Quality function deployment looks past the usual customer response and attempts to define the requirements in a set of basic needs, which are compared to all competitive information. All competitors are evaluated equally from customer and technical perspectives. This information can then be prioritized using a Pareto diagram. Management can then place resources where they will be the most beneficial in improving quality. Also, QFD takes the experience and information that are available within an organization and puts them together as a structured format that is easy to assimilate. This is important when an organization employee leaves a particular project, and a new employee is hired.
The driving force behind QFD is that the customer dictates the attributes of a product. Customer satisfaction, like quality, is defined as meeting or exceeding customer expectations. Words used by the customers to describe their expectations are often referred to as the voice of the customer. Sources for determining customer expectations are focus groups, surveys, complaints, consultants, standards, and federal regulations. Frequently, customer expectations are vague and general in nature. It is the job of the QFD team to break down these customer expectations into more specific customer requirements. Customer requirements must be taken literally and not incorrectly translated into what organization officials desire.
Because QFD concentrates on customer expectations and needs, a considerable amount of effort is put into research to determine customer expectations. This process increases the initial planning stage of the project definition phase in the development cycle. But the result is a total reduction of the overall cycle time in bringing to the market a product that satisfies the customer.
Now that the customer expectations and needs have been identified and researched, the QFD team needs to process the information. Numerous methods include affinity diagrams, interrelationship diagrams, tree diagrams, and cause-and-effect diagrams. These methods are ideal for sorting large amounts of information.
The primary planning tool used in QFD is the house of quality. The house of quality translates the voice of the customer into design requirements that meet specific target values and matches that against how an organization will meet those requirements. Many managers and engineers consider the house of quality to be the primary chart in quality planning.
At EMMA International, we have consultants with QFD subject matter expertise that can step in and support all your project needs. If you need support, call us at 248-987-4497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
 Eldin, N. (2002). A Promising Planning Tool: Quality Function Deployment. Cost Engineering, 28-37.
 Shen, X. X., Tan, K. C., & Xie, M. (2000). An integrated approach to innovative product development using Kano’s model and QFD. European Journal of Innovation Management, 91-99.
 Vavra, T. G. (1997). Improving Your Measurement of Customer Satisfaction. Milwaukee: ASQ Quality Press.
 Westcott, R. T. (2006). The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook. Milwaukee: ASQ Quality Press.