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    Hello All,
    I am looking for some examples/case studies to introduce QFD tool in Pharmaceutical R&D to develop new products. Could someone please guide me on how to use this tool and what kind of benefits we can see.
    Thanks for your help in advance.



    Hmmm, the BB in your name must stand for something besides Black Belt.To start – who are your customers?  Identify all internal/external customers first.



    QFD is basically a means of getting the requirements of the
    customer into the design of a product or service. It can be quite
    technical, as when developing an automobile, or simpler, when
    getting the voice of the customer into the design of a service.
    Hence, the important thing is to get the “voice of the customer”
    and then design a suitable product with everyone involved in the
    design, delivery, and marketing of the product.
    If you have further questions, you can find how to contact me at


    Michael Schlueter

    Hello PharmBB,
    QFD in its best implementation is a structured way to capture the voice of the customer and to deploy his/her voice downstream: into product concept, into production requirements, into sales effort etc. In principle everybody can trace back why requirements are the way they are and how they contribute to customers satisfaction.
    This is a rather complex process, which requires discipline – and cleverness. Matrices are used to visualize all these complex relationships, which is good. However, people tend to overkill this tool by entering too many rows and columns. So as a general rule: you need to focus.
    The first matrix (WHAT vs. HOW-MUCH) has become a synonym for QFD; however, it’s just the entry point into this process. The information summarized here is the most important one, in my view. Because the matrix often looks like a house with a roof it’s called the “House of Quality” (HOQ).
    To start the HOQ you need an interdisciplinary small team: the customer (don’t do without !) and some in-house people. The latter ones should be open minded and be able to put aside any attempt to come up with solutions (the same holds for the customer). The HOQ is about listening to the customer. It’s not about solutions.
    Within the HOQ you need to do benchmarking. It’s a way to express importance and it’s a way to look at other companies solutions.
    The WHAT-rows shall capture the Voice of the Customer: WHAT do I, the customer, want? Here you need to be careful, if you want meaningful results. If it’s a clear story from the beginning, you shouldn’t even start a QFD process.
    E.g. if your customer wants molecule SUPER in your product, just do it. The trap here is that it is already a concrete solution. QFD works best if you can understand the value of molecule SUPER for your customer. After all, this concrete solution may turn out to be just what he or she can imagine – including what he/she can not imagine. Maybe later it turns out that molecule IDEAL will give a much better win-win result?
    And why can it? Because your customer has laid out in his/her mind a path how SUPER creates value for him/her (the real WHAT). This BTW is important information to work out in such a session. With focus on value (WHAT) later in the concept stage QFD input may lead to design of molecule IDEAL, which costs just half as SUPER, has less side effects, and will be easier to pass tests.
    (The term for this is “retarded decision making”, lent from lateral thinking.)
    Now, once you boiled down the real WHATs to, say, no more than 5 or 10 entry rows in the WHAT columns it’s time for benchmarking the WHATs. Let your customer compare your existing product (if it’s available) with competing products. Let him/her rate where you stand in terms of WHAT with respect to your competitors. Please note: don’t let your marketing people do this. And finaly: let your customer rate the importance of each WHAT for him/her.
    That was the first round. Now let’s have a look at the HOWs, the columns. It’s a similar process. To my taste the term HOW is misleading, as some people will interprete it as a question about concepts and solutions: “how shall we do it?” That’s not what you are after here.
    Instead, we’d like to know HOW-MUCH of each WHAT. It’s about metrics and figures/numbers. The idea behind is: your customer has expressed the requirements; one day you will present him/her a product (and may be your competitors will do the same); how does your customer recognize it’s the right product? – Answer: by evaluating your product in several metrics. By numbers. “No, that’s too light. Yes, good time schedule.” Etc.
    So come up with a unique metrics HOW-MUCH for each and every WHAT. You may find more than 1. Next look at the intersections of the rows and columns, the WHATs and HOW-MUCHs, and depict relationships: normal, strong, weak, none. Don’t care if values grow or shrink. Just depict the degree of involvement of each HOW-MUCH with each WHAT.
    When finished repeat benchmarking for the HOW-MUCHs. From the discussion, from looking at all combinations, from assessing the as-is situation you’ll obtain a very clear understanding of what your customer wants and values.
    And then go, deploy downstream. You’ve got meaning in your hands.
    You may want to depict synergies and conflicts amongst the HOW-MUCHs. This is where the roof comes in. It may be helpful; that depends.
    However, participants of QFD sessions valued most the structured exchange of information, because questions are raised automatically, nobody ever did before.
    Hope this helps. If you want to involve me further, just reply to this post. Thank you. Michael Schlueter

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