|11 |QUALITY | | |FUNCTION DEPLOYMENT (QFD) |
Dr. Mizuno, professor emeritus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, is credited with initiating the quality function deployment (QFD) system. The first application of QFD was at Mitsubishi, Heavy Industries, Ltd., in the Kobe Shipyard, Japan, in 1972. After four years of case study development, refinement, and training, QFD was successfully implemented in the production of mini-vans by Toyota. Using 1977 as a base, a 20% reduction in startup costs was reported in the launch of the new van in October 1979, a 38% reduction by November 1982, and a cumulative 61% reduction by April 1984. Quality function deployment was first introduced in the United States in 1984 by Dr. Clausing of Xerox. QFD can be applied to practically any manufacturing or service industry. It has become a standard practice by most leading organizations, who also require it of their suppliers.
Quality function deployment (QFD) is a planning tool used to fulfill customer expectations. It is a disciplined approach to product design, engineering, and production and provides in-depth evaluation of a product. An organization that correctly implements QFD can improve engineering knowledge, productivity, and quality and reduce costs, product development time, and engineering changes.
Quality function deployment focuses on customer expectations or requirements, often referred to as the voice of the customer. It is employed to translate customer expectations, in terms of specific requirements, into directions and actions, in terms of engineering characteristics, that can be deployed through
Quality function deployment is a team-based management tool in which the customer expectations are used to drive the product development process. Conflicting characteristics or requirements are identified early in the QFD process and can be resolved before production.
Organizations today use market research to decide on what to produce to satisfy customer requirements. Some customer requirements adversely affect others, and customers often cannot explain their expectations. Confusion and misinterpretation are also a problem while a product moves from marketing to design to engineering to manufacturing. This activity is where the voice of the customer becomes lost and the voice of the organization adversely enters the product design. Instead of working on what the customer expects, work is concentrated on fixing what the customer does not want. In other words, it is not productive to improve something the customer did not want initially. By implementing QFD, an organization is guaranteed to implement the voice of the customer in the final product.
Quality function deployment helps identify new quality technology and job functions to carry out operations. This tool provides a historic reference to enhance future technology and prevent design errors. QFD is primarily a set of graphically oriented planning matrices that are used as the basis for decisions affecting any phase of the product development cycle. Results of QFD are measured based on the number of design and engineering changes, time to market, cost, and quality. It is considered by many experts to be a perfect blueprint for concurrent engineering.
Quality function deployment enables the design phase to concentrate on the customer requirements, thereby spending less time on redesign and modifications. The saved time has been estimated at one-third to one-half of the time taken for redesign and modification using traditional means. This saving means reduced development cost and also additional income because the product enters the market sooner.