Capturing the Voice of the Customer: Quality Functional Deployment (QFD)

Posted on January 22, 2013 by

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Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) is one of several strategies organizations can use to capture the voice of the customer and ensure that it is built into the process, product or service provided. QFD, originally developed by Akao in 1996 for use in the Japanese shipyards, was refined and adopted by US companies as a sound methodology for building the voice of the customer (VOC) into product or service designs.  It is used to reduce time to market, decrease costs of design and production, and increase product quality by linking the design or process parameters with key customer attributes.  Multidisciplinary teams are mobilized to capture and analyze data as it relates to:

  • Customer Needs
  • Competitor Advantages & Positioning
  • Challenges of Delighting the Customer

One of the key tools of QFD is the House of Quality.  The HOQ captures  data that includes the objective of the product/service, customer and technical/design requirements, importance of the requirements to the customer and technical/design process, relationships of the technical/design requirements to that of the customer requirements, competitive positioning of the company and the competition, and importance of the requirements.  Matrices, tables and diagrams are used to put the data collected into a form more conducive to analysis to help prioritize requirements, identify alternatives to meet the requirements and capture relationships.

Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) ensures that everyone is working together towards what the customer wants.  It also engineers the customer experience into every step of the process and creates customer-supplier focused teams that develop products, services or solutions to delight the customer.

References

Deros,B.M., Rahman, N., Rahman, M.N.A., Ismail, A. R., & Said, A. H. (2009). Application of Quality Functional Deployment to Study Critical Service Quality Characteristics and Performance Measures.  European Journal of Scientific Research, 33(3), 398-410.

Ozgenerm S. (2003). Quality Functional Deployment: A Teamwork Approach.  TQM & Business Excellence,14(9), 969-979.

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