Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

The quality function deployment (QFD) is basically a means of converting customer needs (known as the voice of the customer [VOC]) into engineering characteristics for a service or a product. With the help of it, you can create operational definitions for the requirements.These definitions may sound vague at the first instance. All the product and service characteristics are prioritized using it and development targets are set.QFD was originally developed by Yoji Akao in Japan in 1966.It aims to transform qualitative user demands into quantitative parameters. This ensures greater quality standards in the process of designing and manufacturing the product or service.

Planners can easily focus on the various characteristics of new and existing products. These characteristics are from the viewpoints of the company, technology development needs or market segments.QFD is been applied in a variety of different services, military needs, emerging new products and consumer products. Following are some of the tools and techniques based on QFD.

• House of Quality: In this, there exists a flash tutorial to show the build process of the traditional QFD “House of Quality” (HOQ).Moreover, there are also a number of different and free QFD templates available. These templates guide users through the process of creating a House of Quality.

• Pugh concept selection: It is used in coordination with the QFD and aids you in choosing the best and promising product or service configuration from a list of various options.

• Modular function deployment: This technique uses the QFD for establishing customer requirements and identifying significant design requirements with emphasis on modularity. There three major differences when using QFD with this tool as compared to House of Quality. In this, there is almost no benchmarking data. All the checkboxes and crosses have been replaced with circles. Thirdly, there is no triangular roof as it missing too.

The QFT is also related to other techniques including Hoshin Kanri. The Hoshin Kanri technique came before QFD. Now both are used to document the needs and objectives of an organization.
Therefore, using the QFD you gauge the Voce of the customer (VOC).This term describes the process of capturing customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions in greater depth. The VOC is a great tool in doing good market research as gives you a detailed set of customer wants and needs. All this is organized into a hierarchical structure. After the data is organized it is prioritized in terms of relative importance and satisfaction compared to current alternatives. Thus, you can then choose the one with greater priority.

Moreover, the VOC involves both quantitative and qualitative research steps. You can gather the required information from many ways including contextual inquiry, ethnographic techniques focus groups, individual interviews etc. To get the best accurate information you will need to make sure to get the detailed interviews from customers. This will help you gauge information about their experience of using current, previous and alternative products or services. All the staff of product development will be involved in this. Companies and business organizations thus to employ QFD with VOC for delivering best products and services to customers.