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Quality Function Deployment

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a systematic process for motivating a business to focus on its customers. It is used by cross-functional teams to identify and resolve issues involved in providing products, processes, services and strategies which will more than satisfy their customers. A prerequisite to QFD is Market Research. This is the process of understanding what the customer wants, how important these benefits are, and how well different providers of products that address these benefits are perceived to perform. This is a prerequisite to QFD because it is impossible to consistently provide products which will attract customers unless you have a very good understanding of what they want.

When completed it resembles a house structure and is often referred to as House of Quality. The House is divided into several rooms. Typically you have customer requirements, design considerations and design alternatives in a 3 dimensional matrix to which you can assign weighted scores based on market research information collected.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a methodology for taking the Voice of the Customer and using that information to drive aspects of product development.

Cross functional teams participate in the process that consists of matrices that analyze data sets accoring to the objective of the QFD process. A typical QFD process involves a four phase approach. This approach has been made popular by the American Supplies Institute.

QFD is not just the House of Quality–matrix 1. It involves much more and matrices that are connected together using priority ratings from the previous matrix.

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a structured approach to defining customer needs or requirements and translating them into specific plans to produce products to meet those needs. The “voice of the customer” is the term to describe these stated and unstated customer needs or requirements. The voice of the customer is captured in a variety of ways: direct discussion or interviews, surveys, focus groups, customer specifications, observation, warranty data, field reports, etc. This understanding of the customer needs is then summarized in a product planning matrix or “house of quality”. These matrices are used to translate higher level “whats” or needs into lower level “hows” – product requirements or technical characteristics to satisfy these needs.

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