Quality Function Deployment
A fairly rigorous method for translating the needs of the customer into the design specifications of a product is quality function deployment (QFD) This approach which uses inter functional teams from marketing design engineering. and manufacturing has been credited by Toyota Motor Corporation for reducing the costs on its cars by more than 60 percent by significantly shortening design times.
The QFD process begin with studying and listening to customer to determine the characteristics of a superior product. This customer feedback is often referred to the voice of the customer Through market research the costumer product needs and preference are defined and broken down into categories called attributes for example an automobile manufacturer would like to profiterole sign of a door through .
One example of a successful product design is the smart bottle cap Forgetful and or reluctant patients who don't take their medicine age emulate an estimated $25 billion in avoidable hospital bills annually and billions more in unnecessary nursing home admissions To reduce these costs Apr ex Corp located in Fremont California now offers a smart bottle cap Built with computer chip alarm clock and Jamal display panel the smart cap maintains a record of how frequently the bottle is opened and is also equipped with a beeper to remind those patients who forget to take their medications The addition of a modem reads the cap's memory and automatically transmits it to Apr If the number of times the bottle has been open is incorrect the patient receives a reminder call.
customer surveys and interviews it determines that two important customer attributes determines car door are that it stays open on a hill and is easy to close from the outside After the customer attributes are defined they are weighted based on their relative importance to the customer Next the consumer is asked to compare and rate the company's products with those of its competitors This process helps the company to determine those product characteristics that are important to the consumer and to evaluate its product in relation to others The end result is a better understanding and focus on the product characteristics that require improvement.
Customer attribute information forms the basis for a matrix called the house of quality (see Exhibit 3.5). By building a house of quality matrix the cross-functional QFD team can use customer feedback to make engineering marketing and design decisions The matrix helps the team to translate customer attribute information into concrete operating or engineering goals The important product characteristics and goals for improvement are jointly agreed on and detailed in the house. This process encourages the different departments to work closely together and results in a better understanding of one another's goals and issues. However. the most important benefit of the house of quality is that it helps the team to focus on building a product that satisfies customers.
Another important part of this phase of the NPD process includes building models of the new product both physical models as well as computer-generated models small-scale testing of the various elements and components of the new product and conducting detailed investment and financial analyses over the product's anticipated life cycle In addition manufacturing and process development personnel should be involved in this phase as early as possible in order to ensure optimal compatibility between the new product and the process by which it will be made. The first major hurdle in the NPD process (often referred to as program approval) takes place at the conclusion of this phase when management has sufficient information to decide whether or not the project should go forward.