Quality Progress - March 2017 - 28


F E AT U R E

INNOVATION

Propel
Forward
Engineering principles and concepts to drive process
improvement and innovation efforts | by Tracy Owens
vehicle's engine through both axles, this is called 4 x 4 or allLike many QP readers, I am a quality engineer. Quality
wheel drive. Difficult or slippery terrain can be handled more
engineering is an important pursuit on its own, and it is also coneasily by an all-wheel drive vehicle.
sistent with an understanding of other engineering disciplines.
The vehicle's engine delivers power at a certain number of revWhile I'm not a practicing engineer involved in any category
olutions per minute. The transmission meters the engine's power
beyond quality, I've worked closely with many engineers over
to the axles at increasing rates of speed as the vehicle accelerates
the years-mechanical, civil, industrial, electrical, software and
through a set of ring gears that decrease in size and their number
more-and I've learned a lot of useful science along the way.
of teeth. Imagine the gears on a bicycle with smaller
From these experiences and others' perspectives,
rings having fewer teeth so the rear wheel makes more
it's clear the science of engineering can often be more
Just the
revolutions with each stroke the cyclist makes with the
widely applicable in settings other than typical enviFacts
pedals, causing the bike to go faster.
ronments where engineers work. There are several
The drive axle in a car or truck also has teeth to
examples of scientific engineering principles, themes
Many engineering
principles and
transmit power from the engine and transmission to
and concepts-for example, how vehicle axles work
concepts-includand how bridges are constructed-that can be helpful
the wheel ends. There can be a problem when the
ing tension and
compression-can
when leading a process improvement project or innofront and rear axles are both powered-meaning they
be applied to
vation initiative and making it more successful.
are both attached to the engine and transmission
bolstering process
improvement and
with a toothed shaft.

Axles and process improvement

Most vehicles have only one powered axle: In most
small cars, the front axle is powered and the rear axle
just rolls. In trucks, the opposite is true: The rear axle
in most trucks is powered and the front axle is
used for steering.
Sometimes front and rear axles are both
powered. When there are four wheels
and all four receive power from the

innovation efforts.
Analogies-
such as axles
on all-wheel
drive vehicles
and supports
for a steel truss
bridge-illustrate steps and
tools to consider
when managing
projects.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - March 2017

Seen and Heard
Expert Answers
Progress Report
Mr. Pareto Head
Field Notes
Innovation Imperative
Hard Wired
Propel Forward
Life After Disruption
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Statistics Spotlight
Standard Issues
Marketplace
Footnotes
Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover1
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover2
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 1
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 2
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 3
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 4
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 5
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Seen and Heard
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 7
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Expert Answers
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 9
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Progress Report
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 11
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 12
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Mr. Pareto Head
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Field Notes
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 15
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 16
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 17
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Innovation Imperative
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 19
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 20
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 21
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Hard Wired
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 23
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 24
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 25
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 26
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 27
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Propel Forward
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 29
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 30
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 31
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 32
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 33
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Life After Disruption
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 35
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 36
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 37
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 38
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 39
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Work Smarter, Not Harder
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 41
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 42
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 43
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Statistics Spotlight
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 45
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 46
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 47
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Standard Issues
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 49
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Marketplace
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 51
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Footnotes
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 53
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 54
Quality Progress - March 2017 - 55
Quality Progress - March 2017 - Back to Basics
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover3
Quality Progress - March 2017 - cover4
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