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**A Numerical Method for Customer Needs Analysis
**

Md Mamunur Rashid Faculty, Bangladesh Institute of Management, Dhaka-1207 Doctoral Student, Kitami Institute of Technology, Kitami, Hokkaido-090-8507, JAPAN Member, Executive Committee (2009-2010), Mechanical Engineering Division, IEB Jun’ichi Tamaki, A.M.M. Sharif Ullah and Akihiko Kubo Kitami Institute of Technology, Kitami, Hokkaido-090-8507, JAPAN E-mail:dse10831@std.kitami-it.ac.jp ABSTRACT: Customer needs is crucial for product development. There are many models for customer needs analysis. One of the well-known models is Kano Model. Kano model can be formulated customer needs for product development. Functional (FE) and dysfunctional (DE) forms answer of Kano Model , i.e. Like, Must-be, Neutral, Live-with and Dislike of a product attribute have been applied to choose the Kano evaluation (KE), i.e. Attractive (A), One-dimensional (O), Must-be (M), Indifferent (I), Reverse (R), and Questionable (Q). Questionnaires have filled and returned by individuals are essential for Kano model. Many questionnaires have not been returned in that case. Moreover, many possible consumers could not get opportunity for filled-up questionnaire. These uncertain or unknown consumers’ opinions are also essential for product development. Under these circumstances the discrete variables have been generated by the formula RAND () in Microsoft Office Excel and also applied Monte Carlo simulation methods. This paper is outline a numerical method for customer need evaluation regarding Kano model based Keywords: Numerical Kano Model, Customer Needs Analysis, Probability, Events, Product Development. 1. INTRODUCTION The long-term viability of a company's business plan depends on sustaining its competitive advantage [1]. Competitive advantage is usually achieved through developing new products and services that satisfy and delight customers [2]. Product developers are looking for numerical investigations to seek optimum product design for improve quality and reduce costs and adding Value [3-4]. We deal with the issue of customer need assessment by Kano model [5] through computer system for conceptualization and product realization for customer satisfaction [6-7]. Thus, a system is needed to develop existing or new product more safely, efficiently and compliance with voice of customer (VOC). For this purpose, a computer system is presented in this context, which can lead to know the understanding of customer for product development. The proposed numerical method can be conformed the requirements customers with product attribute on the basis of Kano model. The remainder of this paper is as follows. Section 2 shows the proposed simulation process to simulate the customer answer. Section 3 shows result and discussions, which is followed by the concluding remarks of this study. 2. PROPOSED SIMULATION PROCESS This section describes a method to simulate the functional/dysfunctional answers and subsequently the Kano evaluation. The method is based on Monte Carlo simulation process. Consider that, functional answer, FE (xi) = (Like, Must-be, Neutral, Live-with, Dislike) [5] is a vector that contains all possible states of functional answers. For convenience, xi will be used to denote i-th element of FE (xi), i = 1,…, 5. PFE = (Pr(xi) | i = 1,…,5) is the probability vector of the states of functional answers defined by FE. The corresponding cumulative probability vector is denoted by CPFE = (CPr(xi) | i = 1,…,5). In addition, consider that, dysfunctional answer, DE (yj) = (Like, Must-be, Neutral, Live-with, Dislike) [5] is a vector that contains all possible states of dysfunctional answers. For convenience, yj will be used to denote j-th element of DE (yj), j = 1,…, 5. PDE = (Pr (yj) | j = 1,…,5) is the probability vector of the states of dysfunctional answers defined by DE. The corresponding cumulative probability vector is denoted by CPDE = (CPr(yj) | j = 1,…,5). Moreover, consider that KE (Zk) = (Attractive (A), Onedimensional (O), Must-be (M), Indifferent (I), Reverse (R), Questionable (Q))[5] is a vector that contains all possible states of Kano evaluations. For convenience, zk will be used to denote k-th element

Mechanical Engineering Division The Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh

Proceedings of the 13th Annual Paper Meet 25 September 2010, Dhaka

2

of KE, k = 1,…,6. PKE = (Pr(zk) | k = 1,…,6) is the probability vector of the states of Kano evaluation defined by KE. A combination of functional and dysfunctional answers (xi,yj) corresponds to a definite Kano evaluation zk, i.e., (xi,yj) zk, in accordance with the Kano model. There are twenty five possible transformation rules (xi,yj) zk. These rules are listed in following Table 1.

Table 1. Kano evaluation KE (Zk) of product attribute [8]

Dysfunctional Answers (Yj) Functional Answers (Xi) () Like Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Like Q R R R R Must-be A I I I R Neutral A I I I R Live-with A I I I R Dislike O M M M Q

However, to simulate functional and dysfunctional answers and subsequently the Kano evaluation, a simulation process is proposed. The proposed process composed of five steps (Step 0,…,Step 4). The steps are explained as follows: Step 0: This step is to input number of iterations (N), event and probability vectors of functional and dysfunctional answer (FE = (xi | i = 1,…,5), PFE = (Pr(xi) | i = 1,…,5), DE = (yj | j = 1,…,5), and PDE = (Pr(yj) | j = 1,…,5)). Step 1: This step is to simulate and display the functional and dysfunctional answers independently using the process . The results are two vectors of simulated functional and dysfunctional answers SFE = (SF1,…,SFN) and SDE = (SD1,…,SDN), respectively. As such, SFp = xi and SDp = yj, p = 1,…,N, i,j {1,…,5}. Step 2: This step is to calculate and display the probability vectors of simulated functional and dysfunctional answers (PFE = (Pr(xi) | i = 1,…,5) and PDE = (Pr(yj) | j = 1,…,5)) and corresponding Error . Step 3: This step is to use SFE = (SF1,…,SFN) and SDE = (SD1,…,SDN) and identify the Kano evaluation for each pair of simulated functional and dysfunctional answer using the definition (xi,yj) zk shown in Table 1. This step thus produces a vector of simulated Kano evaluations SKE = (SK1,…,SKN) so that (SFp,SDp) SKp = zk, p = 1,…,N; k {1,…,6}. Step 4: This step is to determine the probability vector of the simulated Kano evaluations PFE = (Pr(zk) | k = 1,…,6) . 3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION This system can to simulate functional and dysfunctional answers independently and then calculate the probability of Kano evaluation. For this purpose, this process (appendix A) is followed the summation of probabilities for each FE, DE inputs is equal to 1. Thus, probability provides the real knowledge to numerical modeling of Kano model. According to the simulation process shows three end output. Kano evaluation (KE) is one end output of them. Others two are errors of functional (FE) and dysfunctional (DE) simulations. These two errors are varying upon on number of iterations. These errors are 1 followed, number of iteration (N) ; it’s tend to zero. Rashid et al. [6, 7] was shown that errors (%) one can be used the survey of 100 virtual respondents to prove clearly whether or not an attribute is Must-be or something else. Number of iteration is considered virtual respondents or customers. For this reason, in this study number of iterations (N) is considered at 100.

Functional Answers 25 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 10 100 N 1000 20 15 10 5

0

Dysfunctional Answers

Error (%)

Error (%)

1

10

100 N

1000

Fig.1 Selection of input number of iterations

Ullah and Tamaki [3] have developed a method of 25 individuals; only 14 of them submitted a Kano questionnaire with their answers on time. 11 individuals, i.e. 44% of the answers were unknown or technically uncertain. Their study was constrained in this specific area for know the unknown people

Mechanical Engineering Division The Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh

Proceedings of the 13th Annual Paper Meet 25 September 2010, Dhaka

3

answer. In this regard, they recommended a proposition in their next work [4]. Their proposition is respondents of unknown customer answer are selected randomly from FE and DE. In this case all states (Like, Must-be, Neutral, Live-with, and Dislike) are equally likely. Equally likely means equal probability of FE and DE (circumstance-1). Moreover, when information is scarce, vague, or conflicting for product design, which is hard to identify a unique probability distribution. As a result, the unknown customers’ FE and DE is generally uncertain, i.e., scarce, vague etc. Thus, it facilitates to consider uniform probability for FE and DE (circumstance-2). Besides, FE and DE probability of existing Kano model is also shown equal probability (circumstance-3). Under these circumstances, the system in appendix A shows in following results of scenario 1 that customer evaluation (KE) probability is the similar with existing Kano evaluation (KE) .

Input Number of Iterations -> 100 Input Probability -> Like 0.2 Functional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Functional Event Probability Vector 0.2 0.2 0.2 Dislike 0.2

**Like Input Probability ->
**

1 0.8 0.6

Dysfunctional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Dysfunctional Event Probability Vector 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2

Pr(.)

0.4 0.2

0 Attractive One-dimensional Must-be Indifferent Evaluations Reverse Questionable

Fig.2 Inputs and results for scenario 1

The probability of the Kano Evaluation called Indifferent is very high compared to those of others. Indifferent attribute, that result neither in satisfaction nor dissatisfaction, whether fulfilled or not. As a result, generic unknown customer evaluation is not significance for product development. A product developer is investigated by this system for the following two attribute of bicycle. These attributes are attractive or not. Firstly triangular wheel bicycle, a product developer is considered attractive attribute as an assumption. For this purpose, the product developer has collected data from field survey. Now, the product developer is used these data as a system input of appendix A and got following evaluation from the system.

Input Number of Iterations -> 100 Input Probability -> Like 0.074074 Functional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Functional Event Probability Vector 0 0 0.111111 0.814814815

Input Probability ->

1 0.8 0.6

Dysfunctional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Dysfunctional Event Probability Vector 0.222222 0.296296 0.148148 0.074074 0.259259259 Like

Pr(.)

0.4 0.2

0 Attractive One-dimensional Must-be Indifferent Evaluations Reverse Questionable

Fig.3 Inputs and results for scenario 2

This system result shows that triangular wheel bicycle is not attractive attribute, while it shows reverse attribute. It is avoidable attribute for product. For the reason that, Reverse attribute presence causes dissatisfaction and its absence causes satisfaction. Questionable (Q) attribute is occurred, when one selects “Like” or “Dislike” from both FE and DE; as a result this answer does not make any sense. In this perspective, the producer could not allow to produce triangular wheel bicycle. Secondly triangular shape bicycle frame, a product developer is considered attractive attribute as an assumption. For this reason, the product developer has also collected data from field study. Now, the

Mechanical Engineering Division The Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh

Proceedings of the 13th Annual Paper Meet 25 September 2010, Dhaka

4

product developer is used these data as a system input of appendix A and got following evaluation from the system.

Input Number of Iterations -> 100 Input Probability -> Like 0.5 Functional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Functional Event Probability Vector 0.076923 0.192308 0.192308 0.038461538

**Like Input Probability ->
**

1 0.8 0.6

Dysfunctional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Dysfunctional Event Probability Vector 0 0.038462 0.346154 0.615385

0

Pr(.)

0.4 0.2

0 Attractive One-dimensional Must-be Indifferent Evaluations Reverse Questionable

Fig.4 Inputs and results for scenario 3

This system shows that triangular shape bicycle is attractive attribute. Attractive attribute leads to a better satisfaction, whereas it is not expected to be in the product. It dominates probability 0.496, while indifferent attribute probability 0.4645 and reverse attribute probability 0.039. This scenario shows zero probability for must-be attribute. A must-be attribute absence produces absolute dissatisfaction for customers and its presence does not increase satisfaction. In this point, this attribute is predominately attractive with indifferent, reverse and absent of must-be. In this case, assumption is correct, as the same time as the producer will go to produce this type attribute of bicycle should be taken major measures for success the product in the market. In this context, the following more three scenarios are also discussed for better understanding and using of the presented system. DuMouchel [2] regarding scoring scheme that defines customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction is shown in following table. According rules of probability, negative score is considered zero probability. As a result, DuMouchel scores are adapted by follow the summation all events of probability equal to 1, in the following table:

Table 2 Inputs for the scenario 4

Answers to the kano questions Scores for Functional Probability for Functional

1. I like it that way 2. It must be that way 3. I am neutral 4. I can live with that way 5. I dislike it that way

1 0.5 0 -0.25 -0.5

0.5 0.5 0 0 0

Scores for Dusfunctional -0.5 -0.25 0 0.5 1

Probability for Dysfunctional

0 0 0 0.5 0.5

This following scenario shows that reverse and questionable attribute nil. These are good for product development. In this model indifferent attribute probability is 0.25, this amount is also deemed excessive accordingly Xu et al. 2009 [2]. The indifferent attribute of the product should be considered as a minimum level for its threshold capacity.

Input Number of Iterations -> 100 Input Probability -> Like 0.5 Functional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Functional Event Probability Vector 0.5 0 0 Dislike 0

**Like Input Probability ->
**

1 0.8 0.6

Dysfunctional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Dysfunctional Event Probability Vector 0 0 0 0.5 0.5

Pr(.)

0.4 0.2

0 Attractive One-dimensional Must-be Indifferent Evaluations Reverse Questionable

Fig.5 Inputs and results for scenario 4 Mechanical Engineering Division The Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh

Proceedings of the 13th Annual Paper Meet 25 September 2010, Dhaka

5

The following scenario 5 is considered for removing unnecessary threshold. This scenario shows that one dimensional probability is 0.81, it is expected for both producer and customer, give that a onedimensional attribute fulfillment helps enhance the satisfaction and vice versa. This type of scenario, producer can set as a standard for one-dimensional attribute of product.

Input Number of Iterations -> 100 Input Probability -> Like 0.9 Functional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Functional Event Probability Vector 0.1 0 0 Dislike 0

**Like Input Probability ->
**

1 0.8 0.6

Dysfunctional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Dysfunctional Event Probability Vector 0 0 0 0.1 0.9

Pr(.)

0.4 0.2

0 Attractive One-dimensional Must-be Indifferent Evaluations Reverse Questionable

Fig. 6 Inputs and results for scenario 5

Indifferent attribute is needed for its threshold capacity, while it does not add any value. It shows 0.01 probabilities. This is ideal for the product development. In practice, it is difficult to define specific value of thresholds for different product. Thus a producer can easily select different thresholds value regarding their specific products and needs. This numerical system is easier than Xu et al. 2009 [2] analytical system in this regards. The following scenario 6 shows the probability of attractive 0.6058; attractive attribute of the product can delight the customer more perfectly. In this circumstance, customer gets more facility without carry increasing cost for product. This type of scenario, producer can fix as a standard for attractive attribute of product.

Input Number of Iterations -> 100 Input Probability -> Like 0.9 Functional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Functional Event Probability Vector 0.1 0 0 Dislike 0

**Like Input Probability ->
**

1 0.8 0.6

Dysfunctional Event Vector Must-be Neutral Live-with Dislike Dysfunctional Event Probability Vector 0 0 0.333333 0.333333 0.333333333

Pr(.)

0.4 0.2

0 Attractive One-dimensional Must-be Indifferent Evaluations Reverse Questionable

Fig.7 Inputs and results for scenario 6

In this way, the presented system can be evaluated the product attribute (KE) from FE and DE. This method could be comply customer needs with producer capacity. If it is considered that, a system can to simulate the functional and dysfunctional answers for a given Kano evaluation (KE) (Must-be, Attractive, One-dimensional, Indifferent, or Reverse and Questionable). Then also a Kano model based computer customer evaluation system can be obtained. Therefore, this numerical simulation method leads to know the understanding of customer for optimum product design.

4. CONCLUSION

Using this system a product development team can be identified whether or not a product attribute is Attractive, One-dimensional, Indifferent, and Reverse by the given probability of functional answer and dysfunctional answer of customer.

Mechanical Engineering Division

The Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh

Proceedings of the 13th Annual Paper Meet 25 September 2010, Dhaka

6

REFERENCES 1. Fujita K. and Matsuo T., 2006. Survey and Analysis of Utilization of Tools and Methods in Product Development. Transactions of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, Series C, 72(713),290-297 (In Japanese) 2. Xu Q., Jiao R.J., Yang X., Helander M., Khalid H.M and Opperud A., 2009. An analytical Kano Model for Customer Need Analysis. Design Studies,30(1), 87-110 3. Ullah, A.M.M.S. and Tamaki J., 2009. Uncertain Customer Needs Analysis for Product Development: A Kano Model Perspective. Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on Environmentally Conscious Design and Inverse Manufacturing, Sapporo, Japan 4. Ullah A.M.M.S. and Tamaki J., 2010, Analysis of Kano-Model-Based Customer Needs for Product Development, System Engineering, Accepted March 23, 2010, DOI:10.1002/sys.20168 (in print) 5. Kano N., Seraku N., Takahashi F. and Tsuji S., 1984. Attractive Quality and Must-Be Quality”, Hinshitsu,14(2),39-48 (In Japanese) 6. Rashid M. M., Ullah A.M.M.S., Tamaki J. and Kubo A., 2010. A Kano Model based Computer System for Respondents Determination: Customer Needs Analysis for Product Development Aspects. Management Science and Engineering, 4(4), published date :December 20,2010 (in print) 7. Rashid M. M., Ullah A.M.M.S., Tamaki J. and Kubo A., 2010. A Virtual Customer Needs System for Product Development. JSPE, Hokkaido Chapter Talk, Paper No.307, September 04, 2010 8. Berger C., Blauth R., Boger D., Bolster C., Burchill G., Du-Mouchel W., Pouliot F., Richter R., Rubinoff A., Shen D., Timko M. and Walden D., 1993. Kano's methods for Understanding Customer-defined quality. The Center for Quality Management Journal, 2 (4), 2-36 Appendix A: A Kano Model based Computer System

Mechanical Engineering Division

The Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh

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Customer needs is crucial for product development. There are many models for customer needs analysis. One of the well-known models is Kano Model. Kano model can be formulated customer needs for pro...

Customer needs is crucial for product development. There are many models for customer needs analysis. One of the well-known models is Kano Model. Kano model can be formulated customer needs for product development. Functional (FE) and dysfunctional (DE) forms answer of Kano Model , i.e. Like, Must-be, Neutral, Live-with and Dislike of a product attribute have been applied to choose the Kano evaluation (KE), i.e. Attractive (A), One-dimensional (O), Must-be (M), Indifferent (I), Reverse (R), and Questionable (Q). Questionnaires have filled and returned by individuals are essential for Kano model. Many questionnaires have not been returned in that case. Moreover, many possible consumers could not get opportunity for filled-up questionnaire. These uncertain or unknown consumers’ opinions are also essential for product development. Under these circumstances the discrete variables have been generated by the formula RAND () in Microsoft Office Excel and also applied Monte Carlo simulation methods. This paper is outline a numerical method for customer need evaluation regarding Kano model based

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