To achieve success, organizations need to provide a quality product that satisfies the customers. This may sound simple but determining exactly how to do that can be difficult. Quality function deployment is an essential tool for changing the manufacturing system to produce products that meets the customer’s satisfaction. Although originally introduced in the automotive industry, a variety of services utilize the tool for consumer products and military needs.
QFD, a method developed in Japan during the 1960s, is a structured approach that works to define the customer’s needs and requirements and integrating that into the production system to ensure products are meeting those needs. One way to do this is by using the Kano model which will help to consider the Voice of the Customer and determine what a customer expects from the product, what will satisfy their needs and wants, and classify their preferences by quality. Feedback from customers should be collected through surveys or interviews, and customer complaints should also be taken into consideration.
Using the House of Quality is critical for quality function deployment. It will help to prioritize customers’ desires and rate the importance of attributes and qualities for the product. The next step is to identify engineering characteristics that can be relevant to those desires. Using the matrix of House of Quality, QFD then deploys appropriate organizational functions for actions. These are actions that will change the manufacturing system to produce quality products that will keep the customer satisfied. It is important to evaluate the difficulty and risk factor for each product requirement or technical characteristic. When choosing what changes to implement, a manager will want to limit how many high risk items to take on, as it can greatly delay the manufacturing process or cause bigger problems.
Any system, big or small, involved in the designing and manufacturing of a product can benefit from QFD. Even changing a seemingly small component in the manufacturing process can make a big impact on how well the customer’s needs are met.