Quality Function Deployment

Quality is basically defined as meeting a customer's needs and going beyond to add value but main focus being to satisfy customers needs pushes emphasis on out subject which is quality function deployment which is a an approach structured to exhaustively define the customers' needs then translate these very needs into specific plans to produce products that will meet the needs.

Using the term ''voice of the customer'' this clearly states the customer needs, the voice of the customer is got through surveys, focus groups, customer specifications, direct discussions such as interviews, warranty data, field reports and observation after collecting all this information it is properly summarised in a product planning matrix, the matrices translate this information from higher level what's and needs into lower level how's which can be the requirements for the product they need to produce and the technical characteristics which will help satisfy the needs.

The quality function deployment matrices are good indicators at each step during the process however they are the means and not the end, the true value is the process of communicating and making decisions with quality function deployment which is oriented to involve a team of people who represent the various functions of the departments that are involved in the development of the end product these include design engineering, quality assurance marketing, manufacturing engineering, test engineering, finance and product support among others.

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With all these departments involved there will be an assured balance in consideration of the requirements/specifics, at each stage hidden communication is passed on by an individual or department and this mainly so development personnel can understand the essential specifications. The internal capabilities design the product in such a way that everything is in place and the desired outcome is achieved thus a happy customer. The whole idea is so that quality function deployment enables development personnel to maintain a focus on the important requirements and avoid misunderstanding the customer needs thus finding quality functions deployment being an effective and efficient communications and quality planning tool for a quality customer satisfying product.

It is also important to understand that when capturing the voice of the customer, there are various voices since the needs vary from age, sex and other factors in the consumer market , take for example one buying unit could have multiple consumer voices like the children versus the parents, there are also industrial and government markets and one could even find many voices within one organisation that is the voice of the end user the voice of the procuring organisation and that of the maintenance and support team what is required is that they are reconciled and a balance is struck to develop a satisfying product thus the use of multiple columns for the different priorities ratings that's each voice puts out. The basic customer requirements are identified which can be expressed in how and what the need is which is known to limit the consideration of alternatives therefore the marketing and development teams are advised to ask why until they totally understand their customers.

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