APPLICATION OF QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD) IN AVIATION INDUSTRY

Muhammad Asim Student of Master in Engineering Management CASE, Islamabad, Pakistan a007pk@yahoo.com Asim Rehman Master in Engineering Management CASE, Islamabad, Pakistan acemrehman@yahoo.com Khalid Rafique Student of Master in Engineering Management CASE, Islamabad, Pakistan Khalidrafique@me.com

Abstract
A major problem with the traditional product development process is that customers and engineers speak different languages. Especially in products like aircraft manufacturing, which require combination of intricate and complex processes involving various functions, the voice of the customer is lost in the translation and subsequent interpretation by design or production personnel. This led to the introduction of the concept called as QUALITY FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD) first employed by Japanese Mitsubishi Shipyard. This concept outlines a method to translate the customer requirements in to the technical specifications of a product so that they can be embedded throughout the design process and also on the design of production systems. QFD benefits companies through improved communication and teamwork between all constituencies in the production process, such as between marketing and design, between design and manufacturing, and between purchasing and suppliers. Studies have revealed that the use of QFD has significantly reduced the causes of customer dissatisfaction, thereby increasing the productivity and quality levels of the product. Aviation Industry, especially the military aircraft production, operational and maintenance setups relies heavily on the fulfillment of the requirement of its customers. Many projects have failed simply because of the fact they were unable to meet the demand of the market despite producing extremely efficient and innovative products. This study analyzes the result of the application of QFD in aircraft maintenance setup. A comprehensive HOUSE OF QUALILTY MATRIX was formed keeping in view the expected and latent requirements of the potential customers. Keywords: Customer, House of Quality

1. Introduction
The concept of QFD gained world wide fame 30 years ago in Japan and emerged as a comprehensive quality system focusing on satisfying the customer needs. The core principle of this concept is that in order to deliver value to the customer, it is necessary to listen and implement the voice of the customer in all the steps of the product development process. Traditionally speaking, QFD is different from the other prevalent quality systems which aim at minimizing negative quality. NOTHING WRONG not always ensures growth and expansion. For sustenance, we need to maximize positive

quality and one of the means to achieve that is QFD. Further QFD helps in prioritizing the customer requirements, so that we can get a picture at the end as to where we stand in the eyes of the customer.

YOJI AKAO, the man who developed QFD with Katsuyo Ishihara of Mitsubishi Electric defined it as “a method for developing a design quality system aimed at satisfying the consumer and then translating the consumer demands in to design targets and major quality assurance points to be used throughout the production stage” [Akao, 1990]. The name QFD expresses its true purpose, which is satisfying customers by translating their wants in to design process and then subsequently ensuring that all the organizational units work coherently to systematically break down their activities into finer and finer details that can be quantified and controlled.

2. The Dynamics of Aviation Industry
Aviation Industry is perhaps the most interesting and important segment of the manufacturing enterprise; interesting because it has many unique features like massive entry costs, dynamically increased returns, and imperfect competition and for this very fact many countries considers it – strategic- . But still being an industry, it has all the elemental processes for design, development, operations, maintenance and most importantly customer, the ultimate users of the finished product. Identifying and understanding customer needs is perhaps the most important and elemental step in aviation industry because any deviation from the wants of the customer could result in complete dumping of the product. One of the prime aspects of Aviation Industry is provisioning of services like Maintenance of Aircraft Systems and the chief customer being the Defense Forces or Civil Airliners of any country. Unfortunately this important aspect of service provision is often dealt with the traditional aspect of quality as reducing negative quality. The concept of enhancing positive quality is missing in most of the systems. The underline effort was initiated with a view to effectively see and understand the result of dealing the Aircraft Maintenance System as any other service provisioning system and utilizing the QFD tool to improve the overall system.

3. House of Quality Development
QFD was initially applied at one of the intermediate level maintenance setup responsible for maintenance management of fighter Aircrafts. Following approach was followed:

(f)

Identification of Target Customers: This initial step seemed very easy and at first provided us with a simple answer, Pilots, Simply because they are the end users of the serviced aircrafts. But once the situation was analyzed in detail, a long list of potential customers emerged out. This list was then further divided in to two broad categories. One for the aircrew and the other for the ground crew. After careful selection following clientele were targeted as true users of the product.

Table 1

Air Crew (External Customers) – – – Pilots Co-pilots Flight Engineers

Ground Crew (Internal Customers) – Maintenance Engineers

Aircraft Technicians

(b) Defining Customer Attributes: Once our target customers were selected, the next step was to identify WHAT they want. This was the trickiest and intricate task as usually customers are not aware of what they actually want. Comprehensive brain storming sessions were carried out and specific Quality tools such as Affinity Diagrams and Questionnaires were distributed among the selected population of selected Customers. Marked attributed were then subsequently given the importance index and were fit in the HOQ as follows:

Aircraft Availability as per flight plan Aircraft Configuration Management (Documentation) Aircraft System Reliability Aircraft Timely Readiness System ease of Operations Conducive Operating Environment & Facilities

Figure 1: Customer Attributes

(c) Defining Engineering Characteristics: The next Step was to isolate the HOWs of the HOQ. Defining Engineering or Maintenance Characteristics was again a cumbersome activity as Maintenance People are often not involved in the Planning Phase. Engineering Characteristics were first isolated and then subsequently placed in the order of priority in HOQ as follows:

Maintenance schedule Spares Support System Maintenance Staff Availability Maintenance Facilities Technical Expertise of the Maintenance Staff Supporting Systems e.g, Maintenance Tools Availability Maintenance Supervision

Figure 2: Engineering Characteristics

(d) Correlating WHO with HOW: Correlating the Customer Attributes with the Engineering Specifications is perhaps the most important task as it defines the realistic implementation and effectiveness of QFD within any system. This was carefully done on the basis of experience and historical perspective. A scale of 1 – 5 was selected while symbolizing a strong, moderate and weak relationship. This helped in prioritizing the Technical Characteristics. HOQ took the shape as follows:

Figure 3: Correlating Customer Attributes with Engineering Characteristics (e) Developing the Planning Matrix: Planning Matrix performs two fold functions: assign priorities to the customer attributes and provide competitors evaluation of the customer attributes. Being one of the internal setup there are no real time competitors of the concerned section, but still other facilities do exist at distinct bases that can pose a strong competition to the section under scrutiny. Three such sections were marked and were contacted to confirm to the customer attributes already pointed (for security purpose these sections have been marked as C1, C2 & C3). Then the order of the customer attributes was assigned according to the competitor sections. HOQ was further refined as follows:

Figure 4: Planning Matrix

(f)

The all important Technical Matrix: The last nail in the coffin, the technical matrix, was formulated which provided the technical evaluation of the competitors, targets, real time technical difficulties and Importance Rating. Targets were set as per the importance and the Technical Difficulties were given the rating of 1- 5 as per the availability of resources and targets. The importance rating helped in identifying the weak links in the chain.

Figure 5: Complete Matrix

4. Target Areas: The Crux of QFD According the target values, following measures were initiated to realistically see the impact of introducing the voice of the customer inside the processes of maintenance management.
a) Maintenance Schedule Forecasting was carried out by allocating specific maintenance days to the assigned tasks. b) The logistic staff was given comprehensive training on the modern Supply chain management techniques. A small Log Support setup was created within the maintenance facility to bridge the gap between the Logistic Squadron and the Maintenance Squadron. This step significantly reduced the Supply delays. c) Experienced and Trained staff was brought in from other existing facilities to pool in the existing manpower.

d) The overall working and operating environment was improved with the establishment of facilities like rest rooms, a sophisticated and distinct tea bar for the technicians and technical library. e) A Defect Trend Analysis system was devised in which all the maintenance related discrepancies of a specific month were analyzed and prioritized according to the aircraft systems and technicians trades. This effort appreciably helped in restricting the aircraft downtime due to minor discrepancies. f) Supporting systems to the maintenance activities were given their due share of importance. A superior Central Tool Store (CTS) was established where adequate and fresh tools were available. A separate Training Section was also established to impart regular training to all the concerned technical staff based on the defect trend analysis.

5. Conclusion
The results were overwhelmingly encouraging. Perhaps for the first time, systems were molded according to the real voice of the customer and this move really helped in providing a conducive environment in which both the teams of operators and maintenance staff gelled up together to enhance the overall effectiveness of their mission objectives. One fact which emerged with shear distinction was the lack of involvement of technical staff at the planning phase. This exercise convinced the top level managers to include the maintenance managers in the planning phase. 6. References

Akao, Yoji [1994]. "Development History of Quality Function Deployment", The Customer Driven Approach to Quality Planning and Deployment. Minato, Tokyo 107 Japan www.qfdonline.com www.qfdi.org

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