QFD for product & business development

QFD’s Evolution in Japan and the West

QFD's Evolution in Japan and the West

QFD’s Evolution in Japan and the West – Introduction

   Even though the initial theory of quality originated in the United States, early industrial applications predominantly took place at Japanese companies.
   TAt first, Japanese companies used quality control in manufacturing and inspection areas. But, the Japanese automobile industry recognized the importance of designing quality into new products in late 1960s, when it was in the midst of rapid growth as it developed many new products and changed models.
Yoji Akao conceived quality function deployment (QFD), a concept and method that served as a vital management tool for new product development.

   The ultimate benefits of QFD are lower product development costs, increased customer satisfaction and increased market share. It has been well documented that using QFD can result in the following:

  • Reduction of development time by 50%.
  • Reduction of the number of engineering changes by 50%.
  • Reduction of start-up and engineering costs by 30%.
  • Reduction of warranty claims up to 50%.
  • Increased customer satisfaction.
  • Systematic retention of product development knowledge so it can be easily applied to similar future designs.

Definition of QFD

   QFD refers to the combination of quality deployment and narrowly defined QFD. This definition is depicted in Figure 1.Quality deployment converts customer demands into the design quality of the finished product. It covers design targets and major quality assurance points, which are the key points and control items in achieving sales and preventing a recurrence of past and potential new product design and development problem areas.
   Quality deployment is used at all levels of product architecture and during process design. The
purpose of quality deployment, therefore, is to establish a quality network that can ensure the quality of a product itself.
   This network includes both quality of physical elements—subsystems, component units, parts and
materials—that constitute a product architecture, and quality of production processes that manufacture and assemble partly finished products into finished products. This is illustrated in the quality deployment section of Figure 1.
   Narrowly defined QFD is derived by extending the concept of value engineering that is originally
applied to defining the functions of a product to the deployment of business process functions.
   Therefore, the word “function” in QFD refers to the job functions of a product development process, rather than to the functions of the product itself. Then, job functions that can create product quality are called quality functions.

Figure1 - QFD’s Evolution in Japan and the West


   The purpose of narrowly defined QFD is to establish a procedure network that is formed by various planning and operational quality assurance activities and procedure flows to achieve product quality.
   This network includes activities at all stages of the product realization process, from product and
technology development planning, system level design, prototype design and detail design to production preparation and mass production. This is illustrated in the narrowly defined QFD section of Figure 1.
   QFD is the most complete, systematic and convincing method for designing products with the
quality that fulfills expressed and latent requirements of customers.

   The steps to a QFD system were defined as including:

  • The establishment of a quality chart to convert customer demands into substitute quality characteristics and determine their design targets.
  • The deployments of subsystems, parts and processes.
  • The deployment of related job functions.

by Jui-Chin Jiang, Ming-Li Shiu and Mao-Hsiung Tu

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