Robust Design Methodology for Sustainability
Paper in proceedings, 2012
A key principle in Quality Management (QM) is customer focus and much research has aimed at techniques supportive of this principle. One example of a research area within QM focused on developing such techniques is Robust Design Methodology (RDM). Taguchi, an early proponent of robust design defined quality in a way that differs from others, i.e. as loss to the society caused by the product, thus not being restricted to an individual customer. Today, this definition seems to be well in line with the sustainability challenges in all disciplines. Thus, it is time to enhance RDM to again focus on preventing losses to the society and thereby contribute to sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to explore how RDM may support Sustainable Product Development (SPD) and thus propose a research agenda for enhancing quality practices towards sustainability. The house of quality is used as a research instrument; identifying linkages between RDM and SPD. Some examples of the findings include the strong relationship between clean manufacturing and all RDM strategies, and the need to broaden the scope of traditional RDM with respect to material use. Finally, a future research agenda towards RDM for sustainability is proposed.