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Redesigning for cost
jmiller   7/13/2011 10:56:34 PM
One of the great failures of U.S. industry is how often the redesign team is not more integrated with the original design team.  I sometimes doubt if the redesign or cost out team ever consults the original design team, test plan, quality verification plan, service or any other connection to the original design.  I think quite often the redesign is also done by less experienced engineers that are shortly out of college looking for and working at their first job.  It's sad because we get used to and accept the fact that a 350 chevy is going to be as good as the one that we all knew and loved.  And, little known to us, it along with so many of our other beloved staples of reliatbilty have been cost reduced to a point of diminishing quality

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Re: Long term design quality
Alexander Wolfe   7/12/2011 4:46:33 PM
A great point, ivank2139. Design for disassembly as well as design for repairability are as important as solid reliability. As for the ECNs and mods on the transmission, that's in some sense part of the price for a long-lived design. Seems like there should be a way to revision the manual so the techs don't have to pick through all that material -- which adds more opportunity for errors -- for a rebuild.

Ivan Kirkpatrick
User Rank
Long term design quality
Ivan Kirkpatrick   7/12/2011 1:43:39 PM
Apparently HP pays the Monkeys well.  So well in fact they are exceptionally enthusiastic.  It would also seem they have been at work there long enough to be not only diligent but thorough, creative and they exhibit considerable skill and experience.

I am continually amazed to find problems cropping up in machines that have worked very well in the past but for some reason someone altered the design.  The new change most likely was an attempt to make the part less costly but it seems testing is frequently given short shrift.

My personal exposure to this was with a 1995 Suburban.  I really liked that car a lot.  I figured the chevy 350 engine was a tried and true design and would be either cheap to fix or more likely not subject to breakdowns.  Well the engine was fine, but the transmission gave up after 80K miles.  The rebuild was expensive at about $2K and the shop told me there were 20 pages of changes, bulletins and mods required to overhaul the transmission.

I really am surprised when a company takes a design that is working really well over millions of production units and tinkers with it and effectively destroys the fine reputation they had built up over that many years.  At the very least, proven designs should not be altered without extensive testing and verification that the new design is really better.  And by better I do not mean cheaper.  It is false economy to depend soley on cost of manufacture to evaluate a design and not take into account the potential to negatively impact the reputation of a company or product.

I never heard the final word on what happened to Toyota's famous quality control but that is another case in point.

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Patience is a virtue, but. . .
Alexander Wolfe   7/12/2011 1:34:18 PM
You're a very patient person, Rob. I would've thrown in the towel and attempted to glue the spines back on those old data books. I would respectfully suggest that most any scanner could be a subject for a "Monkeys" column. I don't think I've ever used a scanner that did not have some idiosyncrasy where, when you totalled up value of the amount of time spent messing around with the scanner, you could have gone out and spent less to have a third party convert the source material to electronic format. What it boils down to is scanners are really only worth it for converting old family photos, where the sentimental value = priceless.



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