-proofing solutions, engineers must thoroughly understand the design process itself as well as the errors that can occur.
Industry benchmarking has shown that not all issues are technical. Currently, design errors are accepted as part of the process even though rework and redesign loops can cost organizations millions of dollars. Even when problems are recognized, organizations often use paradigms such as “blame-and-train” that don't address or correct the root causes. To apply error-proofing methods in design, certain upfront work and enablers are necessary. This approach first frames the analysis of errors and solutions against key factors, including knowledge, analysis, communication, execution, change, as well as organization. Then, new structured design methods, such as Project Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and Design Process Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), as well as case study heuristics can better identify potential design errors and the error-proofing solutions which can best mitigate them. Active prevention strategies which emphasize feedback and motivate implementation can best reduce and prevent losses in product development. This dissertation discusses design process error-proofing lessons and demonstrates the merits through case studies and theoretical examples.
0546: Industrial engineering
0796: Operations research