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Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

What is this?

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a quality tool that helps to translate the Voice of the Customer (VoC) into new products that truly satisfy their needs. It is used as method for new product development and link between customers and design engineers. It has mainly three blocks: the customer requirements, the technical or product requirements and the correlation matrix.

When is this tool used?

This tool can be used at the beginning of the product design phase in order to meet customers' needs in the final product result. Additionally, it can be used as a planning tool to prioritize the manufacturing requirements in which the effort should focus on.

How is this tool used?

Step 1 (Draw your matrix):

Start with an initial matrix sketch to fill it in as we move to the next steps. Download the template from here.

Step 2 (List your customers' needs):

Across the rows of your matrix, write down all your customers' needs. Think of what your customers would want in this product or service. Try to focus on the customers' needs not the designer's needs, you can use surveys and focus groups to help you through this. Make sure you list specific aspects when writing your customer requirements. If your product is a car, you shouldn't write "car size", instead be more specific and use "big sized car or small sized car". That way your customer requirements are clear and not vague.

Step 3 (Prioritize your customers' needs):

According to your customer needs, rate each feature, whether it is important or doesn’t really matter to the customer (e.g.: give it a value from 1 to 5).

Step 4 (Identify the product features):

From the designer's point of view, list all the technical features that can be found in your product across the columns of the matrix. For example, if you are designing a car model, your qualities can include: weight, motor capacity, air-conditioning availability, and airbag technology.

Step 5 (Build your relationship matrix):

Match your product technical requirements with customer requirements. This relationship defines the degree to which the product features meet the customers' needs. In this step, we are trying to identify if there is a relation between a certain requirement and a certain need or not.

For example, If the customer requirement is safety, this has a strong relationship with the airbag technical feature, and a weak relationship with the air-conditioning availability. We are not trying to assess whether it is a positive or a negative relationship. Now set your rating code, for example, 5 as strongly related, 3 as moderately related and 1 as weakly related. Multiply the priority with the rating you gave to each value and add all the scores.

Step 6 (Decision making process):

After reviewing all scores, now you can decide which features are most important in your product. It is now clearer for you how to prioritize your manufacturing process. You can use the QFD to choose the convenient course of which area of your business that you should start working on first, based on what your customer wants.

Hints for using this tool

You can add more level of complexity to your matrix by adding the competitive analysis. Match between your customers' needs and your competitors’ product features, this could give you a wider view of what you can add or improve in your product design.

Case Study

Youssef works at a vehicles company, and he is working on developing a new car model. Here is Youssef's QFD matrix draft.

He starts by listing the customer requirements. Based on his research, customers want a fast car. At the same time they care for the car's stability and safety. Youssef's customers prefer cars with an affordable price. Across the rows of the matrix he lists the following customer requirements: speed, stability, safety and affordable price.

Afterwards, he rates those requirements. Safety and affordable price are the most important requirements for his customers, he rates them as 5. Followed by 4 for stability and 3 for a fast car.

Then he lists his technical features or product requirements as follows: weight, engine power, cost of production and dimensions. Building the correlation matrix is the next step where he starts calculating the scores, for example, weight= 3(5)+4(5)+ 5(1)+ 5(1)= 45.

It’s now clear for Youssef that during his design phase, he has to focus on cost of production as a major technical feature in his new car because it got the highest total score.

Pros and Cons

On one hand the tool is customer-driven and it helps reduce production costs. On the other hand it has over-reliance on market surveys to get customer inputs which might lead to inaccurate results. Customer needs are always changing therefore it is very hard to build an up-to-date understanding.

Download Attachment QFD_template.docx Send Your Feedback