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Quality Function Deployment ( QFD )

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Quality Function Deployment ( QFD )

Business is usually started because their founders recognize a customer need and believe that they can satisfy it better than other companies. At the time of fresh start, the product may be unique to the industry and have competitive advantages.

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QFD

No matter how effectively a company meets the initial needs of the customers, it must remain constantly alert and responsive to the changing needs of the customers. Because if the company is not responsive to these changing needs, the passage of time will erode the early competitive advantages.

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QFD

QFD is a scientific technique for translating the voice of the customer into development of products and services. It is a complete product planning process as opposed to problem solving and analysis. The technique was invented by Akashi Fukuhara of Japan and first applied with very good results at Toyota.

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Components of QFD Matrix

Technical requirements

Customer requirements

Relating customer Customer requirements to competitive technical requirements assessment

Competitive technical assessment

Operational goals

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Step 1 : List customer requirements and rank
Importance
Customer Requirements Very Important on 10 point scale

Moderately Important

Slightly important

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Step 2 : List technical requirements to meet customer requirements

Technical Requirements

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Step 3 : Comparing product with the nearest competitor
Customer competitive evaluation on 5 point scale( 5 high , 1 low ) 1 2 3 4 5 Action

Customer Requirements

Rank

Competitor product

Our product

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Step 4 : Establish relationship between customer requirement and technical requirements

Strong relation Moderate relation

Weak relation
Rank

Customer Requirements

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QFD Matrix overview after step 4

Competitive evaluation

Rank Customer Requirements

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Step 5 : Do competitive technical Assessment

Competitive evaluation

Rank Customer Requirements

Competitive Technical Assessment

5 4 3 2 1

Competitor assessment Our assessment

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Step 6 : Mention operational targets or action points

Competitive evaluation
Rank

Customer Requirements

Competitive Technical Assessment

Operational Targets

New Product

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QFD - Customers Voice

The whole process of the QFD can be linked to GIGO ( Garbage in garbage out ). This is because, if the voice of the customer has not been captured properly, the final product will also not be the one actually desired by the market place. It is therefore extremely important to capture the correct voice of the customer before taking any other step in the QFD planning process. We will explain this by the forthcoming example of new car development.

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New car development

A product development team wants to determine what the customers want in a new car. After interviewing about 120 car drivers, the team came out with the following chart of the customer requirements :

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Desired product attributes in a new car
Requirement
• • • • • • • Easy to drive Quiet riding , no squeaks or rattles Excellently finished Smooth riding even on rough road Excellent gas mileage Aerodynamic design Hugs the road

Rank
5 4.8 4.6 4.5 3.9 3.8 3.7


• • • • • • • •

Free from breakdowns
Fast acceleration Virtually maintenance free Durable - will last 150000 miles Protects the driver and passenger in case of accident Classic styling Has instruments to read critical functions Has many electronic devises Has convertible roof

3.6
3.5 3.4 3.3 3.2 3 2.2 2 1.4

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Translating into technical requirements

The product development team is all set to translate the requirements of the customer into technical requirements as per the QFD matrix. Fallacy : The survey is based on aggregate data management and its basic assumption is that there is one best answer for every one.

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Classification of needs
The product development team is asked by the CEO to classify the needs of various drivers and then give it a rating instead of proceeding simply with the aggregate data management. After the market survey the product development team divided the customer into two broad categories :1. The performance driver and 2. The practical driver The team then came with the following findings -

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Two different profiles of desired product attributes
Performance driver
•Fast acceleration •Aerodynamic design •Hugs the road

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5

Practical driver
•Excellent gas mileage •Virtually maintenance free •Free from breakdowns

4
•Easy to drive •Excellently finished •Quiet riding •Classic styling •Smooth riding

•Easy to drive •Durable •Quiet riding •Smooth ride •Protects driver •Excellently finished

3

•Free from breakdowns •Excellent gas mileage •Protects drivers •Durable •Many electronic devices •Convertible roof •Virtually maintenance free

2

•Many electronic devises •Aerodynamic design •Hugs the road •Instruments to read functions •Classic styling •Convertible roof •Fast acceleration

1

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New Car

The classification of the customer requirements clearly reveals that the attribute which is most important for the performance driver, is least important for the practical driver and vice versa. A simple listing of the customer requirements would have definitely ended up in the development of incorrect product for the market. Reading the voice of the customer is therefore the most critical and challenging aspect of the whole QFD process.

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QFD - Conclusion

It is therefore very important that your organization is constantly looking for the living customers instead of mythological ones created by aggregate data management. Once the voice of the customer has been properly captured, translating them into technical requirements should not be much of a difficulty.