Quality Function Deployment House of Quality
QFD is a rigorous method for translating customer needs, wants, and wishes into step-by-step procedures for delivering the product or service. While delivering better designs tailored to customer needs, Quality Function Deployment also cuts the normal development cycle by 50%, making you faster to market.
QFD uses the "QFD House of Quality" (a template in the QI Macros) to help structure your thinking, making sure nothing is left out.
There are four key steps to QFD thinking:
1. Product Planning- Translating what the customer wants (in their language, e.g., portable, convenient phone service) into a list of prioritized product/service design requirements (in your language, e.g., cell phones) that describes how the product works. It also compares your performance with your competition's, and sets targets for improvement to differentiate your product/service from your competitor's.
2. Part Planning - Translating product specifications (design criteria from step 1) into part characteristics (e.g., light weight, belt-clip, battery-driven, not hard wired but radio-frequency based).
3. Process Planning - Translating part characteristics (from step 2) into optimal process characteristics that maximize your ability to deliver Six Sigma quality (e.g., ability to "hand off" a cellular call from one antenna to another without interruption).
4. Production Planning - Translating process characteristics (from step 3) into manufacturing or service delivery methods that will optimize your ability to deliver Six Sigma quality in the most efficient manner (e.g., cellular antennas installed with overlapping coverage to eliminate dropped calls).
Even in my small business, I often use the Quality Function Deployment template to evaluate and design a new product or service. It helps me think through every aspect of what my customers want and how to deliver it. It saves me a lot of "clean up" on the backend. It doesn't always mean that I get everything right, but I get more of it right, which translates into greater sales and higher profitability with less rework on my part.
That's the power of QFD.