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CustomerFocusedDevelopmentwithQFD

Introduction
Qualitymustbedesignedintotheproduct,notinspectedintoit.Qualitycanbedefinedasmeetingcustomerneedsandprovidingsuperiorvalue.Thisfocuson
satisfyingthecustomersneedsplacesanemphasisontechniquessuchasQualityFunctionDeploymenttohelpunderstandthoseneedsandplanaproductto
providesuperiorvalue.

QualityFunctionDeployment(QFD)isastructuredapproachtodefiningcustomerneedsorrequirementsandtranslatingthemintospecificplanstoproduce
productstomeetthoseneeds.Thevoiceofthecustomeristhetermtodescribethesestatedandunstatedcustomerneedsorrequirements.Thevoiceofthe
customeriscapturedinavarietyofways:directdiscussionorinterviews,surveys,focusgroups,customerspecifications,observation,warrantydata,field
reports,etc.Thisunderstandingofthecustomerneedsisthensummarizedinaproductplanningmatrixorhouseofquality.Thesematricesareusedto
translatehigherlevelwhatsorneedsintolowerlevelhowsproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicstosatisfytheseneeds.

WhiletheQualityFunctionDeploymentmatricesareagoodcommunicationtoolateachstepintheprocess,thematricesarethemeansandnottheend.The
realvalueisintheprocessofcommunicatinganddecisionmakingwithQFD.QFDisorientedtowardinvolvingateamofpeoplerepresentingthevarious
functionaldepartmentsthathaveinvolvementinproductdevelopment:Marketing,DesignEngineering,QualityAssurance,Manufacturing/Manufacturing
Engineering,TestEngineering,Finance,ProductSupport,etc.

Theactiveinvolvementofthesedepartmentscanleadtobalancedconsiderationoftherequirementsorwhatsateachstageofthistranslationprocessand
provideamechanismtocommunicatehiddenknowledgeknowledgethatisknownbyoneindividualordepartmentbutmaynototherwisebecommunicated
throughtheorganization.Thestructureofthismethodologyhelpsdevelopmentpersonnelunderstandessentialrequirements,internalcapabilities,and
constraintsanddesigntheproductsothateverythingisinplacetoachievethedesiredoutcomeasatisfiedcustomer.QualityFunctionDeploymenthelps
developmentpersonnelmaintainacorrectfocusontruerequirementsandminimizesmisinterpretingcustomerneeds.Asaresult,QFDisaneffective
communicationsandaqualityplanningtool.

CapturingtheVoiceoftheCustomer
TheprocessofcapturingthevoiceofthecustomerisdescribedinthepapersonProductDefinition(http://www.npdsolutions.com/pdef.html)andStepsfor
PerformingQFD(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qfdsteps.html).Itisimportanttorememberthatthereisnoonemonolithicvoiceofthecustomer.Customer
voicesarediverse.Inconsumermarkets,thereareavarietyofdifferentneeds.Evenwithinonebuyingunit,therearemultiplecustomervoices(e.g.,children
versusparents).Thisappliestoindustrialandgovernmentmarketsaswell.Thereareevenmultiplecustomervoiceswithinasingleorganization:thevoiceof
theprocuringorganization,thevoiceoftheuser,andthevoiceofthesupportingormaintenanceorganization.Thesediversevoicesmustbeconsidered,
reconciledandbalancedtodevelopatrulysuccessfulproduct.Onetechniquetoaccomplishthisistousemultiplecolumnsfordifferentpriorityratings
associatedwitheachcustomervoiceintheproductplanningmatrix.

QualityFunctionDeploymentrequiresthatthebasiccustomerneedsareidentified.Frequently,customerswilltrytoexpresstheirneedsintermsofhowthe
needcanbesatisfiedandnotintermsofwhattheneedis.Thislimitsconsiderationofdevelopmentalternatives.Developmentandmarketingpersonnelshould
askwhyuntiltheytrulyunderstandwhattherootneedis.Breakdowngeneralrequirementsintomorespecificrequirementsbyprobingwhatisneeded.

Oncecustomerneedsaregathered,theythenhavetobeorganized.Themassofinterviewnotes,requirementsdocuments,marketresearch,andcustomer
dataneedstobedistilledintoahandfulofstatementsthatexpresskeycustomerneeds.Affinitydiagrammingisausefultooltoassistwiththiseffort.Brief
statementswhichcapturekeycustomerrequirementsaretranscribedontocards.Adatadictionarywhichdescribesthesestatementsofneedarepreparedto
avoidanymisinterpretation.Thesecardsareorganizedintologicalgroupingsorrelatedneeds.Thiswillmakeiteasiertoidentifyanyredundancyandservesas
abasisfororganizingthecustomerneedsforthefirstQFDmatrix.

Inadditiontostatedorspokencustomerneeds,unstatedorunspokenneedsoropportunitiesshouldbeidentified.Needsthatareassumedbycustomers
and,thereforenotverbalized,canbeidentifiedthroughpreparationofafunctiontree.TheseneedsnormallyarenotincludedintheQFDmatrix,unlessitis
importanttomaintainfocusononeormoreoftheseneeds.Excitementopportunities(newcapabilitiesorunspokenneedsthatwillcausecustomerexcitement)
areidentifiedthroughthevoiceoftheengineer,marketing,orcustomersupportrepresentative.Thesecanalsobeidentifiedbyobservingcustomersuseor
maintainproductsandrecognizingopportunitiesforimprovement.

QFDMethodologyFlow
ThebasicQualityFunctionDeploymentmethodologyinvolvesfourbasicphasesthatoccuroverthecourseoftheproductdevelopmentprocess.Duringeach
phaseoneormorematricesarepreparedtohelpplanandcommunicatecriticalproductandprocessplanninganddesigninformation.ThisQFDmethodology
flowisrepresentedbelow.

ProductPlanningUsingQFD
Oncecustomerneedsareidentified,preparationoftheproductplanningmatrixorhouseofqualitycanbegin.Thesequenceofpreparingtheproductplanning
matrixisasfollows:

1.Customerneedsorrequirementsarestatedontheleftsideofthematrixasshownbelow.Theseareorganizedbycategorybasedontheaffinity
diagrams.Insurethecustomerneedsorrequirementsreflectthedesiredmarketsegment(s).Addresstheunspokenneeds(assumedandexcitement
capabilities).Ifthenumberofneedsorrequirementsexceedstwentytothirtyitems,decomposethematrixintosmallermodulesorsubsystemstoreduce
thenumberofrequirementsinamatrix.Foreachneedorrequirement,statethecustomerprioritiesusinga1to5rating.Userankingtechniquesand
pairedcomparisonstodeveloppriorities.

2.Evaluatepriorgenerationproductsagainstcompetitiveproducts.Usesurveys,customermeetingsorfocusgroups/clinicstoobtainfeedback.Include
competitorscustomerstogetabalancedperspective.Identifypricepointsandmarketsegmentsforproductsunderevaluation.Identifywarranty,service,
reliability,andcustomercomplaintproblemstoidentifyareasofimprovement.Basedonthis,developaproductstrategy.Considerthecurrentstrengths
andweaknessesrelativetothecompetition?Howdothesestrengthsandweaknessescomparetothecustomerpriorities?Wheredoesthegapneedto
beclosedandhowcanthisbedonecopyingthecompetitionorusinganewapproachortechnology?Identifyopportunitiesforbreakthroughstoexceed
competitorscapabilities,areasforimprovementtoequalcompetitorscapabilities,andareaswherenoimprovementwillbemade.Thisstrategyis
importanttofocusdevelopmenteffortswheretheywillhavethegreatestpayoff.
3.Establishproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicstorespondtocustomerrequirementsandorganizeintorelatedcategories.Characteristics
shouldbemeaningful,measurable,andglobal.Characteristicsshouldbestatedinawaytoavoidimplyingaparticulartechnicalsolutionsoasnotto
constraindesigners.
4.Developrelationshipsbetweencustomerrequirementsandproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristics.Usesymbolsforstrong,mediumandweak
relationships.Besparingwiththestrongrelationshipsymbol.Haveallcustomerneedsorrequirementbeenaddressed?Arethereproductrequirements
ortechnicalcharacteristicsstatedthatdontrelatetocustomerneeds?
5.Developatechnicalevaluationofpriorgenerationproductsandcompetitiveproducts.Getaccesstocompetitiveproductstoperformproductortechnical
benchmarking.Performthisevaluationbasedonthedefinedproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristics.Obtainotherrelevantdatasuchas
warrantyorservicerepairoccurrencesandcostsandconsiderthisdatainthetechnicalevaluation.
6.Developpreliminarytargetvaluesforproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristics.
7.Determinepotentialpositiveandnegativeinteractionsbetweenproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicsusingsymbolsforstrongormedium,
positiveornegativerelationships.Toomanypositiveinteractionssuggestpotentialredundancyinthecriticalfewproductrequirementsortechnical
characteristics.Focusonnegativeinteractionsconsiderproductconceptsortechnologytoovercomethesepotentialtradeoffsorconsiderthetradeoffs
inestablishingtargetvalues.
8.Calculateimportanceratings.Assignaweightingfactortorelationshipsymbols(931,421,or531).Multiplythecustomerimportanceratingbythe
weightingfactorineachboxofthematrixandaddtheresultingproductsineachcolumn.
9.Developadifficultyrating(1to5pointscale,fivebeingverydifficultandrisky)foreachproductrequirementortechnicalcharacteristic.Consider
technologymaturity,personneltechnicalqualifications,businessrisk,manufacturingcapability,supplier/subcontractorcapability,cost,andschedule.Avoid
toomanydifficult/highriskitemsasthiswilllikelydelaydevelopmentandexceedbudgets.Assesswhetherthedifficultitemscanbeaccomplishedwithin
theprojectbudgetandschedule.
10.Analyzethematrixandfinalizetheproductdevelopmentstrategyandproductplans.Determinerequiredactionsandareasoffocus.Finalizetarget
values.Aretargetvaluesproperlysettoreflectappropriatetradeoffs?Dotargetvaluesneedtobeadjustedconsideringthedifficultyrating?Arethey
realisticwithrespecttothepricepoints,availabletechnology,andthedifficultyrating?Aretheyreasonablewithrespecttotheimportanceratings?
DetermineitemsforfurtherQFDdeployment.Tomaintainfocusonthecriticalfew,lesssignificantitemsmaybeignoredwiththesubsequentQFD
matrices.Maintaintheproductplanningmatrixascustomerrequirementsorconditionschange.

OneoftheguidelinesforsuccessfulQFDmatricesistokeeptheamountofinformationineachmatrixatamanageablelevel.Withamorecomplexproduct,if
onehundredpotentialneedsorrequirementswereidentified,andtheseweretranslatedintoanequalorevengreaternumberofproductrequirementsor
technicalcharacteristics,therewouldbemorethan10,000potentialrelationshipstoplanandmanage.Thisbecomesanimpossiblenumbertocomprehendand
manage.Itissuggestedthatanindividualmatrixnotaddressmorethantwentyorthirtyitemsoneachdimensionofthematrix.Therefore,alarger,more
complexproductshouldhaveitscustomersneedsdecomposedintohierarchicallevels.

Tosummarizetheinitialprocess,aproductplanisdevelopedbasedoninitialmarketresearchorrequirementsdefinition.Ifnecessary,feasibilitystudiesor
researchanddevelopmentareundertakentodeterminethefeasibilityoftheproductconcept.Productrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicsaredefined
throughthematrix,abusinessjustificationispreparedandapproved,andproductdesignthencommences.

ConceptSelectionandProductDesign
Onceproductplanningiscomplete,amorecompletespecificationmaybeprepared.Theproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicsandtheproduct
specificationserveasthebasisfordevelopingproductconcepts.Productbenchmarking,brainstorming,andresearchanddevelopmentaresourcesfornew
productconcepts.Onceconceptsaredeveloped,theyareanalyzedandevaluated.Coststudiesandtradestudiesareperformed.Theconceptselectionmatrix
canbeusedtohelpwiththisevaluationprocess.Theconceptselectionmatrixshownbelowliststheproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicsdownthe
leftsideofthematrix.
Theseserveasevaluationcriteria.Theimportanceratingandtargetvalues(notshown)arealsocarriedforwardandnormalizedfromtheproductplanning
matrix.Productconceptsarelistedacrossthetop.Thevariousproductconceptsareevaluatedonhowwelltheysatisfyeachcriteriaintheleftcolumnusingthe
QFDsymbolsforstrong,moderateorweak.Iftheproductconceptdoesnotsatisfythecriteria,thecolumnisleftblank.

Thesymbolornumericweights(531)aremultipliedbytheimportanceratingforeachcriteria.Theseweightedfactorsarethenaddedforeachcolumn.The
preferredconceptwillhavethehighesttotal.Thisconceptselectiontechniqueisalsoadesignsynthesistechnique.Foreachblankorweaksymbolorlowrating
inthepreferredconceptscolumn,otherconceptapproacheswithstrongormoderatesymbolsforthatcriteriaarereviewedtoseeifanewapproachcanbe
synthesizedbyborrowingpartofanotherconceptapproachtoimproveonthepreferredapproach.

Basedonthisandotherevaluationsteps,aproductconceptisselected.Theproductconceptisrepresentedwithblockdiagramsoradesignlayout.Critical
subsystems,modulesorpartsareidentifiedfromthelayout.Criticalityisdeterminedintermsofeffectonperformance,reliability,andquality.Techniquessuch
asfaulttreeanalysisorfailuremodesandeffectsanalysis(FMEA)canbeusedtodeterminecriticalityfromareliabilityorqualityperspective.

Thesubsystem,assembly,orpartdeploymentmatrixisthenprepared.Theprocessleadinguptothepreparationofthedeploymentmatrixisdepictedbelow.

Theproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicsdefinedintheproductplanningmatrixbecomethewhatsthatarelisteddowntheleftsideofthe
deploymentmatrixalongwithpriorities(basedontheproductplanningmatriximportanceratings)andtargetvalues.Thedeploymentmatrixispreparedina
mannerverysimilartotheproductplanningmatrix.Theseproductrequirementsortechnicalcharacteristicsaretranslatedintocriticalsubsystem,assemblyor
partcharacteristics.Thistranslationconsiderscriticalityofthesubsystem,assemblyorpartsaswellastheircharacteristicsfromaperformanceperspectiveto
complementconsiderationofcriticalityfromaqualityandreliabilityperspective.Relationshipsareestablishedbetweenproductrequirementsortechnical
characteristicsandthecriticalsubsystem,assemblyorpartcharacteristics.Importanceratingsarecalculatedandtargetvaluesforeachcriticalsubsystem,
assemblyorpartcharacteristicareestablished.Anexampleofapart/assemblyeploymentmatrixisshown:

ProcessDesign
QualityFunctionDeploymentcontinuesthistranslationandplanningintotheprocessdesignphase.Aconceptselectionmatrixcanbeusedtoevaluatedifferent
manufacturingprocessapproachesandselectthepreferredapproach.Basedonthis,theprocessplanningmatrixshownbelowisprepared.

Again,thehowsfromthehigherlevelmatrix(inthiscasethecriticalsubsystem,assemblyorpartcharacteristics)becomethewhatswhichareusedtoplan
theprocessforfabricatingandassemblingtheproduct.Importantprocessesandtoolingrequirementscanbeidentifiedtofocuseffortstocontrol,improveand
upgradeprocessesandequipment.Atthisstage,communicationbetweenEngineeringandManufacturingisemphasizedandtradeoffscanbemadeas
appropriatetoachievemutualgoalsbasedonthecustomerneeds.
Inadditiontoplanningmanufacturingprocesses,moredetailedplanningrelatedtoprocesscontrol,qualitycontrol,setup,equipmentmaintenanceandtesting
canbesupportedbyadditionalmatrices.Thefollowingprovidesanexampleofaprocess/qualitycontrolmatrix.

Theprocessstepsdevelopedintheprocessplanningmatrixareusedasthebasisforplanninganddefiningspecificprocessandqualitycontrolstepsinthis
matrix.

TheresultofthisplanninganddecisionmakingisthatManufacturingfocusesonthecriticalprocesses,dimensionsandcharacteristicsthatwillhaveasignificant
effectonproducingaproductthatmeetscustomersneeds.Thereisacleartrailfromcustomerneedstothedesignandmanufacturingdecisionstosatisfythose
customerneeds.Disagreementsoverwhatisimportantateachstageofthedevelopmentprocessshouldbeminimized,andtherewillbegreaterfocusonthe
criticalfewitemsthataffectthesuccessoftheproduct.

QFDProcess
QualityFunctionDeploymentbeginswithproductplanningcontinueswithproductdesignandprocessdesignandfinisheswithprocesscontrol,qualitycontrol,
testing,equipmentmaintenance,andtraining.Asaresult,thisprocessrequiresmultiplefunctionaldisciplinestoadequatelyaddressthisrangeofactivities.QFD
issynergisticwithmultifunctionproductdevelopmentteams.Itcanprovideastructuredprocessfortheseteamstobegincommunicating,makingdecisionsand
planningtheproduct.Itisausefulmethodology,alongwithproductdevelopmentteams,tosupportaconcurrentengineeringorintegratedproductdevelopment
approach.

QualityFunctionDeployment,byitsverystructureandplanningapproach,requiresthatmoretimebespentupfrontinthedevelopmentprocessmakingsure
thattheteamdetermines,understandsandagreeswithwhatneedstobedonebeforeplungingintodesignactivities.Asaresult,lesstimewillbespent
downstreambecauseofdifferencesofopinionoverdesignissuesorredesignbecausetheproductwasnotontarget.Itleadstoconsensusdecisions,greater
commitmenttothedevelopmenteffort,bettercoordination,andreducedtimeoverthecourseofthedevelopmenteffort.

QFDrequiresdiscipline.Itisnotnecessarilyeasytogetstartedwith.ThefollowingisalistofrecommendationstofacilitateinitiallyusingQFD.

ObtainmanagementcommitmenttouseQFD.
EstablishclearobjectivesandscopeofQFDuse.Avoidfirstusingitonalarge,complexprojectifpossible.Willitbeusedfortheoverallproductorapplied
toasubsystem,module,assemblyorcriticalpart?WillthecompleteQFDmethodologybeusedorwillonlytheproductplanningmatrixbecompleted?
Establishmultifunctionalteam.Getanadequatetimecommitmentfromteammembers.
ObtainQFDtrainingwithpracticalhandsonexercisestolearnthemethodologyanduseafacilitatortoguidetheinitialefforts.
Scheduleregularmeetingstomaintainfocusandavoidthecrushofthedevelopmentscheduleovershadowingeffectiveplanninganddecisionmaking.
Avoidgatheringperfectdata.Manytimessignificantcustomerinsightsanddataexistwithintheorganization,buttheyareintheformofhiddenknowledge
notcommunicatedtopeoplewiththeneedforthisinformation.Ontheotherhand,itmaybenecessarytospendadditionaltimegatheringthevoiceofthe
customerbeforebeginningQFD.Avoidtechnicalarroganceandthebeliefthatcompanypersonnelknowmorethanthecustomer.

QualityFunctionDeploymentisanextremelyusefulmethodologytofacilitatecommunication,planning,anddecisionmakingwithinaproductdevelopmentteam.
Itisnotapaperworkexerciseoradditionaldocumentationthatmustbecompletedinordertoproceedtothenextdevelopmentmilestone.Itnotonlybringsthe
newproductclosertotheintendedtarget,butreducesdevelopmentcycletimeandcostintheprocess.

Forfurtherinformation,contactKennethCrowatDRMAssociates
Phone+13103775569
Email:k.crow@npdsolutions(mailto:k.crow@npdsolutions.com)

RelatedLinks
PerformingQFDStepbyStep(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qfdsteps.html)
QualityFunctionDeployment:What,Why&How(http://www.npdsolutions.com/whyqfd.html)
QFD&TargetCostingCaseStudy(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qrtncasestudy.html)
QFDProductPlanningMatrixRefrigerator(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qfdproductplanningmatrixexample12.html)
QFDProductPlanningMatrixQRTN(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qrtnppm.html)
QFDProductPlanningMatrixComputerServer(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qfdproductplanningmatrixexample1.html)
QFDProductPlanningMatrixAuxiliaryPowerUnit(http://www.npdsolutions.com/apuppm.html)
QualityFunctionDeploymentConsultingandTraining(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qfdcons.html)
QualityFunctionDeployment(QFD)Workshop(http://www.npdsolutions.com/featuredworkshops/qfdws)
QualityFunctionDeployment(QFD)SoftwareandInstructions(http://www.npdsolutions.com/qfdsw.html)

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