QFD for product & business development

Building Full Commitment

Building Full Commitment

Creating a business critical organisation from scratch – Process Management


Emerson Process Management is part of a well-known electronics multinational with a reputation for innovative high-quality products. Over recent years more and more electronics manufacture has been sourced from the Far-East where labour costs are significantly cheaper; as a result, electronics manufacturing has become a commodity with very low profit margins. Emerson Process Management World-wide Supply Chain (WWSC) was recently created in response to these economic pressures; it is a Global supply chain with world-wide responsibility for realising the company’s innovative designs through a global network of dedicated suppliers, and for delivering high-quality product to its customers on very short leadtimes.


Emerson Process Management’s reputation and $½Bn business rest on WWSC’s ability to identify, develop and influence independent businesses to sustain exacting quality requirements and very short cycle-times at ever decreasing costs. The creation of WWSC represented a massive transformation for the business and its ways of working, with high rewards for success, but terminal consequences for failure. The organisation therefore used its best people for the task, and headhunted a number of experts from external companies. The challenge then became one of forming them into an effective team with the means to harness their individual talents to ensure a successful result.


The MD of WWSC recognised the power of QFD to harness a diverse group of people and talents in delivering an ambitious set of goals. Given the new and unproven nature of the organisation, he believed that QFD provided the best means for people to work through how the organisation needed to operate and to identify individual responsibilities therein.
The objective for the work was to use QFD to:

  • clarify the dimensions of success in terms of clear objectives and performance targets
  • identify the key supply-chain processes, and define their responsibility for delivering the objectives
  • explore the interdependence between the processes and establish how they needed to work together
  • clarify how the processes would fulfil their responsibilities, and build commitment to that.
  • Approach

    Clarifying the objectives
    The overall responsibilities of WWSC were reasonably clear, and had been defined through a strategy document commissioned by the parent organisation. However, there was still scope to translate them into a set of clear objectives, measures and targets for the organisation, and by means of this to build commitment and ownership for them within the team members. This was achieved in two ways. Firstly, a draft list of objectives was presented – this had been drawn from a series of structured interviews with the team and with key players in the supply chain. And secondly, the role of WWSC was explored as a single column QFD against the objectives of the parent organisation, so that new opportunities to leverage value could be identified.

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