House of Quality can be defined as the most convenient, easy, and simple tool used to convert the customer needs into technical descriptors for the firm. House of Quality is actually a matrix and is also termed as Quality Matrix.
The matrix gives us details such as customer requirements, technical descriptors, priority levels of the various descriptors, the relationship between the descriptors and target values for each descriptor amongst others. It also shows competitive evaluation between various other products with the current product in the market.
Anatomy of House of Quality
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The ceiling of the house gives the various technical descriptors to the management of the company. The technical descriptors of the product are provided through the various engineering design constraints, requirements, and various other parameters. The roof of the house explains the inter-relationship between the various technical descriptors available.
On the left side wall we have the list of customer requirements and on the right side wall, we have the prioritized customer requirement that reflects the importance of the various needs of the customer. It shows competitive benchmarking and the importance of customer rating. The interior of the house gives inter-relationship between the voice of the customer and the technical descriptors of the product and business operations.
The base or foundation of the house gives the list of the prioritized technical descriptors. It also showcases factors such as technical benchmarking, target values, and the importance of technical descriptors.
The focus in House of Quality is the correlation between the identified customer needs, termed as the Whats, and the engineering characteristics are termed as the House. House of Quality is a kind of conceptual map that provides all details required for inter-functional planning and communication in the organization.
The various departments in an organization must work closely together to form efficient HOQ. Hence the QFD team includes the marketing, design, and manufacturing staff all working together towards the common goal.
Advantages of House of Quality
- Reduces the time required for the planning process
- Focuses completely on customer needs and requirements
- Reduces design changes and alterations
- Improved quality of the products
- High customer satisfaction
- Decreased design and manufacture costs and overheads
- Reduces time to market the product
- Helps in prioritizing various design parameters
- Aids in benchmarking the processes
Steps in House of Quality
- Identify what are the exact needs and demands of the customer in the target market.
- Identify how the product will satisfy the targeted customer. It refers to identifying specific product characteristics, features or attributes that the customer is looking for and showing how to satisfy customer’s needs and wants
- Identify relationships between How’s and What. A couple of questions, those are to be answered here: How do our how’s tie together? What is the relationship between our two or more how’s in the entire process?
- Develop the importance of ratings as it refers to using the customer’s importance ratings and weights from the relationships in the matrix to compute the important ratings.
- Evaluate competing products or services as the main question to be answered here is: How well do the competing products in the market meet customer wants? This activity is completely based on thorough market research.
- Determine the desirable technical attributes as in this step, our performance and the competitor’s performance are determined and compared in an effective manner to arrive at a conclusion.
Primary Purposes of QFD & House of Quality
Understand Customer needs and desires
Many times, customers need outside perspective to discover what they really require to build their product or process. The goal is to understand customers perhaps in a better manner so that they understand themselves so as to open their eyes to ideal and best solutions available to them.
Understand the priorities of the Customer:
During the interview stage, get to know the exact customer needs, but then break those needs down into prioritized parts in an effective manner. For instance, if a customer is building drones for media production, how important is the battery life as compared to camera quality? How important is an aesthetic appearance as compared to the quality of the drone body?
Then the weights are assigned to each quality based on what is most important to the customer’s needs and requirements. How well each need is carefully met is ultimately how the customer will judge your solution’s value in the market.
Quite often, disagreement or misunderstanding between various departments of a customer’s organization can occur in relation to what is actually needed and required. As per the above-mentioned examples, the marketing department may think that a drone with trending features is the top priority, but the engineering department may think that renovation of the problematic part is the top priority. The process helps to create a plan that addresses all the true priorities and to which all departments can agree upon.
Translate Customer Desires into Goals & technicalities
This is at the heart of the QFD process where the recorded desires of the customer are ranked on the basis of the priority and specific process and where resource planning takes place. They are laid out onto a useful diagram labeled as the House of Quality.
Specify traceable requirements
Specific requirements for the execution of the customer’s product or process should be laid out in an effective and efficient manner. The how and why questions should be answered in the plan such as how are we meeting the client’s requirements and why are we doing it this way? The written requirements should be specific enough in nature that their completion and success ratios are traceable.
One should be able to work forward and backward in the plan to determine easily whether or not the overall plan is being executed successfully or not. For instance, if there is a question on why something is done a specific way, one should be able to trace back to the beginning of the process to the initial requirement that the determined process is needed to meet that specific requirement.
It is quite easy for customers to jump all over the place stating what they desire and are tossing out the ideas. But, at the end of the day, your role is to hone in on what they actually want and provide a logical, executable, and the traceable structure to organize their ideas.
Whether developing a physical product or creating the process for a customer, effective resources are required to do the same. Human resources, machinery, computer systems, construction materials, along with the disposable materials and more must be accounted for.