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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and House of Quality

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  • Dr Yoji Akao of Japan developed quality function deployment (QFD) in 1966.
  • House of quality is a subset of QFD.
  • House of quality (a subset of QFD) was adopted by Mitsubishi’s Kobe Shipyards in 1972 for design of an oil tanker and it was adopted by Toyota in 1978 and many other Japanese companies soon after.
  • QFD was first introduced in USA and Europe in 1983.
  • QFD and house of quality have been in use now by large number of companies in USA including General Motors, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Digital Equipment, Omark Industries, Hewlett-Packard and Chrysler and also by the companies in other countries.

What Is QFD?

  • Organizations cannot just assume that they know what customers want in terms of products and services from them.
  • Quality-conscious companies wish to know as to how to determine what really matters to customers. Also read at: (TQM) and (Six Sigma)
  • Having known what matters to the customers, they wish to know as to how to translate what matters into requirements that are meaningful to and can be acted upon by their design and manufacturing functions.
  • QFD is a planning, communication and documentation technique that resolves these two wishes of the organizations.
  • QFD can be defined as a structured process for translating customer requirements into specific products or services and for determining the processes/systems to produce those products or services.
  • In QFD process, the voice of the customers (VOC) is first understood and defined as customer requirements. These requirements are then integrated throughout the design and manufacturing stages. It makes the resulting product meet customer requirements with lower costs and less lead times/cycle time as compared with traditional product development and manufacturing methods.

QFD Process

  • Organizations should adopt a customer-oriented philosophy. Also read at: (Customer Orientation).
  • Organizations should also adopt cross-functional teamwork orientation.
  • Each internal function should treat the next function as its (internal) customer.
  • Draw a planning matrix (called house of quality) to convert customer or market needs to high-level internal technical design requirements.
  • Draw a matrix to convert technical requirements into characteristics of key parts of the product.
  • Draw a matrix to convert characteristics of key parts into the process to manufacture these parts.
  • Draw a matrix to convert characteristics of the manufacturing process into detailed production procedures and control methods.
  • These matrices show clearly and concisely the data/information needed to make decisions about product definition, design, production and delivery.
  • These matrices facilitate increased attention to details and improved communication among members of cross functional teams everywhere.

House of Quality

  • As mentioned earlier, house of quality is only a part of the entire QFD process. It is the first of the QFD matrices.
  • House of quality graphically articulates the means by which it will achieve customer requirements.
  • When fully constructed, house of quality takes shape of a roofed house and that's why the name- house of quality.
  • It relates customer or market needs to high-level internal technical design requirements using a planning matrix.
  • Major factors that are required to construct the house of quality are:
    - Customers' requirements.
    - Measurable characteristics of customers' requirements.
    - Relationship between customers' requirements and their measurable characteristics as high, medium or low.
    - Understanding of how the organization compares with it's competitors (from the customers' angle).
    - Competitive benchmarking.
    - Measurement targets that will meet customers' requirements.
  • Positioning of this information in the pictorial presentation is as given below: Listed on the left side of the matrix is what the customer needs or requires.
    Listed on the top of the matrix are the design attributes or technical requirements of the product: these are how the product can meet customer requirements.
    Shown in additional sections on the top, right and bottom sides are correlation among the requirements, comparisons to competitors, technical assessments and target values.

Some More Aspects of QFD

  • QFD process strengthens cross-functional involvement in product development, marketing, engineering, and manufacturing while maintaining focus on customers' needs.
  • Thus, QFD minimizes deviations between customer needs and what the final product delivers.
  • QFD is applicable not only for new-product development, but for improvement of existing products, services, and processes.
  • In fact, it may prove to be more effective on existing products and services than on the new ones because customers have already got and experienced the actual existing product instead of just a concept that has yet to be translated into an actual product/services.
  • QFD process seems to take longer to come out with an initial design. Yet, the time to produce the final design is less because the process improves communication and decision making, which results in less redesign and fewer engineering changes after the product goes into manufacturing and to customers.
  • In effect, QFD can be seen as quality policy deployment process.

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