The origin of QFD...



QFD is an important methodology for any Product Manager. QFD is one the most powerful methods to help capture user requirements. Used within a multi-disciplinary team environment you are almost guaranteed to produce products that create demand.


QFD originated in the 1960's at the Mitsubishi Kobe shipyards in Japan. Initially it was a process which involved 'Quality Tables' and was used successfully in the requirements capture of components that make up supertankers. The concept of Quality Function Deployment was an evolutionary move from 'Quality Tables' by Dr Yoji Akao who pioneered the process. The first article on QFD appeared in 1972 entitled "Development & Quality Assurance of New Products: A System of Quality Deployment" in the monthly magazine 'Standardisation and Quality Control'. In 1978 the process was published as a paperback entitled 'QFD: An approach to Total Quality Control'. QFD was formally introduced to the United States in 1983 by Furukawa, Kogure and Akao during a four-day seminar to Quality Assurance Managers. In 1984 Ford USA was introduced to the QFD process - One year later a project was set up with Ford body and assembly and its suppliers. In 1987 The Budd Company and Kelsey-Hayes, both Ford suppliers developed the first case study on QFD outside Japan. In parallel with this Bob King published his book (1987) entitled 'Better designs in half the time: Implementing QFD in America'. Soon after John Hauser and Don Clausing published their article "The House of Quality" in the Harvard Business Review. This article was the catalyst that sparked the real interest in QFD - and because QFD is a non proprietary process, it soon became used in ever widening circles with many followers across the globe.




What is Quality Function Deployment?



'QFD is a methodology used for structured product planning and development - it enables the product development team to clearly specify the customer's needs and wants against how it is to be achieved. Each proposed feature is then systematically evaluated in terms of its impact within the overall product design.'


Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) is a method that promotes structured product planning and development - enabling the product development team to clearly specify and evaluate the customers needs and wants against how it could measured (CTQ) and then achieved in the form of a solution.


The methodology takes the design team through the concept, creation and realisation phases of a new product with absolute focus. QFD also helps define what the end user is really looking for in the way of market driven features and benefits - it lists customer requirements, i n the language of the Customer and helps you translate these requirements into appropriate new product characteristics. QFD - a powerful tool with a misleading title...


The word 'Quality' in QFD has led to much confusion and sadly has not helped to promote the methodology to the level it deserves. As a result Organisations usually get introduced to QFD via their own quality departments. Whilst Quality professionals have a role in the process of QFD, Marketing, Development and Manufacturing play a much more vital role. The House of Quality...


The QFD process involves constructing one or more matrices - the first of which is entitled 'The House of Quality'. The matrix displays Customers needs and wants (What the Customer wants) against the proposed technical solution (How do we achieve it). Customer weightings are applied to prioritise the most important features and a relationship matrix is used to evaluate interdependencies between the 'whats' and the 'Hows'. Any technical interdependencies are further evaluated by the correlation matrix above the 'Hows'. The results of the relationship matrix, in turn, highlight the most important elements of the new product. In addition to this competitor information can then evaluated for both the customer 'Wants' and technical features.


In addition to the 'House of Quality' further matrices can be produced throughout the design process. The house of quality is turned into a street of quality in which the outputs from one QFD process become the input of another. This provides a process where market requirements are systematically and rigorously steered from product definition through development and into manufacturing...Summary


The use of QFD can help you identify design objectives that reflect the needs of real Customers. Identifying design objectives from a customers point of view ensures that customers interests and values is created in the phases of the product innovation process. It can also promote an evolutionary approach to product innovation by carefully evaluating from both market and customer perspectives, the performance of preceding products.




QFD Primary Objectives






QFD Promotes the Following Benefits






Focus on the Customer



Many new products fail because of lack of customer focus. QFD helps the organisation focus on genuine customer requirements. It also provides the customer with a route into the development process. QFD forces you to utilise innovation effort at real customers instead of second guessing their requirements.




Reduce Time to Market...



QFD is a highly structured process with all product features being evaluated for their net benefit to the customer. The process by default ensures that all technical features are evaluated pragmatically such that only technical features included within the proposed new product are evaluated. Reduced Cost...


QFD supports the identification of the product characteristics that customers rate as less important. High performances with respect to these characteristics, when compared to those of competing products, provide opportunities for cost reduction.





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