Quality Function Deployment (QFD)

By: Chi-Ming Chen and Victor Susanto

Industrial Engineering 361: Quality Control

A. Introduction

QFD (quality function deployment) is defined as a method for developing a design quality aiming at satisfying the consumer and then translating the consumer's demand into design targets and major quality assurance points to be used throughout the production phase. QFD is a way to assure the design quality while the product is still in the design stage (Akao, 1990) [1]. From this definition, QFD can be seen as a process where the consumerís voice is valued to carry through the whole process of production and services.

QFD consists of two components which are deployed into the design process: quality and function. The " quality deployment" component brings the costumerís voice into the design process. The "function deployment" component links different organizational functions and units into to the design-to-manufacturing transition via the formation of design teams. (Lockamy & Khurana, 1995) [6]

B. History of QFD

QFD was invented in Japan by Yoji Akao in 1966, but was first implemented in the Mitsubishiís Kobe shipyard in 1972, possibly out of the teaching of Deming. Then later it was adopted and developed by other Japanese companies, notably Toyota and its suppliers.

In the USA the first serious exponents of QFD were the 'big three' automotive manufacturers in the 1980's, and a few leading companies in other sectors such as electronics. However, the uptake of QFD in the Western world appears to have been fairly slow. There is also some reluctance among users of QFD to publish and share information - much more so than with other quality-related methodologies. This may be because the data captured and the decisions made using QFD usually relate to future product plans, and are therefore sensitive, proprietary, and valuable to competitors. (Hutton, 1997) [5]

C. Processes of QFD

According to Lockamy and Khurana (1995) [6], the idea of QFD is timing, performance evaluation, and resource commitment. And the four phases of QFD are:

1. Product concept planning. It starts with customers and market research with leads to product plans, ideas, sketches, concept models, and marketing plans.
2.  Product development and specification. It would lead to the development to prototypes and tests.
3.  Manufacturing processes and production tools. They are designed based on the product and component specifications.
4.  Production of product. It starts after the pilot have been resolved
After the products have been marketed, the customerís voice is taken again.

D. Benefits of QFD

According to Don Clausing, the author of Total Quality Development book, pointed out that the QFD has been evolved by product development people in response to the major problems in the traditional processes, which were:

1.  Disregard the voice of customer
2.  Disregard the competition
3.  Concentration on each specification in isolation
4.  Low expectations
5.  Little input from design and production people into product planning
6.  Divergent interpretation of the specifications
7.  Lack of structure
8.  Lost information
9.  Weak commitment to previous decisions
E. Tools of QFD

Matrix diagrams, which are very useful to organize the data collected, help to facilitate the improvement process. They can be used to display information about the degree to which employee expectations are being met and the resources that exist to meet those expectations. The structure in which QFD uses to organize information is known as the House of Quality.

In its broadest sense, the QFD House of Quality displays the relationship between dependent (WHATS) and independent (HOWS) variables (Woods, 1994) [8]. Figure 1 shows the typical House of Quality.

This House of Quality should be created by a team of people with first-hand knowledge of both company capabilities and the expectations of the employee. Effective use of QFD requires team participation and discipline inherent in the practice of QFD, which has proven to be an excellent team-building experience.


Figure 1 The Typical House of Quality


F. Example of successful QFD implementation

A successful story of QFD can be seen at the Chrysler Motors Corporation. The QFD at Chrysler Motor Corporation was formally launched in September 1986, but its first application was begun in June 1986.

Chrysler implemented the QFD in four-stage process: (1) spreading awareness, (2) developing successful case study and examples to motivate subsequent teams, (3) company-wide training and education on QFD techniques and philosophy, and (4) adopting QFD as business philosophy.

In the beginning, QFD idea was not widely accepted in the company. For many QFD was perceived as requiring additional time and effort. Such opinions led to organizational and perceptual barriers regarding the successful implementation of QFD.

Due to various resource constraints, Chrysler management was sometimes unable to authorize first-hand customer research. In such cases teams were encouraged to document what they knew concerning the customer requirement, based on their experiences. Often team members simulated customers by actually evaluating competing vehicles, and reviewing customer ratings.

The result of using QFD in Chrysler, in the launch of LH platform for mid-size cars was successful. The total product design cycle took approximately 36 months, versus the historical cycles ranging from 62 to 54 months. Only 740 people were required in the QFD program, while 1600 people were required in the historical environment. Also, by focusing on the customer requirement instead of only cost, Chrysler made innovative design changes that are gaining acceptance in marketplace. (Lockamy & Khurana, 1995) [6]

G. Conclusion

QFD is a good system to be implemented in organization or industry, which can be seen from the examples mentioned above. QFD does not design to replace the existing organization design process by any means, but rather support the organizationís design process. And it also helps bring the customerís voice into the production process to reduce the unnecessary cost. Cutting production time is also very beneficial to the companies.

However, QFD has not been widely accepted in the USA compared to Japan (42% or more of Japanese companies have adopted QFD to improve their quality). In the future we hope QFD can be more adopted and researched in the American manufacturing and service organizations.

[1]  Akao, Y., ed. (1990). Quality Function Deployment, Productivity Press, Cambridge MA.

[2]  Clausing, D., (1994). Total Quality Development, ASME Press, New York, NY.

[3]  Day, R. G. (1993). Quality Function Deployment: Linking a Company with Its Customers, ASQC Quality Press, Milwaukee WI.

[4]  Dean, E. B. (1998). Quality Function Deployment from the Perspective of Competitive Advantage, http://akao.larc.nasa.gov/dfc/qfd.html

[5]  Hutton, D. (1997). Quality Function Deployment (QFD): The House of Quality, http://www.dhutton.com/samples/sampqfd.html

[6]  Lockamy, A., and Khurana A., (1995). Quality Function Deployment: Total Quality Management for New Product Design, International Journal Quality and Reliability Management, Universal Press Ltd. (UK) 1995.

[7]  Terninko, J., (1996). Quality Function Deployment (QFD), http://www.dnh.mv.net:80/ipusers/rm/qfd.htm

[8]  Woods, R. C., (1994). Managing to Meet Employee Expectations: Quality Improvement Tools Narrow the Gap Between Employee expectations and Company Resources, Human Resource Planning, Volume 16 number 4.