All Motorolans who have engineering responsibilities are required to attend this two-day course. Typical attendees would be: product design engineers, device engineers, process design engineers, reliability engineers, product engineers, process engineers, manufacturing engineers, and managers responsible for those functions (including all of Motorola’s senior management). Although the course is focused on design and manufacturing, the concepts are applicable to all parts of an organization. The course is widely credited with the dramatic improvement that Motorola has achieved in the quality of its products and services.
The course is somewhat mis-named, since it is not a "how to" course. Instead, it is a "why we should" course. It is aimed at developing an understanding of why it is necessary in today’s highly competitive global marketplace to design products that are highly manufacturable, and the impact of highly manufacturable designs on product reliability, customers’ perception of product quality, cycle time, inventory, product cost, and resource investment.
Initially the course highlights the need for customer focus and how organizations tend to operate when they do not have that focus. A simulation exercise is used to highlight what can happen when customer focus is missing during the design of a product, and the serious lessons from the simulation set the stage for the rest of the course.
Then the statistical concepts that are the basis for ensuring highly manufacturable designs are covered. This includes: normal distributions, the effects of variability, process capability indices, and defects per unit. Once these concepts have been understood, the impact of variability and defects on perceived quality, reliability, costs, cycle time, inventory and profit are explored. The course includes several exercises which help participants understand the impact of defects by working through examples based on Motorola data.
The "Six Sigma" concept is also explained, including a review of the Six Step methodology of product design, which results in highly manufacturable products of Six Sigma quality. An overview of some of the tools and methodologies used at Motorola to produce highly manufacturable designs, improve quality and reduce cycle time closes out the "instructional" portion of the course.
A second simulation, again using Tinker Toys, ties all the class material together in a practical experience. This simulation and its wrap-up discussion reinforce the many concepts and ideas presented in the course.
Participants leave with a number of specific messages: (1) the need to use cross-functional teams to achieve highly manufacturable designs; (2) the relationship between variation, tolerance, and defects; (3) the impact of defects on costs. But, perhaps the most important is that quality can only be "designed in." This requires using a systematic approach, combined with a clear understanding of the customer’s requirements, a thorough knowledge of the capabilities of the processes that will be used to manufacture the product and produce its component parts, and a willingness to improve those processes when necessary to achieve Six Sigma Quality.
The course was designed for use in Motorola, but has been used by many of Motorola’s suppliers and customers. Its concepts have been applied in a variety of industrial and service environments. When a participant substitutes its company’s name in the places where "Motorola" appears in the text, this course has been extremely effective in motivating change in all types on companies.