QFD Tool For Customer-Focussed Development
What is QFD?
Quality function deployment (QFD) is a LEAN technique that is useful for Six Sigma Black Belt practitioners. It is a valuable quality tool that helps in designing products or processes based on customer requirements. QFD can determine and organize customer needs and translate them into technical product design. Once the customer expectations are determined, the tool can link the ‘voice of the customers’ to the internal processes. It is not just a quality tool, but also a powerful planning tool.
“Quality Function Deployment is a technique of conveying and planning the customer requirements into the quality and design characteristics of products or processes for reaching customer satisfaction.” – Kaveri Pathak, Quality Control Manager.
Benefits of QFD
Every company has customers – internal, external or both. When you have to determine how to satisfy your customers, quality function deployment serves as crucial tool. QFD is a customer-driven methodology for effectively identifying and gathering and customer requirements and then addressing those demands. The 6 benefits of deploying this tool are:
Benefit#1: Quality Function Deployment is a process for designing and planning customer-focussed products or services.
Benefit#2: QFD is a system that methodically translates customer needs into design specifications.
Benefit#3: It can prioritize specifications and make decisions according to customer requirements.
Benefit#4: QFD allows various departements within a company to particitpate in the design and planning process.
Benefit#5: It is good quality function tool that reduces product development time and cuts time to market.
Benefit#6: The tool can be used to document the entire decision-making process.“QFD reduces the design changes and curbs start-up and manufacturing costs. It reduces rework, saves times and improves quality.” – Suman Nag, Six Sigma Practitioner.
How to use?
The QFD template is also called as the “the house of quality” matrix that serves as a graphical representation of the planning process for designing a flawless product. The template is based on a structured approach that applies planning and management tools to listen to and prioritize customer expectations effectively. The design engineers usually start with planning and follow 4 steps to gain a better understanding of the process quality and control. The steps are as follows:
Step#1: Product Planning
The practitioners identify characteristics that meet customer needs. They analyze business opportunities and determine critical target using QFD tool.
Step#2: Component Deployment The critical components and assembly elements are identified using the prioritized design characteristics and target values are established.
Step#3: Process Planning At this point, crucial process requirements and components are determined using the prioritized elements and crucial process parameters are established.
Step#4: Quality Control The practitioners can prioritize the process control parameters and techniques and establish production methods that support the process elements prioroitized earlier. Each step in the four-step approach is related to the previous step. Once completed, Six Sigma practitioners can apply the information gained to design better products or processes that meet customer requirements and target values.
Conclusion“The main objective of Six Sigma is to produce products or processes that meet customer requirements. Quality function deployment is a helpful tool to design processes that deliver products that satisfy the customer.”
– Kounal Gupta, CEO, Henry Harvin Education.