What is Quality Function Deployment (QFD)?
July 2, 2021 Max 3min read
Quality Function Deployment
The quality function deployment is a quantitative framework that prioritizes consumer needs and aligns them with the product development process.
It uses tools to incorporate data in the product components and to base the product development process on customer data and feedback.
It depends on matrices such as ‘Voice of customer’ and ‘House of quality’.
It’s aim is to align the customer requirements with the company’s ability in the product development process.
Working of Quality Function Deployment
The quality function deployment process initiates with the collection and compilation of user data and feedback through questionnaires, polls, surveys, and market research conducted on a fairly large number of public so as to get dependable information.
In quality function deployment, quality is linked to customer satisfaction in the product experience.
The first matrix in the QFD methodology is called the ‘house of quality’. The objective of ‘house of quality’ is to reflect the relationship of customer needs with the company’s tactics and methods to fulfill them. It focuses on the crucial features of the product.
Next is the product development phase. The crucial components and features are identified. These are linked to the assembly specifications.
For all the functional stages, requirements or specifications are determined.
Then comes the process development stage of QFD. In this phase, the critical processes are analysed. The process flow is identified.
It’s driven with the aim of finding the need for production equipment. This phase is concluded by designing the frameworks for specific critical processes.
The final phase of quality function deployment is the production plan. The objective is to determine the product’s quality control.
It involves assessment of critical technical aspects of the process, identification of process control methods and examining the process and its parameters.
Another matrix in QFD is the ‘house of quality.’
House of quality holds the consumer preferences and the respective capabilities of the company at all levels of the product development process.
It interlinks consumer needs with the specific capability of the organization.
This way consumer needs are assimilated in the product development process.
Benefits of QFD model
The QFD is an efficient framework for making the design and development process more user centric.
The major benefits of quality function deployment model are:
- It is a beneficial method for competitive evaluation of product value.
- It decreases the rate of rejections and reworks at the development site.
- Prioritization of user’s declared and undeclared requirements and needs.
- Translation of user requirements into technical specifications.
- Proper coordination among departments of product development and better adherence to the goal of customer satisfaction.
Shortcomings of Quality Function Deployment
Some drawbacks of QFD mode are:
- Complex matrix
- Heavy dependency on the customer
- Adaptation to changing market trends can be costly and complex because of the long time-consuming process that includes reaching out to the customer and then data processing.
- All the focus is on customer satisfaction. This may lead to sidelining of matters of costs, product life cycle, and other strategies.
Why QFD model should be used
If the company has a solid market research report of which the product strategies can be based, then, a quality function deployment method is quite logical to implement. The market research should be conducted on a large and significant sample size to get a genuine understanding of customer patterns, choices, and needs.
The following features of QFD make it a valuable framework for product development:
- It makes the product development process customer centric, aiming at customer satisfaction.
- Due to the VOC and house of quality matrix that help in competitive analysis.
- Reduces errors.
- Structured method with alignment of company’s potential and customer requirements.
Primary steps involved in quality function deployment are
(i) collection of large-scale customer information and data and its compilation.
(ii) identify critical features and processes.
(iii) establish a relationship between customer needs and the organization’s capabilities.
(iv) Build the house of quality matrix.
Voice of customer is a product management term that refers to the customer’s needs, wants, expectations, and preferences from a product or service.
Voice of customers can be realized in various ways like surveys, questionnaires, interviews, etc.
House of quality is a product planning correlation matrix. It is designed to reflect the relation between the customer needs and the company’s methods and capabilities to fulfill them.