Quality Function Deployment (QFD)
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Clients or customers have expectations and desires concerning the performance and appearance of the product or the content of a service activity which they believe they should, or could, obtain under given circumstances. Probably the most important of these is price, though time performance and consistency, product life and safety may also be important. In addition, some customers may have special expectations related to their personal needs or how the product or service links with some other product or service in which they have an interest. The negotiation of quality in the above sense may be straightforward. Suppliers and customers may be in regular contact with each other, both knowledgeable, have no great imbalance of power or bargaining between them and be keen to achieve a settled, stable deal the negotiation of quality is much more variable and unstable than is sometimes thought (Blackburn, Curran, & North 1998).
The widespread existence of customer complaint departments, consumer protection legislation and inter-firm disputes, are evidence that conflicts can occur (Blackburn, Curran, & North 1998). Quality is an important capability that businesses should have. It is needed to maintain the good relationship between a company and its clients. Based from the need to provide quality to clients, the idea of quality function deployment was developed. The paper will apply the QFD model to a product or service within a certain organization. The paper will discuss the ease with which QFD could be implemented within the organization.
Part A. Quality function deployment
The new economic era where customers have much more choice than in the past, and where they are far more likely to exercise it, has made it an imperative for organizations to become much more customer focused. Many tools, techniques and philosophies have been developed to support this shift in focus from internal to external. Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is the most complete technique available for supporting this highly desirable cultural change. QFD theory was first defined by Yoji Akao in 1966 The system has developed from this simple basis to encompass the broad range of activities within most manufacturing and service organizations (Antony & Preece 2002).
QFD is a system for translating customer requirements into appropriate company requirements at every stage, from research through product design and development, to manufacture, distribution, installation and marketing, sales and service. The core principle of QFD is that the design and development process, be it product or service, should be driven by the needs of the customer. QFD is a methodology for adding structure to this process; for clearly specifying the customer's wants and needs and for systematically evaluating company capabilities in terms of meeting those needs (Antony & Preece 2002). Quality function development was made to help planners focus on characteristics of a new product from the viewpoints market segments or technology development needs. It provided a different way for businesses and their clients to work together for a better product.
Rationale behind QFD
QFD requires a multifunctional team of experts to participate simultaneously in a complex analytic exercise, bringing diverse perspectives to bear on key issues of design. In localized uses, QFD serves both technical and organizational functions. Primary expected outcomes of QFD includes an increased awareness of the customers' desires; improved product with focus on actual customer wants; improved product specification setting; and, in general, more successful and effective products(Susman 1992). It also results in synergistic gains result from integration of, and increased effective communication between, individuals from different functional groups, such gains include understanding each other's functional constraints and capabilities and transfer of information earlier than normal (Susman 1992).
Moreover QFD results in effective definition and prioritization of new product development activities leads to increased understanding of trade-offs, clear understanding of product objectives and customer needs, improved decision making, a better end-product and reduced product development time. QFD serves to remove non-value-added activities by avoiding redesigns, by streamlining communication, and by reducing errors. (Susman 1992).QFD is a good process for business because it has the capability to transform customer wants and needs into engineering characteristics for a certain product. QFD helps the company fully understand their clients and this leads them to create products that meet the clients taste and wants.
QFD in developing of new products/service
FD has different features that make it different from traditional design techniques. The first feature is the way the design team is organized. QFD ensures that the firm delivers a product or service to meet what marketing has determined the customers' requirements to be. From a philosophical point of view, the concept is not new. Marketing supposedly developed over the years as a discipline to identify customer requirements, and then see that the product offered by a firm was what that customer required. But this was not always the case. Marketing has not always had the technical expertise required to design products or services, and did not speak the language of the design engineer. A major feature of QFD is the manner in which it takes the customer's requirements in the customer's own words and from these words designs a product or service and the process to fulfill those needs (Bounds & Stahl 1991).
As part of QFD’s design process, it also specifies the measurements that will be used in the control process. Translating the voice of the customer is not as easy to understand as it may sound. QFD is not easy to do. Many companies that have tried it have expressed a great deal of frustration in applying it. Others have successfully done so, however, and have demonstrated significant product or service improvements (Bounds & Stahl 1991). Increasingly QFD is used to break down customer needs into specific targets and identify the specifications critical to establishing the customer's perception of quality products and services. Once these specifications are identified, organizational quality goals, targets, and objectives must be defined as customer and environment or market driven (Madu 1993). The House of Quality makes the interrelationship and inherent design choices explicit. It gives precision to the conversations and discussions that go on in identifying design objectives and critical design parameters. By clarifying a very complex and ambiguous situation, the House of Quality facilitates early consideration of difficult issues and helps to identify gaps in engineering and marketing knowledge. QFD and the House of Quality is a tool to be used with focus and flexibility; it needs to be used where it will have the most value (Oden 1997).
If an evolutionary type of product is being developed, the use of QFD is questionable. For these types of product developments, the customers and their needs are fairly well known, since they are developing similar products for essentially the same customers. QFD is considerably more appropriate for a revolutionary type of product. For these types of product ventures, both the product and market are new, and QFD could be very useful in matching the new customers' wants with the new product's capabilities (Oden1997). QFD proves to be of much better use when it is developing revolutionary product. This product is not only new but it is something that has the potential to change the industry. For instance QFD was used by fast food companies in making its various products as something different yet enjoyed by the clients. QFD assisted the company in determining the ideas of the clients in terms of how they want their food to be prepared and served.
How QFD fit in company strategy
QFD fits in the company’s strategy by such concept providing assistance in determining how a firm will go on its production of a certain product. QFD is the bases for what strategy will a company use. Any studies or ideas that come out from the use of QFD will lead to a change in strategy or an improvement in the strategy.
How QFD fit in costing control
QFD fits in costing control through it serving as a way for the company to determine the specific manufacturing actions that needs finances. QFD can determine which manufacturing and production aspects should be given importance and needs more financing. This will make sure that expenses and additional costs will not be incurred because only the important aspects will be prioritized.
How QFD fits in competitive advantage and quality control
QFD fits in giving competitive advantage because through it the relationship between the company and the client can be preserved. No other company can have a stronger bond with the clients unless they also make use of QFD processes. QFD fits in quality control since the basis for product design is the ideas of the clients. The clients have an experience on how products can be made with good quality thus their ideas will assist the company in making products that not only fits their need but also fits their standards of quality.
Part B. Utility of the model
The globalization of markets, manufacturing and techno-industrial innovation therefore gives particular importance to the different kinds of networking. In contrast to previous forms of the international division of lab our, location participation is less denned by contributing products than by contributing to the various processes of production. These highly globalize processes are decisive for both different types and different opportunities for industrial development that can be identified at different industrial locations (Hilpert 2003). Global tendencies in industrial development are leading to a more complex form of the international division of labor. While the relocation of mature and old industries has induced regional crisis in the traditional industrial centers, now the transfer of such industrial capabilities provides the basis for advanced industries to keep costs under control and to gain competitiveness based on low production costs at locations where suppliers for these parts are based. This kind of hierarchical integration is based on different production costs and demands successful networking between locations that are on different levels of industrial development. Depending upon the competitive situation and the opportunities to gain benefits from relocating manufacturing, there is a tendency towards the integration of new industrial locations (Hilpert 2003).
Even though there is a new pattern of integration due to both international production networks and processes of globalization, this does not relate to a complete change in industrial development. The continuation of key strategic centre or of the manufacturing of key elements at established locations, competing against relocated advanced production units in new locations, is sharpening the regional expression of the international division of labor that can be understood only if the underlying processes of organizing global manufacturing are analyzed National strategies for techno-industrial innovation are inevitably picking particularly appropriate cases for success (Hilpert 2003). The pre-existing regional structure, the very specific requirements for these new technologies and new forms of industrial development, and the need for immediate realization of these processes consequently do not take into regard attempts at regional development (Hilpert 2003).
The change into much better systems leads sometimes to conflicts within some aspects of the organization. The addition of QFD into the organization’s system leads to problems regarding the suppliers support. Suppliers may not be too keen of QFD and how it creates changes in the organization thus some suppliers may lose their drive to provide resources to the company. The addition of QFD into the organization’s system leads to human factor issues wherein some members of the organization may have doubts on whether the company will still use them. The personnel of the organization may think that the QFD system will replace them in doing various tasks for the firm. Moreover the addition of QFD into the organization’s system will change the management structure. The management structure will change because certain tasks and responsibilities will be reassigned to adjust to the new system.
Pact C. the ease of implementing QFD in the organization
The McDonald's Corporation is the largest food service operation in the world in terms of system-wide sales. At the beginning of 2000 it was operating more than 25,000 restaurants in 116 countries. A modest estimate of its current world-wide workforce would be around 1.5 million people, and 10 million people are estimated to have worked for the corporation since it was formed. More than one in ten Americans are reckoned to have got their first job at McDonald's. It is an incredibly successful multinational and is expanding at a breath-taking rate. It plans to open between 2,500 and 3,200 new restaurants every year, the equivalent of one restaurant every 3 hours. If this rate of expansion is achieved, the corporation will have more than doubled in size to well over 50,000 restaurants by 2010. Part of this rapid expansion may also be aided by developments in technology (Royle 2000).
Advertising has undoubtedly played a big part in establishing McDonald's as a global product. Sometimes, McDonald's is picked out merely because it is seen as symbolic of broader issues in society. McDonald's has become a symbol of the modern globalized economy and of the cheap lowest-common denominator culture it fosters (Royle 2000). The first overseas restaurants were opened as franchises in the Caribbean and parts of South America in 1965 and in Canada in 1967. By the mid-1980s, McDonald's was establishing its presence around the globe, becoming the number one food service chain in Japan, Germany, the UK, Canada and Australia. McDonald's International became the fastest growing segment of the McDonald's Corporation (Royle 2000). The continuing expansion abroad appears to be the logical answer to an increasingly competitive market in the USA, where McDonald's is no longer trying to expand but is instead trying to increase the sales of existing restaurants. Opportunities for further international expansion still appear to be considerable; besides the expected increases in numbers of restaurants in the Western and industrialized economies; the corporation has wasted little time moving into the old Eastern bloc (Royle 2000).
McDonald’s Corporation is one of the most successful fast food businesses not only in its native country but in most parts of the world. The company has been successful in going international and reaching newer markets in different parts of the world. The company belongs to the service/fast food industry. The company caters to people of all ages who needs food sustenance and are most of the time need a place where they can get their food in the fastest time possible. Introducing the QFD into the organization will not be difficult since the company is open to any change that they know will bring benefits to them. QFD will be perfect for the company’s goal of making sure that the needs and wants of the clients are met. Introducing QFD into the organization would generate less problems as long as it would be introduced gradually so that there will be no conflicts between sectors in the company. The prevailing culture, structure, and management style will not be a hindrance in the introduction QFD into the organization.
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